Why Don’t Atheists Show More Curiosity About Their Own Beliefs?

by Tom Gilson

We Christians get charged with believing things uncritically, not showing sufficient curiosity about other beliefs, or about how ours could be true. I’ve got the same sort of question for atheists.*

Thinking Christian commenter Benjamin Cain supposes that the God Christians worship is a “human-like,” “monstrous,” “psychopathic,” “jealous, irrational, sadistic tyrant,” waving the equivalent of a “magic wand.” That’s all found in just one single tour de force of a comment. He’s not alone; Richard Dawkins led the way in it in The God Delusion, and I’m sure others beat him to it, though not so famously.

Now, this isn’t merely a statement about God; it’s a statement about Christians. Either we are content to follow a God of that character, or perhaps we don’t realize our God is like that. Is there any other option? I can’t think of one. This is our god, if Cain is right, and we choose to follow him. Could there be any explanation for our behavior, other than we want a god like this, or else we don’t realize that’s the god we worship?

(I’m using the lower case for “god” here, since this really isn’t the God in whom we believe.)

Atheists often say that Christians would reject the Bible if we ever got around to reading it. That fits with the latter option, that we don’t know who our god really is. The former view shows up, perhaps, in the idea that we’re theocratic homophobic moral idiots.

Not Defending Christianity Here; Wondering About Atheists Instead

Neither of those viewpoints feels like much of an attack on Christianity, requiring some kind of defense. They’re so wide of the mark, there’s nothing to defend. It would be like medieval soldiers in Paris raising their shields when British archers were raising their bows toward Scotland…

Why Don’t Atheists Show More Curiosity About Their Own Beliefs?