The Making of an Atheist

by Luke Nix

by James Spiegel is a short book on the non-rational reasons that people may have for rejecting the existence of God. It was of interest to me because it doesn’t address intellectual reasons, but emotional reasons. The book talks about the psychology of atheists. The book is divided into five chapters and is a mere 128 pages, so it makes for a quick read.

Chapter 1: Atheistic Arguments, Errors, and Insights
In the first chapter Spiegel defines what he means when he uses the word “atheist”. That being pretty much anyone who does not affirm the existence of God (this would include agnostics). He then discusses some of the reasons that atheists give for refusing to believe that God exists. He explains the moral argument against God, the hypocritical behavior of people within the Church, and answers both. He addresses other issues in the Church, such as intellectual laziness (which has lead to the charge of “god of the gaps” reasoning) and disunity over side issues. He concludes that the Church, itself, gave the atheists the ammunition against God; they just point out the problems. The Church needs to recognize the truth of what has been revealed and do something about it instead of ignoring it. 

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Chapter 2: The Irrationality of Atheism
In chapter 2 Spiegel looks at the evidences that convinced atheist Antony Flew that God does exist. The evidences given are: the beginning of the universe, the origin of life, and the origin of consciousness. Spiegel points out that many intellectuals are atheistic, as Flew was. Spiegel moves more towards the psychological when he points out that even though the evidence is weighted toward theism, these intellectual atheists still reject the existence of God. He points to Romans 1:18-23 as an indicator of the source of such rejection- immorality. He makes the point that emotions do have the ability to override reason in the human mind- if the person does not like the implications of a conclusion, they will dismiss it regardless of how rational it may be. He then moves back to the intellectual side to show that atheism is actually self-defeating via Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism. Spiegel concludes this chapter by stating that the only reason that someone would prefer a self-defeating worldview to one that is coherent (and explains the data) is because of the preference of immorality over truth.

Chapter 3: The Causes of Atheism
In chapter 3 Spiegel opens his exclusive conclusion up to also include other causes for atheism. It deals with Paul Vitz’s research on the connection between fatherlessness and atheism…

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