Thursday, March 19, 2009

An argument that misses the point

In these discussions, we often see the claim “You don’t believe in a God, because you want to sin.” For instance, Ten Minas Ministries wrote in this article:
You may be asking yourself, "If everything you've said is true, why are there still atheists in the world?" Think about it for a minute. Belief in God isn't simply a matter of changing your mind then going on with life as usual. There are consequences to that belief, especially if you go all the way to Christianity. It isn't just your beliefs that have to change, but also your lifestyle. If people were to start believing in God, they'd have to give up their gambling, drinking, premarital sex, greed, and countless other vices. We like our vices. We don't want to give them up.

Or Frank Turek’s Friend who cleverly discovers:
He said, “You’re raising all of these objections because you’re sleeping with your girlfriend. Am I right?”

All the blood drained from the kid’s face. He was caught. He just stood there speechless. He was rejecting God because he didn’t like God’s morality, and he was disguising it with alleged intellectual objections. This young man wasn’t the first atheist or agnostic to admit that his desire to follow his own agenda was keeping him out of the Kingdom.

Or Dr. Moore:
I think you know there’s a god, I think you know there is certain fiery expectation of judgment. I just think exactly as the Apostle John says, “The light comes into the world and the men hate the light and they love the darkness” and why? Because their deeds are evil and they want to cover it over…

I guess my question is…why? Why does one have to not believe in God to do certain actions? It is not as if the non-believers have the moral police investigating crimes committed while believing! Does anyone here know of Christian couples who lived together before they were married?

No…wait…strike that. Does anyone NOT know of a single Christian couple who lived together prior to getting married? Did they need to lose their belief in God to do so?

“Sir, I am sorry to bother you, but we are the Local Atheist Patrol.”
“Says here, you are living with a woman. Is that true?”
“Do you believe in God?”
“Uh…yes. What does that have to do with anything?”

“I’m sorry, sir, but you can’t believe in God AND live with a woman.”
“Are you serious?”
“Quite. Rules are very strict you know. ‘Giving up belief in God is a prerequisite for living with your girlfriend.’”
“So what do I have to do?””Simple, really. Either give up your belief in God and keep living with her…or move out.”

Anyone know Christians who gamble? (It is March Madness…) Had premarital sex? (Again, know any who didn’t?) Are greedy? Drink alcohol? In fact, we see Christians who perform the same acts we do, to the point an argument against Christianity is that we can’t tell the moral difference, and the Christian defends it by claiming Christians still sin!

If Christians still sin, why do they need to give up belief in God to sin?

A part of me wants to thank the Christians for this argument. Hey—we all know sex sells, right? And the best advertisement in the world is how we atheists, agnostics, deists, wiccan, pagan, deconverts and general non-believers are living a world of such carefree sex we are willing to endanger our very soul to eternal torment just to imbibe. That’s gotta be some great sex, eh?!

We drink, we gamble, we party. We can be selfish. It’s like we are the neighbor who always throws those great bashes people talk about for months afterward, and the poor Christian is never invited. They still believe in a God. They can’t come.

Unfortunately, it is false advertising. The believer becomes the unbeliever and finds out they are having the same sex (or lack thereof) they were before. There was no on-rush of lovers just waiting in the lobby for them to “give up God.” They have the same problems with too much alcohol, or gambling. In fact, not much changes.

Yes, there are differences. The Christian cannot understand it is a symptom—not a cause. If you were a struggling gay Christians, constantly fighting your sexual cravings, and become a non-believer, it is no surprise that a self-imposed belief homosexuality is immoral being lifted causes you to enjoy yourself for who you are.

Christians only see a deconvert enter their homosexual lifestyle and say, “Ha! He deconverted to be Gay!” Nope. He was always gay—after deconversion there was no reason to suppress it.

The reason this argument is an epic failure is because it is not true. Skeptics cannot resonate with it. The only peolpe who believe it are other Christians, nodding their heads and shouting “Amens.”

Using it says more about the Christians’ lack of perspective than it does the skeptic’s reasons for disbelieving in a God.


  1. Yes, there are differences. The Christian cannot understand it is a symptom—not a cause.

    It really is a lack of perspective, like you said. Or circular reasoning, using a definition of morality that only a christian can be considered moral: "Sure, he is a good unbelieving person, at least in human terms, but in God's eyes he is wicked because he rejects Jesus." Damned if you do, damned if you don't, unbeliever.

  2. Not believing in God so you can sin without consequence is like not believing in gravity so you can jump off a cliff without going splat.

    The bottom line is that there are no divine or supernatural consequences for "sinning"; it's just a giant con game for priests, prophets and evangelists to manipulate people through guilt and shame.

  3. After being a "cafeteria" Catholic for many years, one of the things that pushed me into agnosticism was the realization that not acknowledging the existence of God wouldn't make any difference in how I thought I should live my life. I did not suddenly develop a desire to cheat on my wife or embezzle money from work just because I no longer believed in God nor did I feel any new found freedom to do so.

    On the other hand, I have not noticed that Christians who want to sin have any trouble rationalizing their sing, e.g.,Ted Haggart, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jim Bakker.

  4. most excellent points you are making here. I knew christians who beat their wives, loved to look at porn (not that that's a bad thing!) and sexually abused their children and yet took communion every sunday in their pious suits and passed the offering plate in their capacity as deacons. Yet we are supposed to believe we can't wait to give all that up so we can sin?? Obviously, we don't have to!! thanks for this post and for highlighting the contradiction!

  5. Is it just me, or are the vices listed here normally kind of "small" ones? I never see listed here, "Oh, the non-believer wants to remain heartless. The non-believer wants to oppress the poor, wants to thrive on injustice, wants to hate his neighbor." The really big ones that get mentioned quite a bit in the Bible.