We’ve probably all been confronted with some variation on this question from frustrated theists or apathetic “nones” who find our whole movement a little baffling: Why do you atheists spend so much time worrying about a God you don’t even believe exists? If you think he’s not real, why not just let it go at that?
Austin Cline, About.com’s Atheism and Agnosticism guide, recently highlighted just such a query from a reader, one who reaches a conclusion that requires something of a Super Mario-worthy leap:
Doesn’t [atheists'] obsession with non-belief indicate that they secretly do believe? Otherwise, wouldn’t their actions be inconceivable?
I can’t for the life of me put that one together. Even if you grant the premise that atheists are irrationally obsessed with their lack of belief, there’s no connection I can imagine that thereby leads to “therefore they actually are theists, Q.E.D.” Maybe that whole “denial ain’t just a river in Egypt” thing? I dunno, I’m reaching.
But that’s not really what I wanted to highlight about this post. I particularly liked Cline’s conclusion at the end of his post:
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