Why do atheists deny gods existence?

Mik’la asks..

Message: I will never understand why there are atheists around. There IS evidence that God exists. Just look at the change in a person’s life after becoming a christian. They are billions of people who’s lives has been changed completely. There was this man who was taking angel dust from before he was in high school. He was kicked out of his parent’s house when he was 20 because he was always getting in trouble. He smoked marijuana from age 20 to 30. From age 30 to 40 he smoked cocaine. From 40 to 50 he smoked heroin. After attending dozens of rehabs (all of which failed ), his father persuaded him to go to a christian rehab. There he went from atheist to agnostic to christian. He finally quit this horrendous addiction to drugs after years of trying. He decided that he wanted to help other people like himself and became a counsellor for those addicted to drugs. That is amazing evidence for the existence of God. Look at what He did with that man. Why are there still atheists around? Is it because no one has ever told them the truth or is it just that they are lying?

Hi Mik’la. Thanks for this question. I’ll do my best to answer it questions for you.

First of all. Before we evaluate any claim. The first thing that we need to do is define the type of claim. In the case of theism the claim is that a god exists. This is a claim of existence. The next thing we do is we look for a criteria, or in other words a method, with which we can evaluate the claim. When it comes to existence, the only valid criteria is the objective one. For a claim to be objective, it must produce the same results every time. For example if I hold out a rubber ball to you and say to you, “This is a rubber ball” and you understand that a rubber ball is a spherical object made out of rubber, you will naturally accept my claim. Then, you can turn to another and do the same, and so on, and so forth. You can do this over and over and each person will say “That is a rubber ball”. However if I were to approach you with my empty hand held out and told you that “This is a rubber ball” you would see that not only is there nothing in my hand, but that the nothing is neither rubber, nor a spherical object, and it becomes easy to dismiss my claim because it can not be objectively evaluated. We use this criteria every day to determine what exists and what doesn’t exist. It’s how we know when someone has a mental illness and claims that they see elves or pixies or tall 6 foot invisible rabbit named “Harvey”.

Keep in mind that there is not one thing that you know to exist, that doesn’t fall in to this already established criteria. Not a single thing.

So now we know how to tell if something exists or not. The next step is to evaluate the claims around its supposed existence. Most theists like to point at change that people make in their lives as proof of their gods existence. They will claim that because a person prayed to a particular god, and that because they felt that their prayer was answered, that this proves that their god exists. The problem with this is that it doesn’t actually prove which god is the real one? For every story that you hear of someone having their lives changed by Jesus, you can find other correlating stories of how someones life was changed by Allah, Vishnu, Elohim, Zeus, and so on. At this point you the believer are stuck with two choices. You can either claim that there are many gods, and that each person was just as right as you are for your claim of Jesus, or you have to say that all of those other gods are false and that only yours is right. Wait though! What happens if they make that same claim? Now you have thousands of different god beliefs, with their miracles and their scriptures all making near identical claims. How do you decide which one is right if all of them are claiming the same type of subjective evidence for their gods existence?

This only become a problem if we accept subjective evidence as valid towards a claim of existence, and it’s precisely why we don’t. The moment you accept subjective evidence as a valid claim of existence, then there becomes little to no difference in your claim that a god exists, and the claim of a schizophrenic who says that he see’s goblins.

So no. It isn’t that atheists are lying or that no one has ever told them. It’s that the evidence that theists produce for their gods, isn’t really evidence. There’s a great quote that sums it up perfectly…

“I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” — Stephen F Roberts

I hope that helps you to understand. Thanks again for the question!

15 thoughts on “Why do atheists deny gods existence?”

  1. I love this answer. It is concise and to the point. How much simpler can it be? It is why I continue to read the content presented here. Also, I use that quote every other day or so in discussions I have with my theist friends.

    1. The reason I dismiss other gods is that they are false. They have done nothing for me or anyone. The reason people create false gods is that in each and everyone’s heart, they want to worship something. But they don’t want to come to the one and only true God because they will have to give up sin. They create their own gods to suit their sinful lifestyles. If u were to look at the difference between God and other gods, u would see that my God is a God of love, forgiveness, justice etc. That is why I reject other false gods.

  2. That is amazing evidence of self will…not a god.

    All these drug/alcohol addicts that claim god saved them…all they really did was replace one addiction for another.

    I was an alcoholic for 13 years and have now been sober for 3 years…I did it without any god,faith or twelve step program…only self will.

    1. Not all people can do it by self will. And Woody (that is the man’s name) did not get saved because he wanted to get rid of his addiction. He got saved because he realized that God was the only one who could help him. Here we go again. When God shows His amazing power by completely changing someone’s life around, you reject it. There are billions of people who, after accepting Christ, has had their lives turned around.

      1. What about the man who believes his life was changed because of his belief in Vishnu? Did you actually read my answer? I covered this already.

        1. Yep … I know of a whole nation the individuals of which believe they’ve been saved by Vishnu or some other god or demi-god (Shiva, Brahma, Durga, Buddha etc) when they’ve risen out of calamities 🙂
          And the combined number of such believers probably rivals JC’s believers. And a lot of these guys are pretty reasonably educated and discerning as well. And they feel as strongly about their god(s) as christians about Jesus.

          Everyone is free to feel strongly about whichever fairy tale they want to feel strongly about I guess … in the meantime reality presses on relentlessly, without the need for a god to explain it’s progression.

        2. Let me tell you something about false gods. People create gods to satisfy their own sinful lusts so that they don’t have to change. Their gods require them to do rituals etc. in order to pay the price of their sins. No god can save or change a man. Only God can change a man. There has been multiple stories of people who go from false gods to the real God, and they only change when they come to God Almighty.

      2. Everyone can do it with self will…if they have faith in themselves…instead you pray and hope for change,instead of doing it yourself.

      3. See, I never buy this. Explain to me why even though almost half of the African population is Christian, they still live in horrible poverty while mostly atheist northern European countries are doing fine. Or if you are by chance born to a muslim family you are damned to a hellish life. Or you again by chance are born as a girl in an islamic country that you are forced to cover up and marry at age 8. Now, I thought your god was all loving and protecting. To me he seems cruel, evil even, obnoxious, and self contradicting. And the only reason people heal themselves is because they “need” to believe in a bigger reason and your god or any other god is just a tool that makes up for lack of willpower

  3. There are people whose *belief* in Christianity has had a positive effect on their lives. However, that’s only evidence that *belief* itself can have a profound impact on people, not that their beliefs are true. The former drug dealer’s *belief* in Christianity could have motivated him to give up drugs irrespective of whether Christianity is actually true. In other words, you’re not pointing out things that the Christian God did. You’re pointing out things that having a *belief* in the Christian God did, and you don’t know the difference. Belief has the same psychological effect regardless of truth. If someone truly believes their father is dead, their reaction will be the same regardless of whether or not they’re actually right.

    And of course (as Jake pointed out) lots of other religions can point to people whose beliefs had a positive psychological impact. So if your argument doesn’t convince you of the truth of these other religions, then it shouldn’t convince you of the truth of your own either.

  4. many comics have said this, and I agree. Here it goes..

    Thank GOD for helping that man get over his drugs, thank GOD for helping your sports team win, thank GOD for helping you get that job or do well at that interview, thank GOD for your wealth and prosperity in life.

    However, while god was busy answering your selfish prayers, it ignored children (yes even christian children) being raped and abused. it ignored natural disasters wiping out thousands upon thousands of individuals (many as pious as you). Your god ignored the spread of deadly diseases, innocents dying in wars, and innocents dying from cancer or hunger.

    But, you know, thank goodness god could really help that man get over his addiction to drugs. That is what is important here. you’ve made such a compelling point.

    Meanwhile, mankind struggles to solve these problems (given that we are also the ones creating many of them) using the tools we have available and the knowledge we have aqcuired.

    Please stop bothering “god” with your petty problems, it has its “divine plan” afterall, and it won’t change from your prayer.

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