Guest / Limited Access /

A lot of ink has been spilled over whether God exists. Within this context, some theists like to point out that "God has made it plain" that he exists, that "God's invisible qualities … have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse" (Rom. 1:19-20). They urge us to remember that the "heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (Ps. 19:1). In a recent Christianity Today article, Jim Spiegel cites these passages and writes: "This naturally prompts the question: If the evidence for God is so abundant, then why are there atheists?"

Spiegel asserts that for many atheists, it's not "cool, rational inquiry" that led to their atheism. Rather, in many cases it's complex moral and psychological factors that produce atheism. For example, Spiegel points to research suggesting that some prominent atheists had broken, defective relationships with their fathers. Others live in perpetual disobedience and rebellion—resisting lifestyle changes required upon adopting theism. And still others confess that they just don't want there to be a God. Spiegel contends that immorality has cognitive consequences—it impedes one's ability to recognize that theism is true.

No doubt he's right. Surely some people accept atheism due in part to such powerful motivational factors. For some atheists, it's not merely a matter of evidence. Yet, as Spiegel grants, these motivational explanations don't hold for all atheists. Consider some of the personal essays found in Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life, edited by Louise Antony. Some testify that their move from theism to atheism came at tremendous personal cost and required ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedMissionaries Dreamed Of This Muslim Moment. Trump’s Travel Ban May End It.
Missionaries Dreamed Of This Muslim Moment. Trump’s Travel Ban May End It.
Why American evangelicals see Islam so differently.
TrendingRussia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Group gives Protestants competition for souls, but also an ally on religious freedom.
Editor's PickAn Inside Look at China’s Remarkable Religious Resurgence
An Inside Look at China’s Remarkable Religious Resurgence
Journalist Ian Johnson sees faith on the rise where it was once ruthlessly suppressed.
Christianity Today
Why There Are Still Atheists
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.