It IS About Attacking Christianity

The Reconquista Initiative

Presents…

It IS About Attacking Christianity

In our modern era, it has now become quite clear that the attacks that traditional Christians in the West face from both liberal leftist “Christians” and secular progressives against common-sense Christian morality and orthodox Christian ethical views are not, primarily, done for the purpose of seeking equality, or fighting against discrimination, or seeking tolerance, for what these attacks are primarily targeted at is traditional Christianity itself. In fact, these attacks against Christianity are meant to be insidiously and purposely couched in pleasant language about toleration and diversity in order to lull Christians to sleep while the enemy strikes. And while it is not contended that this is necessarily some type of concerted or coordinated or conspiratorial effort on the part of the opponents of the Christianity, it is nevertheless still true that these are attacks specifically against orthodox Christian theism. And the way that we can know this to be true is quite simple, for consider the following facts:

  1. First, we see liberal progressive leftists actively seek out and target Christian bakers, or florists, or whatnot in an effort to be able to bring cultural and societal sanctions against these people, but we do not see one iota of effort from the same people in seeking out Muslim or Orthodox Jewish businesses that would refuse the same services as the Christian parties do.

  1. Second, after every Muslim terror attack, we hear calls from the left not to be ‘Islamophobic’, and that ‘not all Muslims are like that’, and that, most likely, the attack was “somehow” caused by the far-right, and that the worse thing would be an anti-Muslim backlash, and yet when some Catholic priests are convicted of sexual abuse, there is no cry to avoid ‘Catholicophobia’, and no calls not to paint all priests as abusers, and no attempts at making excuses, but rather, the progressives actively and joyously use the sexual abuse crisis as a stick with which to beat the Catholic Church as a whole, something that they would never do with Muslims or other “protected” groups.

  1. Third, and linked to the last point, it is also the case that when a Muslim causes an attack or commits a horrible crime, the progressive media tries to avoid mentioning the Muslim’s religion for as long as possible, but if a “Christian” or a “right-winger” causes an attack, it is almost the first thing mentioned, and it is repeated over and over and over again, even if the link between the attacker and Christianity is tenuous at best. Furthermore, when a “right-winger” causes an attack, the event is often reported in a way that creates blanket condemnation of the whole right-side of the political spectrum rather than recognizing that many right-wing groups are separate entities who want nothing to do with each other; but when some group allied to the leftist-progressives causes an attack, distinctions are immediately made and nuance is introduced to deflect the blame onto a small sub-set of the left-wing.

  1. Fourth, progressive feminists, who, under the law, enjoy full equality in the formerly Christian West, spend inordinate amounts of time whining and complaining about the most idiotic and minor things that happen in Western societies while not only ignoring the horrors against women that occur elsewhere in the world, such as in Muslim countries, but even tacitly covering up for crimes committed against women when the crimes are committed by members of a “protected” group.

  1. Fifth, history and facts are utterly distorted by leftist progressives in order to make what was formerly Christendom and Western Civilization seem abhorrent and horrendous, when, in reality, the West’s sins were absolutely no greater than those of any other culture, and were arguably much less so, and were also readily offset by the great cultural and political benefits that the West brought to the rest of the world which no other culture did; but this latter fact is almost never mentioned, of course.

  1. Sixth, we see leftist progressive politicians and businesses in the West condemn and refuse to do business in areas and states that enact laws to protect Christians from secular progressive discrimination, and yet, all the while, these politicians and businesses are happy to do business in countries that are actively hostile to both progressive ideas as well as to Christian worship (countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Cuba, Iran, etc.) and so it certainly seems that so long as Christians are somehow receiving the lash—both literally and figuratively—then these progressive politicians and businesses are happy.

  1. Seventh, while secular progressives are happy to attack crosses in public spaces or prayer in schools due to the need for the ‘separation of church and state’, they dutifully ignore Muslim segregation of girls and boys in schools while Muslims are literally praying in school cafeterias and they ignore the chanting from minarets across all public spaces, just to name a few issues of this sort.

  1. Eighth, while Christians are routinely harassed and stopped and punished under hate speech laws enacted and enforced by progressives in the West, these laws, strangely, never seem to be used by progressives against Muslim hate-preachers or secular bigots, but mainly against orthodox Christians.

  1. Ninth, while progressives will claim that criticism of Islam or other non-Western religions is racist—a claim which is nonsensical to begin with given that a religion is not a race—they would laugh if you called their criticism of Christianity racist or discriminatory.

  1. Finally, tenth, while we see leftist progressives talk about aiding the needy and helping the destitute, we almost never hear them speak about the fact that the most persecuted victim group in the world are ‘Christians’, for Christians the world over are harmed and killed by their non-Christian country-men more so than any other religious group, and yet about this, you will rarely hear the left make a sound.

And so, the long and short of it is this: it is for reasons like those mentioned above, and for others as well, that we can reasonably come to believe that the progressive left is not aiming to use their social tools and cultural strength for the creation of a “better” world, but rather, they use their power to seek a world without traditional Christianity; but of course, to the progressive left, those two things are synonymous, and so the sooner that Christians recognize this threat, and the sooner they take firm action to counter it, the better.

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Anno Domini 2017 02 27

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

The Left’s Appeal is Easy Virtue

The Reconquista Initiative

Presents…

The Left’s Appeal is Easy Virtue

One of the things which has always struck me about modern progressive leftism is that, as opposed to the relatively harder morality wed to traditionalism, it seems to me that a great deal of the appeal of embracing a leftist progressive political persuasion comes from the incredibly easy and external “virtue” and “morality” that such a vision provides to people. And so, people are drawn towards this point-of-view precisely because it is an easy and relatively cost-free way of achieving a great and vast feeling of moral righteousness and superiority.

After all, consider, for example, that it is asininely easy to “embrace” all types of sexual activities and orientations and deviances (progressive leftism), yet it is astronomically harder—especially in this day and age—to stay chaste until you have a heterosexual marriage and then remain faithful to that marriage for life (traditionalism). It is also easy to vote once every few years for a re-distributive socialist to have the government take money from other people to “help” the poor (progressive leftism), but it is much hard to actually donate 10% of your own monthly wages (or your time) on a regular self-giving basis to help the homeless bastard down the street (traditionalism). And it is no doubt also easy to be for “woman’s reproductive health” (progressive leftism), but it is actually hard to accept the consequences of your bad decisions and spend decades dealing them (traditionalism). Additionally, it is rather easy to embrace “safe spaces” and microaggressions and hate speech codes and so on, given the mental protection that these things offer to your psyche (progressive leftism), but it is rather difficult to be open to truly free speech and free association given that such openness can expose you to uncomfortable ideas and thoughts (traditionalism). It is also rather easy to have an amorphous love for “humanity” in some theoretical sense (progressive leftism), but it is much harder to be the individual who actually engages in the hard personal charity of, say, cleaning and washing a disabled person or an invalid. And it is easy to embrace “body positivity” even though you are fat and unhealthy (progressive leftism), but it is much harder to stay fit and healthy (traditionalism). And finally, consider that it is easy to embrace an ethic of ‘I’m OK, you’re OK, and everything’s OK so long as no one else is harmed’ (progressive leftism), but it is hard to embrace a morality that forces you to, say, personally oppose and strive against the seven deadly sins within your own sould. Consequently, with just these few examples in mind, I think that the point is made.

And so, the long and short of it is this: I truly believe that one reason for the modern appeal of progressive leftism, and one of the main reasons that it is so readily embraced today, is because what it deems to be virtuous is both easy and external, for it requires little pain, patience, or sacrifice. Indeed, under his moral system, the progressive leftist need not change himself—which is actually hard—for the moral philosophy that he embraces actually sanctifies all the consensual activities that he engages in; consequently, the progressive leftist has a system where he feels no guilt for his personal sins and vices, while he simultaneously receives the feeling of being virtuous through the easy and external moral system that he embraces. Indeed, the progressive leftist turns his vices into virtues, and then simply embraces other people’s vices as well, all while couching this lax morality in the sweet-sounding words of a faux “tolerance” and “love for diversity”. So progressive leftist is a moral dream: change your vices into virtues, and then try to have everyone agree that those vices are virtues. It is a trick as old as Adam, and it is why many fallen humans embrace such an easy moral system as the one that progressive leftism presents.

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Anno Domini 2017 02 21

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

Lack-of-Belief Atheism Has the First Burden of Proof: Part 2

The Reconquista Initiative

Presents…

Lack-of-Belief Atheism Has the First Burden of Proof: Part 2

In the previous essay titled “Lack-of-Belief Atheism Has the First Burden of Proof”, it was pointed that if unbelievers wish to play the game of avoiding their part of the burden of proof by claiming that they merely lack a belief in God, thereby placing the full onus of proof on the theist given that the theist is making the positive claim that God or gods (hereafter just God) exist, then the theist can play a similar game by arguing that he just lacks a belief in the existence of people who genuinely lack a belief in God. Consequently, before any debate about God even starts, the unbeliever thus needs to prove the genuineness of his unbelief. Indeed, since certain forms of theism posit that the Suppression Hypothesis is true—and note that the Suppression Hypothesis posits that neurologically-typical unbelievers actually do believe in God but, for various psychological and/or moral reasons, they suppress that truth via various defensive mechanisms such as denial and suppression—then, in light of this plausible view, a theistic believer who is agnostic about the truth of the Suppression Hypothesis can thereby demand that any self-proclaimed unbeliever prove the genuineness of his unbelief before discussing the issue of God’s existence. And until and unless the unbeliever does so satisfactorily, there is indeed no point discussing the issue of God’s existence because it has not yet been established that any neurologically-typical person truly does deny the existence of God.

Now, in response to this ‘burden of proof’ tactic on the part of the theist, the atheist can try to reverse the situation and claim that he is unsure of the actual existence of sincere believers; indeed, the unbeliever can claim that perhaps believers are simply suppressing the truth concerning the non-existence of God, and so they must therefore prove the genuineness of their theistic belief before the unbeliever will accept it. And commentator ‘KR’, writing in response to the last essay on this topic, articulates this objection well when he says:

[QUOTE] Can you prove to me that you believe in God? You see, I have this theory that there are no actual theists. Deep down, all self-proclaimed believers sense that their interactions with this God is actually their own minds playing tricks on them and that the most parsimonious explanation for why God doesn’t seem to be doing much of anything is that He simply doesn’t exist. However, the thought of there being no afterlife and no prospect of seeing their departed loved ones on the other side is unbearable to them so they suppress this insight. Of course, there is also the threat of Hell and the risk of being ostracized by the other people who profess to believe. I find it interesting to watch deconversion stories on YouTube. No-one claims to have made a decision to give up their faith, in fact they all try desperately to hold on to it (i.e. suppression). Eventually, they just seem to accept at some point that they don’t believe – the suppression simply couldn’t be upheld anymore. Even the most devout (professed) believer can still have doubts – that’s just the cracks in their suppression starting to show. [UNQUOTE, https://reconquistainitiative.com/2017/01/31/lack-of-belief-atheism-has-the-first-burden-of-proof/%5D

And so, the unbeliever can indeed mount such a burden of proof objection against the believer’s own claim that the atheist has the first burden of proof. But is the above objection valid? Does it really negate the unbeliever’s burden of proof? These are questions that need to be answered, and they can be through a number of different responses.

Response 1 – The Unbeliever Still Has a Burden of Proof.

The first response to the above objection is to note that merely arguing that the theist has a burden of proof concerning the genuineness of his belief does nothing to negate the unbeliever’s burden of proof in this regard. Indeed, just because the unbeliever is engaging in a sort of tu quoque maneuver, this does nothing, in the end, to remove the burden of proof from him (so long as the burden of proof is construed as belonging to any person who makes a positive claim, whether that claim is implicit or overt). At best, all this objection shows is that both the believer and the unbeliever have a burden of proof to demonstrate that they hold their positions in a genuine and sincere sense. Now, would this mean that the believer and the unbeliever are at logger-heads, with neither one really at an advantage when it comes to the initial burden of proof? Perhaps, and perhaps this is an undesirable scenario, but the fact that it is again does nothing to remove the burden from the unbeliever in this case.

Response 2 – The Unbeliever’s Objection is Potentially Ad Hoc.

The second response to the aforementioned objection is to note that it appears to be ad hoc in nature, meaning that it has only been posited as a way to respond to the theist’s argument, and thus that it is simply a spur-of-the-moment opportunistic creation meant to protect the unbeliever from the theist’s argumentative attack; this is unlike the theist’s claim concerning the Suppression Hypothesis, given that the theist’s Suppression Hypothesis has a long history and was posited as a hypothesis well before the advent of modern psychology and well before the advent of modern lack-of-belief atheism. Thus, whereas the theist’s Suppression Hypothesis is a genuine idea grounded in ancient writings and thought of before there was a real need for it, the atheist’s version of the Suppression Hypothesis—as above—seems to have been created merely as a way to counter the theist’s own Suppression Hypothesis. And the reason that this fact is important is because an ‘ad hoc’ hypothesis is usually one which is not really believed by the person offering it, and thus it is not being offered in a genuine way; and so, in light of these facts, an ad hoc hypothesis is not a hypothesis that needs to be taken seriously when in a burden-of-proof debate because the person making the hypothesis does not really believe that it is the case.

However, although it can be argued that the unbeliever’s version of the Suppression Hypothesis is indeed ad hoc in some cases—or even most cases—the fact remains that there very well may be unbelievers who genuinely hold to some version of this Suppression Hypothesis concerning theistic believers, and so merely noting that the hypothesis is ad hoc in many cases is not sufficient to undermine the general challenge of this objection. Consequently, another response is still needed.

Response 3 – Lacking an Air of Reality.

Yet another response to the unbeliever’s own Suppression Hypothesis is to note that it lacks an ‘air of reality’. Now, an ‘air of reality’ is a legal term which holds that unless a defense has some type of evidentiary foundation or evidentiary basis, it cannot be offered to the court as a means of arguing for an accused person’s innocence. So, for example, if a person is accused of murder, the person’s lawyer cannot claim that perhaps aliens actually killed the deceased person rather than his client doing so, for the ‘alien defense’ has no evidentiary foundation to it and has thus been made out of whole cloth; and because of this, the court could legitimately discard this defense without even considering it. By contrast, if the person accused of murder had connections to the mob, then there would be an evidentiary basis for claiming that such a person had been framed for the murder which he was accused of committing, and thus the court would have to seriously consider this possibility. Now the reason that this idea of an ‘air of reality’ is important is because without it, a defense lawyer could simply mount countless ad hoc defenses as a way of trying to get his client off. Thus the ‘air of reality’ test helps to determine which ideas are merely possible in the logical sense and thus do not need to be taken seriously in reality, and which ideas are reasonably plausible and thus do need to be taken seriously in reality.

Now, the reason that the ‘air of reality’ test is important in the case of the Suppression Hypothesis is because whereas the hypothesis that unbeliever’s are suppressing the truth about God does have an evidentiary basis—as evidenced in the last essay on this topic—it is questionable whether the hypothesis that theistic believers are suppressing the truth about the non-existence of God actually has an evidentiary foundation. After all, it is possible to posit that believers are motivated to believe in God as a form of wish-fulfilment and that they suppress the truth about atheism, but is there any evidentiary basis for this claim? And until and unless there is—indeed, until and unless there is an air of reality to this claim—it does not need to be taken seriously.

Now, in response to this ‘air of reality’ challenge, an unbeliever might respond that theistic believers have indeed articulated the fact that they want theism to be true and that theism is a form of wish-fulfilment. But note that merely having this one fact is not enough to support the unbeliever’s Suppression Hypothesis, for the unbeliever’s Suppression Hypothesis is not just saying that theists believe on the basis of wish-fulfilment, but that they do not really belief in God at all. But these are two different things. A person could wish that God exists and yet still genuinely believe that He does. Thus, for the unbeliever’s version of the Suppression Hypothesis to have merit, the unbeliever needs to show some evidentiary basis for the idea that believers genuinely do not believe in God’s existence. For example, does the unbeliever have evidence that people who call themselves theistic believers in public actually admit to a lack of belief in God in private? Or does the unbeliever have evidence that the involuntary behavioral responses of theistic believers go against their verbal responses when they are asked about their belief in God? Now, although the answers to these questions are presently uncertain, I would posit, in fairness, that the unbeliever can indeed acquire such evidence, thereby meeting the air of reality test. And even if the unbeliever could not do so, let us, for the sake of argument, consider that he can. So, in light of the assumption that the ‘air of reality’ challenge can be met, what do we do then?

Response Four – Meeting the Burden of Proof.

If the unbeliever’s Suppression Hypothesis can overcome the issue of being ad hoc as well as answer the ‘air of reality’ test, then this leaves us back where we started, meaning that both the believer and the unbeliever have a burden of proof concerning proving the genuineness of their belief and unbelief respectively. But does that mean that both hypotheses are on equal footing? Not at all. Why? Because the very evidence which renders the idea that unbelievers suppress the truth about God’s existence plausible also makes it very easy to hold that actual theistic believers exist. For example, and as explained in the last essay on this topic, the fact that there is scientific evidence to show that human cognitive faculties are naturally wired for supernatural and theistic beliefs means that it is very easy to believe that theists genuinely believe that God exists, for doing so is entirely in line with the natural state of their cognitive faculties. By contrast, atheism seems to be strongly counter to mankind’s natural cognitive state, and so whereas it is easy to believe that there are such things as genuine believers, it is harder to believe that there are such things as genuine unbelievers. Thus, whereas this fact, combined with a believer’s testimony concerning the genuineness of his theistic belief, is sufficient to meet the burden of proof that he is a genuine believer, it is precisely the aforementioned fact which gives us the grounds to doubt the unbeliever’s testimony of his own unbelief; for in the theistic case, the scientific evidence of the naturalness of theism supports the theist’s testimonial claim, whereas it is in tension with the atheist’s testimonial claim.

Furthermore, the fact that atheism may be linked to neurologically-atypical conditions such as autism, whereas the theist is generally seen as neurologically-typical, again means that it is much easier to accept that belief in God is both genuine and a product of neurologically-typical cognitive faculties. And so again, whereas the fact of the neurological-typicality of the believer, combined with his testimony of his genuine belief, is enough to support the genuineness of the believer’s belief, the fact that atheism may be linked to autism thus undermines the atheist’s own testimony of his unbelief, for that very unbelief may be largely due to the atheist’s neurologically-atypical cognitive faculties. And so, the point here is that certain facts that are reasonable to believe about belief in God—namely, that it is natural, that humans are even wired for such belief, and that believers are generally neurologically-typical—means that when a believer offers testimony of the genuineness of his belief in God, that testimony, combined with the facts just mentioned, would be sufficient to convince a reasonable person (in the legal sense) of the genuineness of the believer’s theist belief. By contrast, certain points that are reasonable to believe about non-belief in God—namely, the such unbelief goes against our natural human mental wiring and that such unbelief may even have a causal link to neurologically-atypical cognitive faculties—means that an unbeliever’s testimony for the genuineness of his unbelief (at least as a neurologically-typical individual) is not sufficient to meet his burden of proof. And so the unbeliever must present more evidence—evidence that is greater than his mere testimony—to convince a reasonable person that his unbelief is not due to cognitive issues like autism and/or that it is genuine.

And so, the long and short of it is this: even if the unbeliever’s own version of the Suppression Hypothesis is a legitimate challenge which the believer must meet, the fact is that the believer can meet this challenge relatively easily, whereas it is much harder for the unbeliever to meet the burden required by the theistic’s Suppression Thesis. Thus, the challenge of the Suppression Thesis remains a problem for the unbeliever, and it is a problem that he cannot overcome by the mere testimony of the genuineness of his unbelief. And so, at the end of the day, the unbeliever not only has a burden of proof to prove the genuineness of his unbelief, but it is still the first burden of proof that must be addressed in the debate over God’s existence. And theists should not let unbelievers forget this fact.

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Anno Domini 2017 02 18

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

Harmonizing Genesis, Literally

Please note that this is a thoroughly updated essay of an earlier essay which I posted just after this site was started. Nevertheless, this essay is sufficiently different to warrant reposting.

The Reconquista Initiative

Presents…

Harmonizing Genesis, Literally

For many years, Christians in the West have argued over the days of creation as found in the Genesis text. In opposition to the scientific claim that the world is vastly old, with an existence numbering into the billions of years, so-called Young Earth Creationists generally hold to the idea that the Earth was actually created in six literal days and is only a few thousand years old; not only do they hold to this view, but they argue against other Christians who do not. Indeed, vast quantities of time and effort have been expended in pursuit of this issue. And to many Christians, this issue is vitally important, which is why it deserves our attention. But given the friction that this matter has caused among different Christian groups, it is an issue which not only deserves our attention, but it also deserves a solution which can be reasonably accepted by all the different parties in this dispute. And that is precisely what this work aims to do. Indeed, this brief essay endeavors to take on a herculean task: in essence, it seeks to show, in a way that is both scripturally faithful and plausible, that a ‘six-day’ view of the creation in Genesis can be completely, directly, and literally harmonized with a creation that also took billions of human years to occur. In doing this, this article hopes to lay to rest the constant debate over the creation-days in Genesis.

Now, in order to understand the solution to this problem, the first critical thing to note is that in Genesis 1:1, scripture makes it clear that the Spirit of God came down to the Earth and was hovering or moving over the waters of the Earth. Furthermore, note as well that this Earth-bound but Godly perspective is introduced to the reader of Genesis before any of the creation days are even mentioned. Thus, it is quite reasonable to accept that the perspective of the Genesis text from the start is not only God’s perspective, but specifically the perspective of God very close to the waters of the Earth and hovering right over them. Additionally, in the text itself, there is no other individual mentioned there except for God, thereby providing yet another reason to believe that the Genesis text is looking at creation from the perspective of God who is hovering over the waters of the Earth. And also note that this ‘God’ perspective carries on throughout the rest of the Genesis 1 text. So this is the first point to realize.

Second, it is vital to understand that in the Genesis text specifically, the days of creation are not counted by hours or minutes or by any other human time calculation; rather, a literal and direct reading of the Genesis text shows that a day is only counted as a completed day by the fact that there was the day, then the evening, and then the morning. Thus, in the Genesis text, when read literally, the days are only “days” once there has been a cycle of day, evening, and then morning; the days are not counted by some human time calculation of 24-hours, but rather they are counted by the cyclical occurrence of day, then night, then day again. This cannot be stressed enough: the text of Genesis 1, when read literally, shows that the days of Genesis are counted through the physical transition of day-to-night-to-morning, not through human time references.

So, with all this in mind, the way to harmonize the idea of six literal days of creation, as the Genesis text describes it, with the scientific evidence that the Earth is billions of years old, is both simple and clear. Remembering that the Genesis narrative, when it locates God, locates Him specifically as moving over the Earth and therefore in direct and close proximity to it, and also remembering that the Genesis narrative is from God’s perspective, then the solution to the Genesis problem becomes the following: during creation, God simply remained moving in what was essentially “daytime” even while millions of human years passed by, and God only allowed Himself to complete the day-to-night transition cycle when He wished to do so. In this way, there would be only one literal Genesis day occurring to God, even though, in human time, millions or billions of years might have actually passed. Indeed, the fact that God, as He moved over the Earthly waters, could remain in the daylight phase for as long as He desired to do so is obvious, for He is God, and thus there is no difficulty in accepting that this is a logical possibly; furthermore, this idea is also reasonable from a scriptural perspective given that, as stated, scripture itself describes God as hovering or moving over the very surface of the Earth right at the very start of the creation account. And this is precisely the type of verse that would be needed to make the aforementioned solution both scripturally sensible and faithful, so it is very interesting that this is indeed exactly the type of verse that is found in the Genesis creation account.

Now, as an analogy to this proposed solution, note that the explanation in question mirrors the way in which even a human person can exist in just one “day” even though weeks might pass him by. After all, consider the following example: if a person lived in certain extreme northern places on the planet where the sun never rises or sets for weeks at a time, then even though weeks might pass in actual measured human time, it would still be true to say that that person only experienced one “day” if a day was being counted as a day-to-night transition rather than as a period of hours. And indeed, certain people do live in a situation where the day-to-night transition does not happen for a few weeks, and so to these people, one of their day-to-night cycles lasts weeks rather than just lasting 24 hours. So even we human beings, in our own lives, can see how one day, if defined as a day-to-night cycle, could remain as just one day even though much more than 24 hours might pass by in just that one “day”. And to extend the analogy even further, note that if a person, say, wrote a book during the weeks-long time when the sun never set, then it would be coherent and logical to say that the person created a novel in just one day, if a day was being counted as a day-to-night transition, while at the same time saying that it took that person weeks in measured human time to write his novel. Indeed, there would be no contradiction in taking both of these claims to be true.

Furthermore, and in addition to the above analogy, also note that a thought-experiment can help make it clear how the proposed solution to the Genesis day issue would work. So, for example, consider that if a person was in a hyper-fast plane that was as fast as the rotation of the Earth, and if, for the sake of argument, that plane was self-sustaining in terms of its fuel and food, then a person inside the plane could literally stay on the day-time side of the Earth for his entire life, thus living eighty-to-ninety years of human time in just one “day”, so long as that day was defined as a day-to-night transition. In fact, it can even be imagined that if the person had life-enhancing technology, and if the person could live to be a million years old, then such a person could literally have a million years of human time pass-by in just one day. At the same time, whatever the person had created in the plane over the course of a million years—perhaps beautiful paintings and music—could also be considered to have been created in just one day, so long as, once again, a “day” in that case was being measured as a day-to-night transition. And so, just as it is in this thought-experiment, so to could God have created things in just one “day” even though billions of years might have passed at the same time as the one “day” did.

Additionally, and as further support for the above solution, note that 2 Peter 3:8 advises that to God, a day is as a thousand years and, more importantly, a thousand years is also as one day. And while a number of meanings could be drawn from this scriptural passage, it is clear that the ‘thousand years’ is meant more to give the impression of a long period of time than an exact thousand years, and so the point is that this verse lends support to the aforementioned solution to the Genesis problem, for this verse shows that a day to God could be a seen as a very long time to us, and that a very long time to us could be but one day to God, which is precisely what the solution above is claiming.

Another benefit to this particular solution is that it can help resolve some other scriptural difficulties that arise in the creation account. For instance, in Genesis 2:2-3, scripture alludes to the fact that God rested on the seventh day of creation, and yet since there is no day-to-night transition listed for the seventh day, the most literal interpretation of this passage is that the seventh day is still with us and that God is still in the seventh day, for the change to night and then a new day is not mentioned there like it is for the first six days of creation. But if a day is a 24-hour period of time, then this would not be possible, as even the most ardent Young-Earth Creationist admits that centuries have passed since this last day of creation. Yet with the solution proposed in this work, no problem arises, for reconciling that passage of scripture is as simple as understanding that the Spirit of God from Genesis 1:2 is still in the “day” phase of the seventh day, but the rest of his creation—like human beings, who obviously cannot remain in the day phase indefinitely like God can—has experienced the passage of thousands of days since that time. Consequently, it can be seen that the acceptance of the aforementioned solution to the Genesis days problem also helps deal with the issue of the current day-phase of the seventh day of creation. Next, note that certain tensions between Genesis 2:4, which alludes to the fact that creation was completed in just one day, and Genesis 1 can also be resolved through the use of this proposed solution and an understanding of the Trinity. After all, given the Trinity, and given the solution presented, it would be possible for one person of the Trinity, namely the Holy Spirit, to do His work of creation in six Genesis days, whereas another person of the Trinity could complete His work of creation in one Genesis day. Indeed, since, as repeatedly stated, the Genesis days are measured by the observer’s experience of a day-to-night transition, then, both logically and scripturally, it would be possible for one person of the Trinity to create in what to Him is one day whereas the same creation process could take six days for another member of the Trinity. And so again, the proposed solution can not only plausibly and scripturally harmonize six Genesis days with billions of human years, but it can also resolve other tensions in the creation account.

Now, in terms of objections against it, note that the proposed solution is quite robust. For example, this solution to the Genesis problem can easily absorb the fact that the Hebrew word for ‘day’, namely ‘yom’, often means a period of light and/or darkness, such as is experienced by us during one day. Indeed, since this solution agrees that each creation day was only one period of light and darkness—but one period of light and darkness from God’s perspective, which could have been billions of years to human beings—then this solution is easily able to accept the claim that ‘yom’, in the case of Genesis, is best defined as just one period of light and darkness. And so the word ‘yom’ can be accepted in its most conventional understanding, and yet this solution still works just fine even in that case. Furthermore, the section of scripture in Exodus 20:8-11, which speaks of the days of creation as being literal days, is also easily accommodated by the solution proposed here so long as the ‘day’ in those scriptural verses are properly understood: namely, as one day-to-night transition. Indeed, when understood in this way, Exodus 20:8-11 offers no problem to this solution, for observe how those passages adapt once the word “day” is understood as the aforementioned transition:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six [day-to-night-to-morning transitions] you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh [day-to-night-to-morning transition] is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. … For in six [day-to-night-to-morning transitions] the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh [day-to-night-to-morning transition]. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11, ESV)

So, when understood in this way, Exodus 20:8-11 can be taken literally, and yet there is no tension between this passage and the days being a long period of time because both are still literally true. God did take six day-to-night transitions to complete creation, but those day-to-night transitions took billions of years to complete; however, since, in Exodus 20:8-11, God is speaking to a people who have no technological means of having one day-to-night transition last longer than a normal 24-hour period, and since these people do not live anywhere where the sun remains up for days or weeks at a time, then of course it would be the case that in such a situation, the six day-to-night transitions that God experienced would match six 24-hour days in actual human time for the human beings that Exodus 20:8-11 is being written for. Consequently, when understood in this way—which, as we have seen, is the proper way to understand a Genesis day—then the fact that the passage in Exodus seems to equate six human days with the six creation days used by God is not a problem at all for the old Earth view so long as the “day” is properly understood as a day-to-night-to-morning transition, which is how it literally appears in the Genesis text.

Thus we see that when the Genesis “days” are understood as they are literally described in the Genesis text, which means as the completion of an observer-relative day-to-evening-to-morning cycle, and when we understand that, in Genesis, the observer in question is a God who would not have to transition through a single one of those cycles for billions of human years if He did not wish to do so, then we can understand that it is actually easy and scripturally reasonable to harmonize six literal God-perspective Genesis creation days with billions of human years.

Finally, it is worth mentioning why God would use billions of years to create the universe and the Earth. Very briefly, Romans 1:20 tells us that God’s nature is seen and understood through His creation. But part of God’s nature is His eternality or His everlastingness. Now, a universe that was created billions of years ago—an age almost incomprehensible to us—points to an eternal or everlasting creator much more clearly, and much better, than a universe which was only created a few thousand years ago does. After all, consider that it is possible to conceive of some super alien-like entity being able to create a universe like ours that is only a few thousands of years old, but a universe that is billions of years old makes it much easier to picture only an eternal or everlasting God as being the sole possible creator of such a universe. Indeed, for given that human experience teaches us that material things only live a few hundred years at most, then if humans looked at a created cosmos which was billions of years in the making, with a creator who existed for those billions of years, then it becomes readily apparent that the only reasonable belief to have concerning that creator is that he is what all people call “God.” And so, the reason God would use billions of years to create is because doing so reflects His nature better, and it also helps to ensure that no one mistakes the true Creator for some merely advanced human-like creator, for only a thing which all people take to be God could have created the cosmos over the course of billions and billions of years.

And so, in the end, not only can we see that the Genesis text can be literally harmonized with billions of years of Earthly existence, but we can also see that there is a reason why God would use billions of years to achieve His ends. And while the solution presented here will obviously not suit everyone, and while this solution does not resolve every concern with the Genesis text, the fact is that this particular approach to the Genesis day problem is indeed a way to plausibly, faithfully, and reasonably reconcile the Genesis text with the scientific claims about the age of the Earth. And achieving even this is no small thing.

Author’s Note:  Please be aware that the solution to the Genesis problem presented in this article is, to the best of the author’s knowledge, unique; but if it is not, then that is the author’s error and all credit goes to those who saw this solution first.

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Anno Domini 2017 02 16

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

 

A Call for Christian Pride

The Reconquista Initiative

Presents…

A Call for Christian Pride

My Dear White European Christian Brothers,

The era of shame is over. The time for guilt has passed. Now is the dawn of a new day, a day where we hold our heads high and stand proud of the incredible heritage that we have bequeathed mankind. In fact, now is the time to realize that we, as white European Christian males, are, in a very real sense, a gift to mankind. For are we not the ones who have graced the world with some of its greatest music, art, theatre, and prose? Are we not the ones who formed awesome centers of learning and produced some of the world’s greatest philosophers and thinkers? Are we not the ones who nurtured science, solidified it, and birthed some of humanity’s most formidable doctors, researchers, astronomers, and experts? And are we not the ones who have created some of the world’s most awe-inspiring architecture and sublime sculptures? Are we not also the ones who have helped to formulate political and moral philosophies which have shaped economics and social development in a way that has made Man progressively more prosperous and free? Furthermore, are we not the ones who have built hospitals, founded charities, and travelled the world caring for the sick and destitute; and are we not also the ones who have held fast to a faith that bound traditional Western Civilization together, sustained it, and made it a civilizational beacon for the rest of the world? Finally, are we not the ones who have, for millennia, laid down our lives to defend our homeland and our kin from invasions, incursions, and civilizational threats?

Of course we are the ones who did all these things, and we should be fiercely proud of such immense feats done for the glory of God and the betterment of Man!

And yet, many will no doubt try to shame us for our sins, as if this has not been done over and over again for generations. But here is the two-fold secret about our transgressions that few will repeat. First, for all the evils that we have done, we have done no worse than any other culture, nation, or group, and in many civilizational respects, we have given mankind much more than any other group has; in the end, we have been no worse than anyone else, but in many respects, we have been much better than anyone else. And this is a fact that should not be forgotten! Second, it is rarely mentioned that many of our so-called sins are actually distortions of the truth; they are, in fact, lies. Like the lie that the Crusades were an unprovoked offensive action rather than an ultimately defensive response to centuries of Muslim aggression and expansion. Or the lie that the Spanish Inquisition was some type of unique evil in the history of this world, when, instead, the need for its existence was understandable and its entire centuries-long history of judicial killings has a body count that is less than the amount of people that Chinese communists killed in a week or Aztec tribes sacrificed in a year. Or the modern lie that Christians, over the centuries, burned millions upon millions of innocent women as witches, when this number is only in the thousands. Or the lie that Christians burned or threatened men for their scientific views, even though such incidents had more to do with theological disputes or with political and honor related issues than with science. Or the lie that Christians ushered in a centuries-long period of darkness in Europe rather than realizing that Byzantine Christians had a fascinating civilization at the time of the so-called Dark Ages and that Western Christians were busily occupied with defending themselves from Muslim and pagan attacks, all while still preserving the very knowledge and customs that would soon birth the greatest civilization that Man has ever known. Or the lie of omission that heaps scorn on us for slavery, and yet forgets to mention that all other cultures had slavery as well, and also neglects to point out that white men, many of them Christian, were the only ones to fight to end large-scale slavery in the world. Or the lie that Western imperialism was particularly brutal, when it was no more brutal than non-Western imperialism, and often improved the countries that had been colonized. Or the other modern lie that Christians are responsible for instigating most of the horrors of the last century, when, in fact, the Communist leadership was largely atheist, the Nazi leadership was largely pagan, the non-Christian Japanese were as brutal as both groups combined, and that it was Christian men who fought and died to end Nazism, subdue Imperial Japan, and defeat the scourge of atheistic communism.

So, in the end, although we, as white European Christian men, have indeed added some darkness to this world, the fact is that without us, the world would arguably be a much darker place. And while this does not excuse our sins, it does cast them in a much different light!

And so, my brothers, to you I say this:  be proud of your heritage; be proud of the legacy that has been handed down to you. Stop tarnishing the memory of your ancestors by failing to defend them and their glories. Stop wallowing in endless guilt, for you have much less to be sorry for than many other nations do. You are a light onto the world; a light that is not as bright as it could be, but a light nonetheless. And the brightest light that there is! Take your place as the rightful heirs of traditional Western Civilization. Take your place as the rightful heirs of Tours, Lepanto, Vienna, and the Reconquista! Remember that you are the off-spring of great and noble men! Embrace your heritage! Grid your lions! And start defending the very civilization that is a beacon for this world!

Sincerely,

A Man of the West

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Anno Domini 2017 02 15

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

Jesus was a Tough Son-of-a-Bitch

The Reconquista Initiative

Presents…

Jesus was a Tough Son-of-a-Bitch

One of the great travesties of modern feel-good femininized Christianity—and a travesty which alienates a lot of non-Christian men—is the fact that Jesus Christ is so often portrayed as an individual who is utterly meek, mild, and submissive—as if Christ were some type of go-along-to-get-along hippie who just wanted peace, tolerance, and “love”, man! But nothing could be further from the truth, for the fact of the matter is that Jesus Christ was one tough son-of-a-bitch, and his strength and grit manifested itself in a number of ways. In fact, in many respects, Jesus Christ is a model of male toughness, and if you don’t believe me, well then just consider the following three points.

Physical Grit

First, there is the physical form of fortitude, which is a type of toughness that Jesus clearly demonstrated, for not only are there good grounds to believe that Jesus was a builder of some type (Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3), and thus that he had the natural physical strength that comes from working in manual labor, but there was also another incident that clearly showed Jesus’s physical prowess:  namely, the clearing of the temple.

In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. (John 2:14-15, ESV)

So here we have Jesus literally making himself a weapon and then using that weapon to clear out a temple full of merchants and animals. And although we are not told the exact number of people who were in the temple at the time, it nevertheless takes some serious balls to single-handed bitch-slap a room full of dudes and chase them away from their money and their live-stock. Indeed, regardless of whether you think that Jesus was right or wrong in what he did, the fact is that there are few men alive today who would have the intestinal fortitude to man-up and clear out a group of men with nothing but their hands, a bit of cord, and some righteous fury.

Intellectual, Emotional, and Social Fortitude

Now, while the above example demonstrates Christ’s physical toughness, the fact is that Christ was also intellectually, socially, and emotionally tough. What do I mean by this? I mean that in his words and actions, Christ did not bow to the politically-correct platitudes of his day, nor did he sacrifice the truth for niceness, nor did he care about the approval of his followers if doing so meant sacrificing his integrity. And indeed, when you call out a group of people as being sons of the Devil (John 8:39-47), and when you boldly preach the truth in a manner that leads to those who hear you wanting to kill you afterwards (Luke 4:16-30, John 8:58-59), and when you hold fast to a teaching regardless of the fact that it leads to large numbers of your followers abandoning you (John 6:60-71), you know that Christ had intellectual and emotional strength. In fact, Christ was strong enough to even call out his close friend when it was required (Matthew 16:22-23). And this is not even to mention the iron mental will it would take to fast for forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:1-2)! And so we see the strength of Christ manifest itself not only physically, but only intellectually and socially. This was a man who was emotionally and mentally tough. He had a mission, and he would let no man—neither friend nor foe—stop him from achieving it.

Mission-Oriented Toughness

Finally, we can note that Christ had the type of fortitude that men admire most:  a self-sacrificial mission-oriented grit that few men exhibit in their lives. Indeed, in his final days, Christ—in order to fulfil his mission of redemption against the forces of evil that control this Earth (John 12:31, 2 Corinthians 4:4)—allowed himself to be whipped, beaten, and hung on a cross. Now many people might consider such an outcome to be a sign of weakness. After all, Jesus did nothing to defend himself from his attackers and oppressors, and so his apparent submission to a painful death seems pathetic, not bold or strong. But this has the issue entirely backwards, for true strength and toughness is demonstrated via the endurance of pain and suffering to accomplish a mission, not necessarily through the specific way in which that mission is accomplished. Think, for example, of the platoon commander whose cowering platoon is pinned down by enemy fire and blocked from advancing due to a barbed wire barrier; in order to save his men and ensure that his mission is completed, the platoon commander charges the wire under heavy enemy fire and throws himself upon it, thereby allowing his platoon to break through and complete their mission. Is this platoon commander a coward? Is he weak? Is the soldier who throws himself on top of a grenade to save his friends and ensure their survival pathetic? Of course not! Was Arnold Winkelried gutless when, in 1386 at the Battle of Sempach, he sacrificially threw himself against a spear wall in order to make the critical opening for his Swiss comrades to break the Austrian lines and ultimately gain their freedom? Obviously not! And so, such men as those just mentioned are not weak, but rather, they have the biggest balls of all, for they willingly and freely take on the pain and suffering from countless foes in order to save their friends and ultimately accomplish their mission by doing so. And the same is true for Christ: he freely and willingly endured unbearable pain to ensure the completion of his mission, which was the salvation of mankind. In fact, when looked at from a theological perspective, Christ’s sacrifice can be seen as being even more awesome, for a plausible understanding of the crucifixion holds that Christ literally experienced and endured the punishment for all the sins of all mankind during his death, an experience which would create a level of pain that would be utterly unimaginable to us. And yet he took on that pain freely, a deed that few others—if any—would ever do!

And so, the long and short of it is this: while Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, was without a doubt kind and gentle with many individuals, he was also incredibly tough, and his fortitude showed itself in many different ways. Consequently, it always needs to be remembered that Christ was not a weak man, but was, in fact, one of the toughest—if not the toughest—SOBs to have ever lived. He was a man’s man, and we need to remember him as such.

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Anno Domini 2017 02 13

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

 

The Plausibility of the Suppression Hypothesis (Or, Why It is Reasonable to Believe that Culpable Unbelief is Just Rebellion Against God)

NOTE:  So this post contains the ‘big project’ that I was working on. In essence, it is the additional portion of the “Lack-of-Belief Atheism Has the First Burden of Proof” essay where I stated that there is evidence to render plausible the idea that unbelievers actually do believe in God’s existence but merely suppress that belief for moral and/or psychological reasons (or, in other words, the Suppression Hypothesis).

Now, this 12,000 word essay is not for the faint of heart–once I got started, I could not stop–but for anyone who is interested in the Suppression Hypothesis, I think that this essay marshals one of the best cases that the Suppression Hypothesis is a very plausible and reasonable to believe in.

So, here it is:

Additional Note on the ‘Suppression Hypothesis’: Evidence Supporting the Claim that it is Plausible to Contend that Atheists Might Actually Believe in God and yet Suppress that Belief.

In this essay, it was claimed that there are certain points which do indeed render plausible the idea that self-professed unbelievers with properly functioning cognitive faculties actually do believe in God’s existence but that they are suppressing that belief for moral and/or psychological reasons. Now, in speaking of this so-called ‘Suppression Hypothesis’, it must be clear that, as stated, only unbelievers who are neurologically typical are being addressed. After all, atheism may, in large part, be caused by cognitive faculties which are not functioning properly or typically; for example, there is evidence to suggest that atheism is linked to autism given that high-functioning autistic people are more likely to be unbelievers than believers (see “Religious Belief Systems of Persons with High Functioning Autism” by Catherine Caldwell-Harris, Caitlin Fox Murphy, Tessa Velazquez, and Patrick McNamara for details (http://csjarchive.cogsci.rpi.edu/proceedings/2011/papers/0782/paper0782.pdf) as well as “Mentalizing Deficits Constrain Belief in a Personal God” by Ara Norenzayan, Will M. Gervais, and Kali H. Trzesniewski (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0036880)). And so, for such individuals, the Suppression Hypothesis would not necessarily apply, although it still might. Nevertheless, when speaking of the Suppression Hypothesis in this work, such people, given their atypical cognitive faculties, are not taken to be suppressing the truth for moral and/or psychological reasons as is claimed to be the case with neurologically typical individuals.

At the same time, note that much of the evidence presented below is actually rather weak, and this is due in large part to the lack of detailed research that has been done into the causes of unbelief. Nevertheless, since the only goal of the points below is to show that the Suppression Hypothesis is plausible, non-ad-hoc, and that it has an ‘air-of-reality’ to it—a legal term meaning that the hypothesis is based on some type of evidentiary foundation—then the points below are more than sufficient to establish that claim, even though they are not sufficient to establish the Suppression Hypothesis outright.

Now, with all this said, let us look at the various points that support the hypothesis under consideration.

Point One: Mechanism and Motive

The first point to note about the Suppression Hypothesis concerns the general fact that the psychological mechanisms by which an unbeliever would go about suppressing belief in God are well-known. Consider, for example, the psychological defensive mechanisms of denial, repression, and suppression—defensive mechanisms for which a great deal of psychological research can be found. And Kendra Cherry—in a 3rd of October 2016 updated article titled “18 Common Defense Mechanisms Used for Anxiety”, which was written for the website ‘verywell.com’—provides a good lay-man’s summary of the aforementioned defensive mechanisms when she writes the following:

[QUOTE] Denial is probably one of the best-known defense mechanisms, used often to describe situations in which people seem unable to face reality or admit an obvious truth (i.e. “He’s in denial.”). Denial is an outright refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring. …Denial functions to protect the ego from things that the individual cannot cope with. While this may save us from anxiety or pain, denial also requires a substantial investment of energy. Because of this, other defenses are also used to keep these unacceptable feelings from consciousness. In many cases, there might be overwhelming evidence that something is true, yet the person will continue to deny its existence or truth because it is too uncomfortable to face.

Repression is another well-known defense mechanism. Repression acts to keep information out of conscious awareness. However, these memories don’t just disappear; they continue to influence our behavior. For example, a person who has repressed memories of abuse suffered as a child may later have difficulty forming relationships. Sometimes we do this consciously by forcing the unwanted information out of our awareness, which is known as suppression. In most cases, however, this removal of anxiety-provoking memories from our awareness is believed to occur unconsciously. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, https://www.verywell.com/defense-mechanisms-2795960%5D

So, such psychological defensive mechanisms as denial, repression, and suppression would clearly provide a means by which an unbeliever could suppress the truth about God overtly while ultimately knowing that God exists. And in light of some of the soon-to-be articulated findings which show that the behavioral reactions of unbelievers betray their verbal claims, it is very interesting to note that, as mentioned above, one trait of repression is that repressed memories still influence a person’s behavior whether they want them to or not.

Now, the above points provide us with some plausible psychological mechanisms by which an unbeliever could suppress belief in the divine, but there are also plausible motives that exist which could drive the use of these defensive mechanisms. For example—and as will be seen below—some atheists do not want God to exist; they desire that he does not exist. Thus, wish-fulfillment could serve as a plausible driver of God denial. Additionally, the desire to be morally free and without guilt could also drive a desire to deny the existence of a God who imposes moral rules on humanity. Also, anger or wrath at God—anger stemming from a variety of reasons, such as pride or viewing God as being responsible for a traumatic event, etc.—could motivate a sort of emotional atheism, where a person, for psychological reasons, eventually comes to deny God’s existence rather than maintaining the psychologically tiring stance of being constantly angry at God; in some ways, this is like a child who is angry at his father and who thus rebelliously walks around the house acting as if his father did not exist, but knowing all the while that he does. And so anger at God is another plausible motivator for suppression of belief in God. Next, fear of the supernatural and divine punishment could plausibly drive unbelievers to deny that such supernatural entities and divine punishment exist; indeed, if a supernatural realm of angels, demons, and gods exist, it would not be surprising if a small subset of the human population was simply too fearful to accept this reality and thus suppressed the truth of it in order to defend their psyches from a reality that they simply could not psychologically handle. In some ways, this would be like what psychologists and military personnel used to call “Hysterical Blindness”, where the horrors of war caused some men to become “blind” as a psychological defensive mechanism even though there was nothing physically wrong with their vision. So fear, wish-fulfillment, anger, and moral freedom could all be plausible motivators for individuals with properly functioning cognitive faculties to become unbelievers and suppress the truth about the divine. At the same time, narcissism is another potential psychological driver which could motivate an overt atheism with a suppressed theism underneath. Indeed, for a narcissist, the existence of a being infinitely more powerful, more intelligent, more skilled, and worthy of worship—with the narcissist being little more a babe compared to this being—would be a hard fact to bear, and thus it is quite plausible that the narcissist would suppress any knowledge that such a being exists in order to protect his narcissistic self-image from harm; furthermore, the narcissist would even have a secondary psychological bonus in embracing atheism given that the unbelieving narcissist could then believe himself more “rational” and “intelligent” than the vast majority of “religious rubes”, while also believing himself to be among the smartest beings in the known universe. Such an ego boost would no doubt be very attractive to such an individual. (In fact, as an interesting side-note, it would be fascinating to study whether the rise of atheism amongst younger people is linked and/or caused by the fact that today’s youth are significantly more narcissistic than past generations. For details, see Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell’s book The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in an Age of Entitlement, or, for a brief summary, note Twenge’s 8th of May 2009 article in Psychology Today titled “Is There an Epidemic of Narcissism Today? Meet the most narcissistic generation ever” (http://web.archive.org/web/20170202083243/https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-narcissism-epidemic/200905/is-there-epidemic-narcissism-today) as well as her 12th of August 2013 Psychology Today article titled “How Dare You Say Narcissism is Increasing? All of the evidence that’s fit to print” (http://web.archive.org/web/20160925192150/https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-narcissism-epidemic/201308/how-dare-you-say-narcissism-is-increasing)).

And so, as the first point, and as a primer for the points to come, it is important to note that not only do clear psychological mechanisms exist to account for how unbelievers could suppress the truth about God, but there are also plausible reasons for why unbelievers might do so.

Point Two – The Desire to Avoid God:

The second point—which is linked to the first—stems from the fact that certain unbelievers have admitted that they do indeed have a desire to deny the existence of God. For example, in a rather famous quote, unbeliever and philosopher Thomas Nagel, on pages 130 and 131 in his book The Last Word, stated the following:

[QUOTE] In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehood. I am talking about something much deeper — namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that… My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added]

Or consider this quote from Aldous Huxley, which comes from his book Ends and Means: An Inquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into the Methods Employed for Their Realization:

[QUOTE] For myself as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, https://archive.org/stream/endsandmeans035237mbp/endsandmeans035237mbp_djvu.txt%5D

And consider also this quote from Huxley from the same work:

[QUOTE] Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don’t know because we don’t want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence. Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because, for one reason or another, it suits their books that the world should be meaningless. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added]

Thus, the point here is to show that some unbelievers admit that they possess a desire to deny that God exists. They dislike the idea of God, and so might be motivated to deny His existence regardless of what the evidence shows. Note as well that in the first Huxley quote, Huxley admits that his reason for embracing a philosophy of meaninglessness—a philosophy which God’s existence would obviously interfere with—stems, in part, from Huxley’s desire to be sexually free, which is in large part the reason that Romans 1 states that unbelievers deny God. And so the congruity between that statement and Romans 1 is interesting.

Finally, consider atheist Luke Muehlhauser, author of the once quite popular ‘commonsenseatheism.com’ website. In a 31st of May 2009 blog post titled “Atheist Philosophers Don’t Want God to Exist”—which was accessed on the 5th of February 2017—Muehlhauser writes the following:

[QUOTE] Theists often claim that atheists reject God because they don’t want him to exist. Of course, this is no argument for God. And, however many atheists are biased by their hope that God doesn’t exist, there are far more believers who are biased by their hope that God does exist. But I think theists are right. There are many atheists who reject God because they don’t want him to exist. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added]

Muehlhauser then tries to support his above claim by drawing a parallel between this topic and the fact that many unbelievers argue for moral realism because they want moral realism to be true even though—in Muehlhauser’s view—the arguments for moral realism are as bad as those for theism. Thus, Muehlhauser concludes his post as follows:

[QUOTE] My point is that many atheists reject bad theistic arguments, but deploy similarly flawed arguments to defend their own brand of moral realism. I think this might be because they hope God doesn’t exist, but they also hope moral values do exist. It’s clear to most of us why we’d like moral values to exist. But why do atheists hope that God does not exist? Here are some possible reasons:

–        Religion is typically against moral and intellectual progress, since “the whole truth” was supposedly revealed many centuries ago.

–        The idea of a cosmic dictator who convicts you of thoughtcrime is distasteful.

–        Atheists want to be free to do what they like, without observing a long list of arbitrary commands from a big powerful guy in the sky.

–        If God exists, it seems he must be unfathomably malicious, considering all the pointless suffering he inflicts upon or allows in humans and other animals. [UNQUOTE, http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=995%5D

So here is an atheist who argues that, in his opinion, numerous unbelievers do not want God to exist; and Muehlhauser also admits that unbelievers could have the aforementioned motives as a cause of their desire for atheism to be true (and it is interesting to note that some of the motives which Muehlhauser mentions are very similar to the motives noted in Point One).

Point Three – Unbelievers Believe in God:

The third point to note comes from the interesting fact that a non-negligible chunk of self-described atheists and agnostics, when surveyed, admit to believing that God exists, a fact which would be in line with the hypothesis that atheists know that God exists and yet outwardly deny that that is the case.

So, in a 24th of June 2008 New York Times article by Neela Banerjee titled “Survey Shows US Religious Tolerance”—which was accessed on the 31st of January 2017—Banerjee summarized the results from the ‘US Religious Landscape Survey’ by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and found that “…70 percent of the unaffiliated said they believed in God, including one of every five people [21%] who identified themselves as atheist and more than half of those who identified as agnostic.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/24/us/24religion.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin). And when broken down, the data for that report, taken in 2007, showed that 8% of atheists and 17% of agnostics said they were absolutely certain that God or a Universal Spirits existed, 7% of atheists and 23% of agnostics were fairly certain that such a being existed, and 6% of atheists and 15% of agnostics were not at all or not too certain that God or a Universal Spirit existed (see the chart “Declining Share of Americans Express Absolutely Certain Belief in God” in the “Belief in God” section of chapter one of the November 3, 2015 Pew Research Center report titled US Public Becoming Less Religious, which was accessed on the 3rd of February 2017 (http://www.pewforum.org/2015/11/03/chapter-1-importance-of-religion-and-religious-beliefs/))

But these interesting results do not end there, for in a 9th of October 2012 Pew Research Center document titled “‘Nones’ on the Rise / Religion and the Unaffiliated”, and in the section titled “Belief in God”—which was accessed on the 31st of January 2017— it was found that:

[QUOTE] … religiously unaffiliated are less likely than the general public as a whole to believe in God. However, there are stark differences in this regard between the unaffiliated who identify themselves as atheist or agnostic and those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.” Among the “nothing in particulars,” about eight-in-ten (81%) say they believe in God or a universal spirit – and a plurality of those who believe in God say they are “absolutely certain” about this belief. In addition, about four-in-ten atheists and agnostics (including 14% of atheists and 56% of agnostics) say they believe in God or a universal spirit. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added]

And when the results were broken down, of the 38% of atheists and agnostics who had a belief in God or a Universal Spirit, 9% were absolutely certain that God or a Universal Spirit exists, 15% were fairly certain of it, and 14% were not too certain or not at all certain that God or a Universal Spirit exists (http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise-religion/).

And finally, a 2015 Pew Research Center report showed that 8% of atheists and 45% of agnostics had some type of belief that God or a Universal Spirit existed. And when broken down, the data for that report, taken in 2014, showed that 2% of atheists and 7% of agnostics said they were absolutely certain that God or a Universal Spirits existed, 3% of atheists and 20% of agnostics were fairly certain that God or a Universal Spirit existed, and 2% of atheists and 18% of agnostics were not at all or not too certain that God or a Universal Spirit existed (see the chart “Declining Share of Americas Express Absolutely Certain Belief in God” in the “Belief in God” section of chapter one of the November 3, 2015 Pew Research Center report titled US Public Becoming Less Religious, which was accessed on the 3rd of February 2017 (http://www.pewforum.org/2015/11/03/chapter-1-importance-of-religion-and-religious-beliefs/))

Now, although there could be other factors that cause such unbelievers to claim that they actually believe in God and/or a Universal Spirit, and although further research would need to be done into this matter, the fact remains that a good portion of self-described unbelievers actually do admit to believing in God and/or a Universal Spirit. And the fact that these results repeat over the years also shows that this is not merely a one-time anomaly. Thus, these results are both consistent with and even supportive of the hypothesis that unbelievers actually do believe in God even though they normally would not admit that this is the case.

Point Four – Discrepancies Between Words and Behaviors:

The fourth interesting point to note is that when discussing the issue of God, the bodily reaction of unbelievers seems not to match what they are verbally saying. Indeed, in a report titled “Atheists Become Emotionally Aroused When Daring God to Do Terrible Things”, the researchers summarized their results as follows:

[QUOTE] We examined whether atheists exhibit evidence of emotional arousal when they dare God to cause harm to themselves and their intimates. In Study 1, the participants (16 atheists, 13 religious individuals) read aloud 36 statements of three different types: God, offensive, and neutral. In Study 2 (N = 19 atheists), 10 new stimulus statements were included in which atheists wished for negative events to occur. The atheists did not think the God statements were as unpleasant as the religious participants did in their verbal reports. However, the skin conductance level showed that asking God to do awful things was equally stressful to atheists as it was to religious people and that atheists were more affected by God statements than by wish or offensive statements. The results imply that atheists’ attitudes toward God are ambivalent in that their explicit beliefs conflict with their affective response. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, see “Atheists Become Emotionally Aroused When Daring God to Do Terrible Things” by Marjaana Lindeman, Bethany Heywood, Tapani Riekki, and Tommi Makkonen, in The International Journal For The Psychology Of Religion Vol. 24 , Iss. 2, 2014, and which was accessed on the 2nd of February 2017, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10508619.2013.771991 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marjaana_Lindeman/publication/271670348_Atheists_Become_Emotionally_Aroused_When_Daring_God_to_Do_Terrible_Things/links/54d5bf100cf2970e4e6576b8/Atheists-Become-Emotionally-Aroused-When-Daring-God-to-Do-Terrible-Things.pdf?origin=publication_detail%5D

Now, although such experiments always need to be taken with a grain of salt, and though such a result is not clear evidence of the hypothesis that unbelievers actually do believe in God but suppress that belief—and indeed, the researchers mention that such a conclusion cannot be established on the basis of their experiment—the results are nevertheless suggestive of this hypothesis and so it is a very interesting result in light of the Suppression Hypothesis; and this is especially the case when it is remembered that repressed memories may still manifest themselves in a person’s behavioral response to a certain situation, which could be what is occurring in the above situation with the atheists from this study.

Point Five – God Stresses Unbelievers:

Just like the study above, another study noted that thinking about God relieved stress for believers but caused stress for unbelievers. Indeed, in a 5th of August 2010 article titled “Thinking About God Calms Believers, Stresses Atheists”, on the ‘livescience.com’ website—and which was accessed on the 3rd of February 2017—article author Rick Nauert states the following:

[QUOTE] Researchers have determined that thinking about God can help relieve anxiety associated with making mistakes. However, the finding only holds for people who believe in a God.

The researchers measured brain waves for a particular kind of distress response while participants made mistakes on a test.

The results showed that when people were primed to think about religion and God, either consciously or unconsciously, brain activity decreases in areas consistent with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). The ACC is associated with a number of things, including regulating bodily states of arousal and alerting us when things are going wrong.

Interestingly, atheists reacted differently. When they were unconsciously primed with God-related ideas, their ACC increased its activity. The researchers suggest that for religious people, thinking about God may provide a way of ordering the world and explaining apparently random events and thus reduce their feelings of distress.

In contrast, for atheists, thoughts of God may contradict the meaning systems they embrace and thus cause them more distress.

Atheists shouldn’t despair, though. “We think this can occur with any meaning system that provides structure and helps people understand their world.” Maybe atheists would do better if they were primed to think about their own beliefs, he says. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, http://www.livescience.com/8434-thinking-god-calms-believers-stresses-atheists.html%5D

Now, this study does not seem to provide much support for the Suppression Hypothesis, and the researchers even admit that there could be relatively benign reasons that account for their result among their atheist sample. However, when these results are considered in light of a parallel situation, the importance of the above result becomes a bit more apparent. And what this parallel situation is, is the following: note that I do not, for example, believe in Santa Claus or Allah, and so I have no stress—at least none that I experience—when I am told that Santa Claus knows that I have been bad and that I will receive no presents from him for Christmas. And the same lack of stress exists when I am told that Allah will punish me for not being a Muslim. Thus, in these circumstances, I experience no stress. Atheists, however, do experience distress at the thought of God; and yet, since it is so often said that for atheists, God is no more real than Santa Claus, then one would expect atheists not to experience any distress at the idea of God. So it is interesting that they do indeed experience such distress. Now, in fairness, even this analogical argument suffers from its own weaknesses, but the fact remains that the idea that atheists suffer distress at the thought of God is not only a finding which deserves further research, but it is also a finding that it quite consistent and even expected by the Suppression Hypothesis.

Point Six – God Angers Unbelievers:

Another fascinating study which is relevant to the Suppression Hypothesis deals with the anger that certain unbelievers feel towards God. Indeed, in an essay titled “Anger Toward God: A New Frontier in Forgiveness Research”—an essay which forms chapter six of the 2005 Routledge book Handbook of Forgiveness, edited by Everett L. Worthington, Jr.— authors Julie Juola Exline and Alyce Martin note the following:

[QUOTE] We are particularly interested in the issue of whether anger toward God might lead to decreased belief in God’s existence. Our interest was piqued by an early study of anger toward God among undergraduates (Exline et al., 1999), which revealed a counterintuitive finding: Those who reported no belief in God reported more grudges toward God than believers. At first glance, this finding seemed to reflect an error. How could people be angry with God if they did not believe in God? Reanalysis of a second dataset (Exline, Fisher, Rose, & Kampani, 2004; Kampani & Exline, 2002) revealed similar patterns: Those who endorsed their religious beliefs as “atheist/agnostic” or “none/unsure” reported more anger toward God than those who reported a religious affiliation. Further analyses identified a group of conflicted believers (or slipping believers), all of whom had previously believed that God exists (or might exist) but no longer believed at the time of the study. When compared with believers, these individuals reported more anger toward God. These findings raised the question of whether anger might actually affect belief in God’s existence, an idea in line with Novotni and Petersen’s (2001) clinical descriptions of emotional atheism.

Studies of traumatic events suggest a possible link between suffering, anger toward God, and doubts about God’s existence. … Our survey research with undergraduates has focused directly on the association between anger at God and self-reported drops in belief (Exline et al., 2004). In the wake of a negative life event, anger towards God predicted decreased belief in God’s existence. Furthermore, when we looked only at those who showed some drop in belief, belief was least likely to recover for those who reported that they were angry toward God and had chosen to turn away from God. In addition, an open-ended question revealed that 9% of those who had resolved negative feelings stated that they had done so be deciding not to believe in God (Exline, 2002a). Because these data were based on retrospective reports rather than longitudinal analysis, they should be interpreted with caution. Yet they raise the possibility that anger towards God—and subsequent decisions to withdraw—may lead to reduced belief in God’s existence. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added]

So, from this research, not only does it appear that anger is a motivator for atheism, but certain unbelievers admitted that they resolved their anger at God by deciding not to believe in God, a fact which is consistent with the Suppression Hypothesis and would be expected by it. It is also interesting that those people who were angry at God were the least likely to recover their belief in God in the future.

Now, in addition to the above, the researchers, in the same essay, also noted a fascinating point about the link between anger at God and a sense of narcissistic entitlement, the later of which was another possible motivator that was considered for the Suppression Hypothesis. Here is the relevant quote:

[QUOTE] Anger toward God may be especially characteristic of a specific group of individuals: those with an inflated, narcissistic sense of entitlement. High-entitlement persons believe that they merit special treatment, and they are highly invested in collecting on the debts they believe others owe them (e.g. Campbell, Bonacci, Shelton, Exline & Bushman, 2004; Emmons, 1987). Because of its link with narcissism, entitlement also implies a desire to “save face” and a reluctance to compromise personal pride. … In a recent study focused on anger toward God, entitlement predicted greater negative emotion toward God and more negative attributions about God’s intentions; it decreased belief in God when negative emotions did occur (Exline & Bushman, 2004). High-entitlement individuals were especially sensitive to the issue of being repaid. If they believe that God had repaid them (even partially) for their suffering, they tended to report a positive impact of the event on their bond with God. If they did not feel repaid, they tended to report a negative impact. Being repaid was less crucial for those scoring lower on entitlement. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added]

So not only does anger appear to motivate unbelief in certain individuals, but it is also made worse by a feeling of entitlement. And as was noted in Point One, a feeling of entitlement is on the rise with the modern generation, thus showing a possible reason for the rise of atheism in our present age in the West.

Finally, note that the researchers’ findings were also supported by more recent research that they did. For example, Dr. Sanjay Gupta—in a 1st of January 2011 ‘CNN.com’ article titled “Anger at God common, even among atheists”—reports on Exline’s new findings in the field of anger and atheism. Gupta writes:

[QUOTE] …people get angry at God all the time, especially about everyday disappointments, finds a new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It’s not just religious folks, either. People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image – that is, what they imagined God might be like – said lead study author Julie Exline, Case Western Reserve University psychologist. In studies on college students, atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers. A separate study also found this pattern among bereaved individuals.And younger people tend to be angrier at God than older people, Exline said. She says some of the reasons she’s seen people the angriest at God include rejection from preferred colleges and sports injuries preventing high schoolers from competing. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/01/anger-at-god-common-even-among-atheists/%5D

So it truly is fascinating to note that unbelievers are more angry at God than believers are, thus showing that anger—and especially anger coupled with narcissism—may indeed be a powerful motivator for something like ‘emotional atheism’ and the Suppression Hypothesis.

Point Seven – Death and the Unconscious Move Towards Religion:

Yet another study needs to be looked at, this one dealing with unbelievers’ subconscious reaction to thinking about religion and death. Indeed, in a 2nd of April 2012 article titled “Death anxiety increases atheists’ unconscious belief in God”, which was accessed on the 3rd of February 2017, the website ‘Science Daily’ reports the following:

[QUOTE]  New University of Otago research suggests that when non-religious people think about their own death they become more consciously skeptical about religion, but unconsciously grow more receptive to religious belief.

In three studies, which involved 265 university students in total, religious and nonreligious participants were randomly assigned to “death priming” and control groups. Priming involved asking participants to write about their own death or, in the control condition, about watching TV. In the first study, researchers found that death-primed religious participants consciously reported greater belief in religious entities than similar participants who had not been death-primed. Non-religious participants who had been primed showed the opposite effect: they reported greater disbelief than their fellow non-religious participants in the control condition. Study co-author Associate Professor Jamin Halberstadt says these results fit with the theory that fear of death prompts people to defend their own worldview, regardless of whether it is a religious or non-religious one. “However, when we studied people’s unconscious beliefs in the two later experiments, a different picture emerged. While death-priming made religious participants more certain about the reality of religious entities, non-religious participants showed less confidence in their disbelief,” Associate Professor Halberstadt says. The techniques used to study unconscious beliefs include measuring the speed with which participants can affirm or deny the existence of God and other religious entities. After being primed by thoughts of death, religious participants were faster to press a button to affirm God’s existence, but non-religious participants were slower to press a button denying God’s existence. “These findings may help solve part of the puzzle of why religion is such a persistent and pervasive feature of society. Fear of death is a near-universal human experience and religious beliefs are suspected to play an important psychological role in warding off this anxiety. As we now show, these beliefs operate at both a conscious and unconscious level, allowing even avowed atheists to unconsciously take advantage of them.” [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402094322.htm%5D

Now, on the one hand, this study is obviously compatible with the often-heard idea that religious belief is borne out of a fear of death and that religious belief is thus a form of coping mechanism to deal with the anxiety caused by death. But, on the other hand, these findings are also supportive of the hypothesis that unbelievers suppress the religious beliefs that they actually do possess by overtly denying them and yet subconsciously being open to them; a sort of overt and vehement denial coupled with a behavioral response which betrays what they are saying they believe, just as was the case in the earlier studies where unbelievers had unconscious behavioral reactions which appeared to be at odds with their verbal statements. In fact, this study is consistent with both the aforementioned hypotheses being true at the same time, for it is possible that religious belief is motivated by a fear of death and that the Suppression Hypothesis is also true. Either way, the critical point here is that, once again, when it comes to the issue of God, there appears to be a disconnect between what the unbelievers are saying, and how their body is responding, which is the very result that would be expected if unbelievers were using the defensive mechanisms of denial and suppression in order to continually suppress a belief in God that they actually do have deep within their being.

Point Eight – Atheists Do Not Exist:

Another point to note in reference to the Suppression Hypothesis concerns the rather bold claim that atheists might not even exist. Seriously! For in the 7th of July 2014 article “Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke”,  which was accessed on the 3rd of February 2017, and which was on the ‘Science 2.0’ website, article author Nury Vittachi writes the following:

[QUOTE]  While militant atheists like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn’t exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist. Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged. While this idea may seem outlandish—after all, it seems easy to decide not to believe in God—evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone. This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. “A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith,” writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people “are only aware of some of their religious ideas”.

“From childhood, people form enduring, stable and important relationships with fictional characters, imaginary friends, deceased relatives, unseen heroes and fantasized mates,” says Boyer of Washington University, himself an atheist. This feeling of having an awareness of another consciousness might simply be the way our natural operating system works. These findings may go a long way to explaining a series of puzzles in recent social science studies. In the United States, 38% of people who identified themselves as atheist or agnostic went on to claim to believe in a God or a Higher Power (Pew Forum, “Religion and the Unaffiliated”, 2012). While the UK is often defined as an irreligious place, a recent survey by Theos, a think tank, found that very few people—only 13 per cent of adults—agreed with the statement “humans are purely material beings with no spiritual element”. For the vast majority of us, unseen realities are very present. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, http://www.science20.com/writer_on_the_edge/blog/scientists_discover_that_atheists_might_not_exist_and_thats_not_a_joke-139982%5D

And supporting the idea that human beings are hard-wired for religious belief, the writings of psychologist Justin Barrett can also be considered. Indeed, Barrett, in such works as Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief and Why Would Anyone Believe in God? forcefully argues that children enter the world with a powerful and preinstalled propensity for religious and supernatural-types beliefs, including belief in deities, all of which are based on a child’s cognitive make-up. Thus, children, and by extension human beings in general, are, in some way, naturally wired to lean towards belief in deities and supernatural entities as they develop. Consequently, these points again help to support the idea that religious and even theistic belief is natural, hard to eradicate, and even sub-conscious.

So, the idea that atheism is “impossible” due to the normal cognitive make-up of a human being helps to support the idea that if a neurologically-typical individual does not believe in God, then this disbelieve will be, in an important sense, false, and will be more of a suppression of his natural and ‘impossible-to-eradicate’ theistic belief than outright and complete disbelieve. Now, such a result may not hold for people who have malfunctioning or non-typical cognitive faculties—such as those unbelievers with high-functioning autism—but it would do so for the neurologically typical. And so, such results once again provide some support for the truth of the Suppression Hypothesis.

Point Nine – OK with Deism, Not OK with Theism:

Throughout this author’s experience debating with a great number of unbelievers, one of the most striking things that has been noted is that many unbelievers do not have a personal or emotional problem with deism—the view that a God-like being exists but does not interact with the universe or with humanity—whereas such unbelievers do indeed have a major problem with theism. And, in the context of the Suppression Hypothesis, the reason that this fact is so interesting is because the main difference between a deistic God and a theistic one is that the theistic God is concerned with human affairs and moral behaviors, whereas the deistic God is not. And if, as the Suppression Hypothesis claims, unbelievers suppress their knowledge of God due, at least in part, for moral reasons—such as for moral liberation—then it would be expected that unbelievers would have a great deal of problems with a theistic God, but be quite comfortable with the existence of a deistic one. And, as stated, that is what this author has often found. But don’t just take my word for it, consider Richard Dawkins. Dawkins, in chapter two of his book The God Delusion, in the section on “Monotheism”, writes the following:

[QUOTE] Compared with the Old Testament’s psychotic delinquent, the deist God of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment is an altogether grander being: worthy of his cosmic creation, loftily unconcerned with human affairs, sublimely aloof from our private thoughts and hopes, caring nothing for our messy sins or mumbled contritions. The deist God is a physicist to end all physics, the alpha and omega of mathematicians, the apotheosis of designers; a hyper-engineer who set up the laws and constants of the universe, fine-tuned them with exquisite precision and foreknowledge, detonated what we would now call the hot big bang, retired and was never heard from again. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added]

One almost gets the impression that Dawkins is excited about this deistic God, whereas he definitely hates the theistic one! But, more importantly, when it comes to deism, note what Dawkins focuses on: namely, the fact that, unlike a theistic God, this particular deistic God leaves humans, and their sins, alone.

But Dawkins is not the only one who holds such a view. For example, the author of the ‘Atheism and the City’ website, in a 19th of October 2013 blog post titled “A Few Thoughts on Deism”—which was access on the 2nd of February 2017—writes the following:

[QUOTE] I’ve been reading up on deism recently over on the site deism.com. … One can certainly be an intelligent, rational thinker and be a deist. In fact, I think of all the people who believe in god, deists are the most rational. The furthest I could ever be pushed towards the direction of theism, is deism. Given what I know, I don’t think I could ever be a theist. But it is possible that I could be a deist. It’s also possible that I could live comfortably as an atheist in a world filled with deists. I wouldn’t even have a big problem myself with the idea of deism being true. A deistic god is a god who let’s you grow and learn on your own. It doesn’t command you or forbid you to do anything. It’s not concerned with micromanaging every aspect of your life. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, http://www.atheismandthecity.com/2013/10/a-few-thoughts-on-deism.html%5D

Again, notice that the atheist author admits that he would not have a problem with deism if it were true, and the reason for that is because, as the author says, a deistic God does not command or forbid anything. And just to point out the difference in this author’s attitude between deism and a more robust religious view, in a 13th of October 2015 post titled “An Atheist Reviews The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism (Chapter 3 Getting Medieval)”, the author, in the first paragraph of his post, admits that there’s “…something about serious Catholics that I really don’t lie” and that he has “…always hated Catholicism” (http://www.atheismandthecity.com/2015/10/an-atheist-reviews-last-superstition.html). So the difference in attitude between his views concerning a robust religious view—one with moral obligations—and deism is striking (although it must also be noted that the author might have a specific hatred towards Catholicism that he does not possess for other robust religions).

And so, in the end, it is both an interesting and a telling point that certain unbelievers are quite fine with deism, but have serious problems with theism, for again, such a result would be quite expected if unbelievers were suppressing the truth of God’s existence in unrighteousness.

Point Ten – Unbelievers are Politically Liberal:

Connected to the idea that morality—or rather freedom from morality—is a main motivator for unbelief, it is also interesting to note the strong correlation between atheism and political viewpoints which could be classified as socially, and hence morally, liberal. For example, as was reported in Point 3 of the Pew Research Center’s June 1st, 2016 web-article “10 Facts About Atheists”—which was accessed on the 1st of August 2016—only one-in-ten of self-identified US atheists count themselves as conservative while about two-thirds of atheists identify as Democrats or lean in that direction; and a majority of atheists, at 56%, call themselves political liberals. Additionally, the same web-article notes that 92% of atheists favor same-sex marriage and 87% support legal abortion (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/01/10-facts-about-atheists/). And even atheists themselves, such as Austin Cline in his ‘atheism.about.com’ article “Atheists & Agnostics in America Tend to be Politically Liberal”, accessed on the 1st of August 2016, admit that there is good statistical evidence that atheists and agnostics have strong liberal tendencies (http://atheism.about.com/od/Atheist-Agnostic-Belief-Survey/a/Atheists-Agnostics-America-Politically-Liberal.htm). In fact, Cline, in the same article, notes that a 2005 Harris Interactive poll of US adults showed that atheists and agnostics routinely held much more permissive attitudes about social issues when compared to the general population, let alone when compared to religious conservatives. For example, at the time of the poll, 90% of atheists and agnostics said they supported abortion rights while only 63% of the general population did; and while 63% of the general population supported abstinence from sex before marriage, only 31% of atheists and agnostics did.

So even in politics there seems to be a solid correlation between atheism and certain positive beliefs which are generally opposed to traditional morality. Now, while it is difficult to know if the liberal morality came first, and then the atheism, or if the atheism led to a more liberal morality, it is nevertheless telling that what would be considered traditional moral positions are rejected by so many atheists, even though atheism—as many atheists themselves claim—is allegedly nothing more than just a lack-of-belief about God. Indeed, it is interesting that the traditional moral viewpoint is rejected by such a wide margin of atheists, even though there is technically nothing that would necessitate that this be the case given that atheism is allegedly nothing more than a lack-of-belief about God’s existence (unless, of course, atheism is, in practice, much more than just a lack-of-belief). And yet, such a rejection of traditional morality would be fully expected if atheists, as per the Suppression Hypothesis, were rejecting belief in God and religion for moral reasons rather than evidentiary ones; by contrast, if atheists were, on average, more morally traditional than conservative religious believers, then this would be entirely shocking and unexpected given the Suppression Hypothesis. And so, while further study could be pursued to determine whether atheism leads to moral liberalism or vis versa (or neither), the fact that atheists are so liberal in their social and moral positions is something that is not at all surprising given the hypothesis that atheists reject God for moral reasons.

And a final point that is particularly interesting is to note is that homosexual, bisexual, and transgender individuals are much more likely to identify as atheists than the populace at large. Indeed, in Chapter 6 of the 13th of June 2013 Pew Research Center report titled “A Survey of LGBT Americans”—which was accessed on the 8th of February 2017—the report’s author notes that 48% of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender Americans describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or having no religious affiliation, compared to only 20% of the general population; indeed, 17% of this demographic count themselves as atheist or agnostics compared to only 6% of the general population (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2013/06/SDT_LGBT-Americans_06-2013.pdf). At the same time, the report also notes that homosexual, bisexual, and transgender individuals who do have a religious affiliation generally attend worship services less frequently and attach less important to religion in their lives when compared to those in the general public who are religiously affiliated. Now, many homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgenders say they feel unwelcome in religious communities, and that could account for the high rate of unbelief amongst this demographic when compared to the general population. However, it is also fascinating to note that the Suppression Hypothesis appears to specifically mention engaging in homosexual acts as being one of the main indicators and/or driving factors for the suppression of belief in God (Romans 1:24-28). And since there is no necessary connection between being a homosexual, bisexual, or transgender and a lack of belief in God, then, in the context of the Suppression Hypothesis, it is very interesting that individuals who fit into this demographic are substantially less religious than the general population. At the very least, further study in this area is warranted.

Point Eleven – Unbelievers in Their Own Words:

Another interesting point in support of the Suppression Hypothesis is that some unbelievers themselves admit critical aspects of that hypothesis. For example, unbeliever Dianna Narciso, in her essay “The Honesty of Atheism”, which is found in the 2007 book Everything You Know About God is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion (edited by Russ Kirk), writes the following:

[QUOTE] In a 2003 Harris Poll, four percent of those calling themselves atheist/agnostic claimed to be absolutely certain there is a god. I have conversed with a few former “Christians in rebellion.” They claimed they knew all along that God existed, but they were either angry with him or just didn’t want to live by his rules, so refused to worship him. They called this “atheism” once they returned to the flock. (This attitude would explain why so many people claim atheists know God exists and are only angry at him or want to lead licentious lives, as people often project their own failings onto others.) Whether or not that unexpected four percent in the Harris poll was due to rebellious believers, functionally neurotic atheists, people using a strange definition of agnosticism, or people accidentally giving the wrong answer, we’ll never know. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added]

Now the above evidence that “atheists” knew that God existed is admittedly weak given the number of problems with it, such as that it is hearsay, likely comes from a small self-selected sample, and so on. Nevertheless, the fact is that Narciso—who has no known motive to lie in this case—has indeed had personal experience with certain individuals who had claimed to be atheists while still internally believing in God; this, therefore, is still some evidence in support of Suppression Hypothesis. And even if, as Narciso says, these were just “Christians in rebellion”, the point is that they were individuals who overtly identified themselves as atheists but who still knew that God existed, which is precisely what the Suppression Hypothesis claims occurs with people who have properly functioning cognitive faculties.

But such self-admittances do not end there, for there are other unbelievers who admit to parts of the Suppression Hypothesis, such as that they reject belief in God due to moral reasons. For example, in response to a 9th of October 2015 blog post by Edward Feser titled “Walter Mitty atheism” on the ‘edwardfeser.blogspot.com’ website, commentator Eric MacDonald—a former New Atheist and former Anglican priest—made the following comment at 5:21 pm on the 10th of October 2015:

[QUOTE] Professor Feser (or Ed, if I may?) Thank you so much for your warm welcome. As you say, there are still points of disagreement between us, but one thing that we do not disagree about is the sloppiness of the New Atheism, a sloppiness that I once illustrated in some of my own dismissive language about religion. (I have in fact taken down all my posts, except a few that were published within the last year or so. I have saved them as an archive, and reading them I often find myself very ashamed of my haste to judgement on occasion, and my simple lack of judgement in others!) Of course, I never accepted the scientistic approach to epistemological issues, and that was undoubtedly the breaking point for me, the fact that the New Atheists are so hopeless at doing philosophy, even though they put on airs of such authority when they try. My atheism (which is modulating quite quickly into something else) was a response of anger towards what I still think of as the rather unyielding absolutism of much Christian morality. This is where our differences would become significantly more strained, though I hope that we could discuss them (should the occasion arise) in a spirit of charity and reason. But it is very nice to be welcomed so warmly to your pages! Peace, Eric [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/10/walter-mitty-atheism.html?showComment=1444522901815#c8363022695571021002%5D

So here we see an individual’s atheism being motivated by anger towards the Christian moral code, which is something that the Suppression Hypothesis would predict. And similar to this last comment, note that in the comments section of the ‘dangerousidea.blogspot.com’ website, in response to a 10th of September 2015 blog post titled “10 Questions for Materialist Atheists”, commentator John Moore wrote the following in a comment (the first one) that he made on the 10th of September 2015 at 7:07 pm:

[QUOTE] I don’t have any logically persuasive argument about God’s existence or non-existence. I refuse to believe in God as a kind of rebellion against religious authority. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=10584495&postID=7969756093933420205&bpli=1%5D

So here is the Suppression Hypothesis clearly articulated: a refusal to believe in God due to a rebellion against the very religious authority that ultimately traces back to God.

But again, there is more. For example, in Chapter 5 of the 2013 Ignatius Press edition of his book Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, author and psychologist Paul C. Vitz—who, in his book, has his own theory about atheism being linked to having a defective father and having poor parental attachment—recounts how his own former atheism was largely caused by 1) the social pressure to fit in to with the secular academic psychologist community, and 2) a personal infatuation with being an autonomous self, and 3) a desire to have personal convenience and not have to engage in the hard task of being a serious believer. And on his ‘Mail Online’ blog, in a 27th of July 2015 post titled “Groan. An Atheist writes…”—accessed on the 8th of February 2017—former atheist Peter Hitchens admits that hedonism and a desire to behave any way that he wanted was one of his motives for embracing atheism (http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2015/07/groan-an-atheist-writes.html).

Finally, note that in a 6th of June 2013 article for The Atlantic titled “Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity”—accessed on the 9th of February 2017—the article’s author Larry Alex Taunton reports on the results of a study he helped to conduct where a nationwide campaign was launched to interview college students from atheist groups in order to allow them to freely and without judgement tell the interviewers of their journey to unbelief. And the findings were very interesting. In particular, consider the following:

[QUOTE] With few exceptions, students would begin by telling us that they had become atheists for exclusively rational reasons. But as we listened it became clear that, for most, this was a deeply emotional transition as well. This phenomenon was most powerfully exhibited in Meredith. She explained in detail how her study of anthropology had led her to atheism. When the conversation turned to her family, however, she spoke of an emotionally abusive father:

“It was when he died that I became an atheist,” she said.

I could see no obvious connection between her father’s death and her unbelief. Was it because she loved her abusive father — abused children often do love their parents — and she was angry with God for his death? “No,” Meredith explained. “I was terrified by the thought that he could still be alive somewhere.”

Rebecca, now a student at Clark University in Boston, bore similar childhood scars. When the state intervened and removed her from her home (her mother had attempted suicide), Rebecca prayed that God would let her return to her family. “He didn’t answer,” she said. “So I figured he must not be real.” After a moment’s reflection, she appended her remarks: “Either that, or maybe he is [real] and he’s just trying to teach me something.” [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/listening-to-young-atheists-lessons-for-a-stronger-christianity/276584/?single_page=true%5D

And these particular answers are especially fascinating in light of the point made earlier that psychologist Paul C. Vitz argues that atheism grows out of problems with a defective father and issues of parental attachment and caring. Either way though, the point is that very often, when you dig deeply enough, it is possible to find individuals who admit that they either knew that God existed even as they called themselves atheists, or, at the very least, they admit that issues of morality and personal freedom were critical motivators for their unbelief. And all of this is consistent with, and points to, the Suppression Hypothesis.

Point Twelve – The Age of Conversion:

Given that the Suppression Hypothesis claims that unbelievers with properly functioning cognitive faculties reject belief in God primarily for moral and/or psychological reasons—in essence, they rebel against God and His commands—it is thus also relevant to note that the testimonial evidence from numerous unbelievers suggests that they became unbelievers in their teenage years. For example, in the previously mentioned 6th of June 2013 article for The Atlantic titled “Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity”, the article’s author Larry Alex Taunton also notes the following:

[QUOTE] One participant told us that she considered herself to be an atheist by the age of eight while another said that it was during his sophomore year of college that he de-converted, but these were the outliers. For most, the high school years were the time when they embraced unbelief. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/listening-to-young-atheists-lessons-for-a-stronger-christianity/276584/?single_page=true%5D

Next, note that atheist Jerry Coyne, author of the popular blog ‘Why Evolution is True’, became an atheist at the age of seventeen while listening to a Beatles album and having a brief “experience” that can almost be described as mystical (see page 2 of the Chicago Tribune’s 20th of January 2008 article titled “The New Theology” by Jeremy Manier (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-01-20/features/0801120310_1_atheists-till-evolution/2)). And in the same article, it notes that Richard Dawkins became an atheist at the age of fifteen. And speaking of Dawkins, in a Telegraph article written on the 9th of August 2013 dealing with Dawkins, and titled “Come in, Agent Dawkins, your job is done”, the article’s author Matthew Norman admits that he became a devout atheist at the age of nine (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10233530/Come-in-Agent-Dawkins-your-job-is-done.html). Additionally, note that Christopher Hitchens, in an interview with ‘CBC.ca’, admitted that his move towards resisting religion began around the age of nine and also that he was more of an anti-theist than an atheist, which meant that Hitchens did not just not believe in God, but that he was relieved that there was no evidence for God (see the ‘cbc.ca’ article, written by Andre Mayer on the 14th of May 2007, titled “Nothing sacred: Journalist and provocateur Christopher Hitchens picks a fight with God” (https://web.archive.org/web/20070516100646/http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/nothing_sacred.html)). And many more such teenage ‘de-conversion’ stories could be found. Furthermore, in addition to embracing unbelief in the teenage years, there are also numerous stories of former believers embracing unbelief within the first few years of college or university.

So what is the point of noting that many unbelievers seem to become unbelievers in their younger years? Well, first, it is meant to point out the obvious: namely, that a child of nine years old, or even a first-year college student, is not exactly well-versed in all the arguments for and against the existence of God, and so while an embrace of atheism that occurs in the teenage years is not necessarily irrational, it is without a doubt not wholly rational either given the person’s full lack of knowledge concerning the very issue under consideration. Furthermore, individuals in their mentally formative years are only beginning to form the ability to reason abstractly and to think inferentially, so their ability, at that age, to properly process all the rational arguments for and against something like the existence of God is merely in its infancy. But this point is obvious to anyone who has been around children and teens.

The more important reason for pointing out that a great deal of atheism seems to come about in a person’s younger years stems from the fact that that is the time when a person is most likely to rebel against authority. For example, in a Psychology Today article posted on the 6th of December 2009 titled “Rebel with a Cause: Rebellion in Adolescence”, the article’s author Carl E. Pickhardt, Ph.D. points out that there are two types of rebellion: rebellion against socially fitting in and rebellion against adult authority, with the young person asserting their individuality and independence from the norms of authority; Pickhardt also notes that this rebelliousness can last, in different forms, from the age of nine to the age of twenty-three (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/200912/rebel-cause-rebellion-in-adolescence). And yet since the Suppression Hypothesis argues that unbelief is, at least in part, a sort of rebelliousness against the commands and edicts of God, then the correlation between the age at which many people become unbelievers and the fact that these ages are the main ages of rebelliousness is a telling fact that it is not at all surprising given the Suppression Hypothesis.

Also note another interesting correlation the appears to support the Suppression Hypothesis: namely, the correlation between an emotional-and-less-than-rational-brain and the age during which many individuals embrace unbelief. Indeed, on the ‘BBC.co.uk’ site, in the ‘Science: Human Body and Mind’ Section, a 17th of September 2014 article titled “Teenage emotions: Teenage rebellion” notes the following:

[QUOTE] There is one other reason why teenagers might rebel. Scientists have used advanced scanning methods to study the changes that occur in the adolescent brain. Much to their surprise, they have discovered that the brain continues to develop and grow well into the teenage years. This might explain a teenager’s risk-taking behaviour. It has emerged that the emotional region of the brain develops to maturity ahead of the part of the brain that controls rational thought. In other words, teenagers have well-developed emotions and feelings but have still not acquired the ability to think things through. When they act impulsively, and do the kind of dangerous things an adult would avoid, their brain’s late development might be to blame. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/articles/emotions/teenagers/rebellion.shtml%5D

So again, it is a very interested and telling correlation that many individuals embrace atheism at a time when they are borne to rebellion against authority and when their brains are more emotional then rational, a fact which is, once again, entirely expected on the Suppression Hypothesis, but is rather surprising on the ‘atheist-as-just-a-rational-evidence-seeking-individual’ position.

 

Point Thirteen – Unbelievers Would Not Accept God Even if True:

In addition to the fact that certain of unbelievers admit to some aspect of the Suppression Hypothesis, there is also anecdotal evidence which points to the fact that for certain unbelievers, even if they had evidence that proved the truth of theism—or more specifically Christian theism—they nevertheless would not submit to such a deity. For example, on his blog ‘WinteryKinght.com’, in a 13th of May 2009 blog post titled “Interview with the Atheist, Part 2: The Answers”—accessed on the 8th of February 2017—Wintery Knight, who is the blog author and a Christian, posted the answers to an informal, and admittedly unscientific, survey which he did with ten atheists, agnostics, and Unitarians. Some of the questions and answers were very interesting, but the main one to focus on is the following:

[QUOTE] Question 12: Would you follow (and how would you follow) Jesus at the point where it became clear to you that Christianity was true? (NO: 7) (YES: 2)

[1] I have no idea

[2] I would not follow. My own goals are all that I have, and all that I would continue to have in that unlikely situation. I would not yield my autonomy to anyone no matter what their authority to command me

[3] I would not follow, because God doesn’t want humans to act any particular way, and he doesn’t care what we do

[4] I would not follow. Head is spinning. Would go to physician to find out if hallucinating.

[5] If I found there was no trickery? I’d have to change my mind wouldn’t I! Not really likely though is it?

[6] I would keep doing what I am doing now, acting morally. That’s what all religions want anyway. (In response to my triumphant scribbling, he realized he had fallen into a trap and changed his answer to the right answer) Oh, wait. I would try to try to find out what Jesus wanted and then try to do that.

[7] I hope I would be courageous enough to dedicate my life to rebellion against God.

[8] I would not have to change anything unless forced to and all that would change is my actions not my values.  I would certainly balk at someone trying to force me to change my behavior as would you if you were at the mercy of a moral objectivist who felt that all moral goodness is codified in the Koran.

[9] He would have to convince me that what he wants for me is what I want for me. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, https://winteryknight.com/2009/05/13/interview-with-the-atheist-part-2-the-answers/%5D

And note that the results that Wintery Knight obtained are not unique. For example, on the ‘Well Spent Journey’ blog, the author Matt, in an 18th of March 2013 post titled “Atheist Survey Results (n=23)”—accessed on the 8th of February 2017—posted the results of his own unscientific survey with twenty-three self-reported unbelievers. And once again, the results are very interesting, for consider this question and the answers to it:

[QUOTE] 12. How would you begin to follow Jesus if it became clear to you that Christianity was true?

– Would follow (5)

– Wouldn’t follow (6)

– Might follow the teachings of Jesus, but that isn’t Christianity (2)

– It would depend on how this truth was revealed (3)

– Christianity can’t be true (3)

– No answer given (4)

[In the comments, Matt also posted these further responses to the above question]

– I don’t think that’s possible.

– This would depend on the manner in which such became known to me and what version of Christianity it was.

– Well, it depends. If I “learned that Christianity was true”, odds are I wouldn’t follow Jesus. I’d need some answers first.

– I don’t really know on this one.

– I’d probably talk to some of my friends I’ve met at uni who are quite religious and ask them. I know a couple who would be very supportive, and one who i know full well thinks in similar ways to me and would be able to talk me through things in a way i could resonate with. The hardest adjustment? praying. It seems weird, creepy and strange to me and i’d feel ridiculous doing it considering to me it seems like talking to yourself.

– I would give away my possessions to any who asked for them. I would then attempt to understand how the bible came to be so corrupted and to try to find the reality of Jesus’ teachings. Although for it to become clear to me that Christianity was true I would have to know that reality first and it be confirmed by some neutral party. [UNQUOTE, bold emphasis added, https://wellspentjourney.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/atheist-survey-results-n23/%5D

Now again, these are entirely unscientific surveys, and so they are subject to a number of objections, but the results are interesting nonetheless, especially given that the majority of the respondents either dodged the question or admitted that even if the evidence for Christian theism was such that they were convinced that it was true, they would nevertheless still not follow it. In fact, certain respondents admitted that they would continue—or at least try to continue—to rebel against God and His moral commands, which is exactly what the Suppression Hypothesis claims is the motivator for God-denial. Now, admittedly, these unbelievers did not confess that they actually did believe in God, but through their admittance that they would not follow Christianity even if it was proven true to their satisfaction, these unbelievers have shown that their unbelief is motivated by more than simply evidentiary reasons; indeed, there is a strong psychological and moral component to their rejection of God, and this is, in large part, what the Suppression Hypothesis predicts, but it is not what the ‘follow-the-evidence-wherever-it-leads-rational-atheist’ hypothesis predicts. And so, the fact that some unbelievers, as noted above, admit that they would rebel against God even if they believed He existed, shows that their unbelief is motivated by more than mere evidentiary considerations, and it also renders quite plausible the idea that such unbelievers might suppress the reality that God does indeed exist as a way of shielding themselves from what they consider to be an unpleasant and undesirable fact.

  

Bonus – The Evidence from the Bible: 

The final point to consider in support of the Suppression Hypothesis comes from the Bible itself, which plausibly states that unbelievers do just that in Romans 1. Now, for a believer, such scriptural evidence will be powerful. For an unbeliever, such evidence will be extremely weak, and the reasons for the unbeliever’s dismissal of this evidence are understood. Nevertheless, even if considered weak, the Biblical evidence cannot be outright dismissed. Why? Because even if looked at as a non-inspired book, the Bible contains a great deal of wisdom and human experience in it. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul, as evidenced from his writings, was no moron. And so, given all this, the Bible, as a book containing claims about human nature and human experience cannot be entirely dismissed. And so the Biblical claim that unbelievers suppress the truth about God is a point of support for that hypothesis, even if it is only slight support.

Illumination of Other Interesting Points

Having presented a number of points in favor of the plausibility of the Suppression Hypothesis, it should also be noted that the Suppression Hypothesis can also help to illuminate certain other points that both this author and others have noticed about many unbelievers. For example, on his blog ‘edwardfeser.blogspot.com’, and in a 12th of July 2014 post titled “Clarke on the stock caricature of First Cause arguments”, blog author Edward Feser notes that certain unbelievers routinely straw-man the cosmological argument for God’s existence, and he also notes the fact their straw-manning was even noted back in the 1970s by other philosophers. Additionally, in this author’s experience, it has been noted that when discussing the issue of God or Christianity, unbelievers often employ a double-standard concerning how they use skepticism (a sort of selective hyper-skepticism); they also give great weigh to objections which are demonstrably weak, and which, in any other context, would be considered weak (one has only to look at Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion for a number of examples of this). Now, the reason that this is interesting, and the reason it is worth pointing out, is because many unbelievers are otherwise intelligent people, but when it comes to the issue of God, their clear thinking and sound reasoning often appears to go sideways—although no doubt many unbelievers would accuse theists of the same thing. However, the point is that if you apply the Suppression Hypothesis to this overall phenomenon, then the reason for this discrepancy between an unbeliever’s good reasoning about secular matters and bad reasoning about God-related issues becomes clearer, for the Suppression Hypothesis tells you that the unbeliever is not being rational about his unbelief, but rather he is rationalizing it, thus meaning that he is looking for any excuse to support his God-denying position. And so, when looked at through the lens of the Suppression Hypothesis, many otherwise hard to understand points about the behavior of unbelievers become illuminated.

 

The Predictions of the Suppression Hypothesis

Now, in the end, the atheist can reverse all these points and argue that it is actually the religious believer who is motivated by fear, wish-fulfillment, and so on. In fact, the atheist often does argue this. And perhaps both atheist and theist alike are motivated by psychological drivers to believe what they believe. Nevertheless, whether atheists suppress the truth about God’s existence is ultimately an empirical question and it is one that should be tested more thoroughly in the future. At present, however, the evidence that we do have—as articulated above—is sufficient to achieve the aim of this essay: which is to show that the Suppression Hypothesis is plausible, non-ad-hoc, and has an air-of-reality to it, meaning that it has some evidentiary base. And this is, in the end, all that is required to put the burden onto the atheist concerning his need to prove that he—if he is a person with properly-functioning cognitive faculties—genuinely does not believe in God.

However, as a final point, it can be added that it is hoped that additional research into the Suppression Hypothesis will be done. And to that end, a few predictions can be made concerning what results should be expected if the Suppression Hypothesis is true. Thus, in the future, if the research is done, and if these predictions bear fruit, then we can be even more confident that the Suppression Hypothesis is actually what is occurring with unbelievers. So here are some predictions which should be expected if the Suppression Hypothesis is true:

Prediction 1: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that research would determine that the unbelief of the large majority of unbelievers with properly functioning cognitive faculties (essentially, neurologically-typical people who are unbelievers) is ultimately and primarily traceable back to some type of psychological, moral, and/or emotional reason for their unbelief.

Prediction 2: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that for the large majority of unbelievers who are not primarily motivated in their unbelief by psychological, moral, and/or emotional reasons—essentially, for wholly “rational” unbelievers—it will be shown that these unbelievers will be neurologically-atypical, and thus they will have some type of mental dysfunction, such as high-functioning autism or a narcissistic disorder.

Prediction 3: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that the large majority of unbelievers who are neurologically-typical but who also hold their unbelief for rational reasons will become believers at some point in their adult life.

Prediction 4: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that the large majority of neurologically-typical unbelievers become unbelievers during the time when their brain is not fully developed, is more emotional than rational, and when their personality is in a rebellious stage, thus meaning from approximately ten to twenty years of age; by contrast, most unbelievers who return to theistic belief would be expected to do so as mature adults who are better able to deal with their emotions and think rationally, thus meaning from approximately twenty-five years and above.

Prediction 5: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that when tested, the instinctive behavioral and bodily reactions of neurologically-typical unbelievers would be the opposite of what would be expected given their self-professed unbelief; thus, their bodies would react the same as the bodies of theistic believers would even though their verbal responses would be the opposite of how believers would reply to questions.

Prediction 6: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that a large majority of very recently converted neurologically-typical atheists would fail a polygraph exam if said polygraph exam tested the genuineness of their unbelief; in essence, in people who had recently become atheists, and thus verbally claimed to be atheists, the suppression of the truth of the existence of God would still be close enough to their conscious thought that they would fail a polygraph exam. And so while claiming to be atheists, a polygraph would show that they were lying about their unbelief.

Prediction 7: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that a large majority of neurologically-typical atheists, if properly surveyed, would show no emotional, moral, and/or psychological problem with deism being true, but they would show a major problem in all those areas with theism being true.

Prediction 8: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that at least some neurologically-typical unbelievers, whether in interviews or in surveys, would admit to actually believing that God exists even while overtly claiming to be atheists; in essence, they would admit to simply rebelling against God.

Prediction 9: Given the moral component of the Suppression Hypothesis, then if the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that individuals raised in highly liberal households would be more expected to be unbelievers, but also that neurologically-typical individuals who believed in God, but had adopted liberal social and moral values, would be more prone to unbelief; essentially, the embrace of non-traditional moral rules and values would be strongly correlated, and even causally-linked, to unbelief. Additionally, it would be expected that the few morally-traditional unbelievers that exist would look at theism much more favorably, and even desire theism to be true, then their unbelieving liberal counterparts, who would not wish for theism to be true and who would have disdain for theism.

Prediction 10: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that the large majority of neurologically-typical unbelievers, when asked, would either evade answering, or would answer negatively, to the question of if they would follow the moral commands and instructions of a theistic God—such as the Christian God—if that God’s existence was proven to their satisfaction.

Prediction 11: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that for the large majority of neurologically-typical unbelievers, when asked to think about God, the centers of their brain associated with dislike and disgust and fear would be activated to approximately the same degree as it would be for something else which the unbelievers knew existed but which they also disliked and feared; in essence, brain scans should show that the emotional elements of the brain are as active in neurologically-typical unbelievers when they think about God as the rational parts of their brain are.

Prediction 12: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that even the unbelievers who fit the category of neurologically-typical would nevertheless still possess higher amounts of autistic and narcissistic traits.

Prediction 13: If the Suppression Hypothesis is true, then it would be expected that for neurologically-typical unbelievers, the main moral complaint against theistic commands while revolve directly around those moral commands restricting hedonistic pursuits such as drug use or alcohol, but especially concerning sexual restrictions.

Now perhaps further predictions can be made concerning the Suppression Hypothesis, but these will suffice at present. And one can only hope that further research will be done to determine whether the evidence supports the Suppression Hypothesis or not.

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Anno Domini 2017 02 11

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

Comment: Tom Gilson and Divine Hiddenness

Over at his ‘Thinking Christian’ blog, Tom Gilson has a post up called “John Loftus and His Hypothetical God”. In essence, the post, and the comments that followed, concerned the so-called issue of divine hiddenness and why God does not make himself more “obvious” to human beings. I posted a lengthy comment in reply to this issue which I thought to share with you here (but please note that this is not the main project that I have been working on for the last few days…that project should be done and posted tomorrow). And so, here are my comments:

 

Good Day to All,

I know that I am late to comment on this post, and I know that some of what I say will be the same as what others have already mentioned, but given that this post concerns the so-called issue of “divine hiddenness”, I would like to comment anyway.

Point 1:  So, when speaking of the issue of divine hiddenness, and the issue of so-called ‘rational unbelievers’, the first point to note is that, technically, no amount of evidence that God could provide would ever be sufficient to non-coercively overcome a disbeliever’s doubt if the disbeliever did not wish to be convinced. Indeed, given the ability for hyper-skepticism to create doubt no matter what the evidence is, it must be pointed out that no matter what God did, a skeptic could always—if he wanted—attribute the event to aliens, or a hallucination, or that he was in a computer simulation, etc. And skeptic Michael Shermer even has a “law” which states that any sufficiently advanced alien intelligence would be, to us, indistinguishable from God; as such, atheism and naturalism are thus unfalsifiable if they wish to be given that any seemingly miraculous event could always be attributed to aliens rather than God. In fact, I know a prominent atheist who admitted that even if the stars spelled out the Apostles Creed and the whole world saw it, he would likely go mad or believe everyone had gone mad rather than believe that God had made a miracle occur. So, the point here is that even God could not freely convince certain unbelievers to believe in Him no matter how much evidence He might provide; and since God knows this to be the case, then this fact no doubt factors into His thinking when He provides the evidence that He does.

Point 2:  When speaking about rational unbelievers, it is actually questionable whether any such individuals exist, at least if they are neurologically-typical. Indeed, one can doubt both the “rational” part and the “unbeliever” part of the idea of a ‘rational unbeliever’. For example, I have seen some of the reasons unbelievers use to claim not to believe in God, and it is at least questionable whether those reasons can be considered rational. Next, for neurologically-typical individuals, it is plausible to question whether any such individuals truly are unbelievers. Indeed, I am actually just finishing up a 12,000 word essay which claims that it is plausible, and even reasonable, to believe that neurologically-typical individuals who claim to be unbelievers actually do believe in God, or, at the very least, do not actually disbelieve for rational reasons but rather for psychological and/or moral ones. So again, the idea of a rational unbeliever is at least open to debate.

Point 3:  If rational unbelievers with “open hearts” do indeed exist—and I do not doubt that some do—there is evidence to suggest that such unbelievers are neurologically-atypical, such as being high-functioning autistics, and so their unbelief is non-culpable, just like a color-blind person cannot be held responsible for not being able to see the color ‘red’. And indeed, there is mounting evidence to suggest that atheism is linked to autism; consequently, I think it can be predicted that rational unbelievers are also people who are neurologically-atypical. Thus, the rational unbeliever is neurologically-atypical, whereas the neurologically-typical individual is not actually a rational unbeliever.

Point 4: Now, with all the above points in mind, when it comes to the issue of the “non-obviousness” of God, not only are there a number of good reasons for God to not make Himself obvious, but, on Christian theism, we would actually expect God not to be obvious given what we are told God is and what God wants.   

Sub-Point A: First, when we understand that life is a test—a test concerning our desire to follow God’s rules or our own, and thus a test shown in our actions, which are a true manifestation of our character and our desire—we thus realize that, in such a situation, God’s existence (and all that it entails, such as heaven and hell) cannot be obvious or else this would skew the test to such degree that it would not be a legitimate test. To understand this, consider this analogy. Say that a person suddenly stumbles upon a million dollars. Now, the person could either steal the million dollars or not. But in the person’s particular world, which is a hyper-surveillance state, there are actually hundreds of cameras in the area filming everything, and, in fact, there are three police officers in the area looking directly at the person in question. Furthermore, the person in question knows that he is being watched and that the whole event is being recorded. The person also knows that the sentence for theft is life in prison. So, in such a situation, would the person truly be able to do what he really wanted to do concerning the million dollars or would the knowledge of certain capture and the fear of punishment be so overwhelming that the person would not steal the million dollars even though he wanted to. Furthermore, could the person’s true and free character come forth given that the person would always know that he would be captured and punished if he ever broke the rules. No, it could not. By contrast, if the person knew that the police might be in the area, but he was not sure if they were or not, then the person would be much freer to express his true character by either stealing the money or not. And so it is the same with God: if God is utterly obvious, then most people, in practice, would not be able to truly express their character and desires in the moral choices that they make given that the fear of punishment and certain capture would be so coercive that it would make them act a certain way even if they did not wish to do so. By contrast, if God is present, but not obvious, then there is knowledge of sin and potential punishment, but also doubt that the sin and punishment are actually real, thus leaving the person in a true state of non-coercive freedom where he can be tested in the most honest and genuine way possible.

Sub-Point B: Now, in saying all of the above, it should also be pointed out that even if God was obvious, there might still be people who would reject Him and chose disobedience over obedience. But in such a case, the rebel’s sin would be that much greater given his greater knowledge of God’s existence. Thus, in a way, God’s non-obviousness is also a mercy to sinners, for their punishment would be astronomically greater if God was obvious and they rejected him anyway. And I think the fact that Satan’s ultimate punishment is viewed as being much greater than man’s is a testament to this fact. Furthermore, this is in much the same way as would be the case when a criminal who is rather ignorant of the law that he breached is treated much more leniently by a judge than a man who was absolutely certain of the law, had been warned by the police about it, and breached it anyway. Indeed, the latter will be harshly punished, whereas the former, not so much. And so God’s non-obviousness is also done as a mercy to the sinners who would reject God no matter what.

Sub-Point C:  It can also be noted that God’s main desire is that all men be saved, and since God being obvious could actually lead some men to resent Him and deny salvation, then it is not clear that God being obvious is necessarily in keeping with His main desire and His loving nature. Again, think of the police. Although the police are there for the good of the people, someone who sees the police on every street corner, and watching everything that they do, might actually come to resent the police rather than appreciate them. Indeed, in certain people, a certain disdain and willful disobedience (see Point B) might come about precisely because the police are so obvious. And it could be the same with God. Thus, the non-obviousness of God could be leading more people to salvation rather than away from it.

Sub-Point D:  Finally—and I think this is the most important point, plus the most unique one—the non-obviousness of God is also necessary for believers! Why? Well, think about what unbelievers often accuse believers of doing: namely, believing merely for self-interested reasons and as a means of avoiding hell. So, in light of this, why is the non-obviousness of God relevant? Because by making His existence non-obvious, and possibly doubtful—although not reasonably doubtful—God thus creates the conditions for believers to love Him in a truly genuine and selfless way. Consider this illustration: when a husband loves his wife, but the wife loves the husband back and totes on him endlessly, it is always possible to view the husband’s love as self-interested rather than selfless. After all, the wife constantly gives back to the husband and he might be staying with the wife not because he genuinely loves her, but because she gives him stuff and treats him well. By contrast, now imagine that after five years of marriage, the wife suddenly falls into a coma and a vegetative state. Now, the husband has no idea if his wife, as a person, is even still alive or not, or if she will ever come out of the coma. But now imagine that for the next fifty years, the husband visits his wife daily, cleans her, takes care of her, and still loves her even as he is unsure if she still really exists or not. Now, in such a situation, the husband has the opportunity to truly and genuinely love his wife with no guarantee of reciprocation. The husband’s love is about as selfless as possible, with very little doubt that he is doing what he does simply because he loves his wife, not because he is getting something from her. But now think of this situation with God. Take Mother Theresa for example. Early in her life, she had a number of intense divine experiences, but then those experiences went away and she even doubted God during her long career. Why would God allow this? Because by doing so, Mother Theresa could show a selfless love which could not fully or deeply manifest itself if God constantly and continually reciprocated to her. After all, we are told to be perfect, like God is perfect, and God selflessly loves the very sinners who either hate Him or do not believe that He exists, and so by being non-obvious, God is also giving believers the chance to love Him just like He loves us: namely, in a truly selfless way.

Sub-Point E:  As a side-note, it should also be noted that even if a person does not believe in God’s existence, this does not necessarily stop the person from desiring that God exists and acting like He does, much the same way that a woman who does not know if she can get pregnant can nevertheless still hope to have a baby and prepare a room as if a baby is coming. So this is also a key point: that a person does not need to believe in God to act as if He does and desire that He does, and such a course of action, in my view, will count for much in the eyes of God.

So, in the end, when all these points are considered, it is clear that God has very good reasons not to be obvious.