One Question I Ask My Atheist Friends

from Hard Core Christianity by Melissa Cain Travis

one-questionI’d like to preface this post by clearly stating that my observations are not necessarily representative of the atheist population as a whole. What follows is merely a description my personal encounters. I’ve been having discussions with non-believers for a long time. Over the years, I’ve noticed distinct trends in how thoughtful, educated atheists and agnostics tend to respond to various arguments. As an apologist, it is important that I am able to better anticipate objections, so this field experience has been priceless in helping me better prepare myself for effective dialogue. One of the reasons I maintain this blog is to share the insights I’ve gained. It occurred to me a while back that it would be very interesting to pose this very simple question, as an experiment of sorts, to see how my atheist friends would respond.

“Are you glad that atheism is the truth?”

Whenever I’ve asked this question, the conversation has usually gone something much like this:

“Let me ask you something totally unrelated to the evidence for God and Christianity.”


“Are you glad that atheism is the truth?”

“Of course I’m glad it’s true! Why would I argue for its truth if I wasn’t glad about it?”

“What makes you glad that it’s true?”

“Well, for one thing, it’s the only way that humans can have genuine free will. Under Christianity, there’s no free will, there’s only God’s will. Under atheism, I choose how I live my life.”

This response is psychologically revealing, theologically erroneous, completely out of step with materialism (the philosophy that nothing besides the material universe exists), and frankly, absurd.

Let’s think about it.

5 Responses

  1. I’m just a random commenter, but my answer: I’m pretty emotionally neutral that atheism is the truth.

  2. I’m not glad or sad that I’m an atheist…it’s just that I can’t believe in something without proof, and there’s no satisfactory proof for anything supernatural

  3. Wondering how often you’ve actually asked this question, if this is the only answer you got.

    I agree it’s incorrect, and would mention that it would be possible to prime for such an answer by first discussing hell, Jesus being the only savior, etc., before asking it. This would make it more likely an atheist would give this response, I would think. I agree it’s still wrong.

    Your last sentence, though, gives me a bit of pause: that’s a lot of extreme generalizations to throw around without any support.

  4. I am glad the atoms forged billions of years ago in distant stars that today form a pattern in my brain allows me to be conscious of the awe inspiring universe I live in. I am glad I live during a time in human history when the ignorance and religious hatred that caused untold suffering throughout most of human history is being replaced by a deep knowledge of reality and growing empathy toward our fellow animals including humans. I am glad that the future looks bright because young people around the world are leaving behind superstitions and magic, instead working together for a better tomorrow based on science and social justice.

  5. I am glad that gods do not exist, at least the gods postulated by every religion I’ve ever learned much about. If any of them existed, that would be a worse universe than the one we actually live in. I could go into detail but if you’ve ever read or listened to Hitchens, my reasons are pretty much the same as his.

    This lack of god-existence doesn’t make me particularly happy (or unhappy) on a day-to-day basis and it’s only a small part of my view of reality, but when comparing a godless universe to one of the god-created ones we could conceivably live in, I am glad it’s the former.

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