Field of Dreams

By Michael Hawkins

When in discussions and/or debates with the religious, I cringe before I bring up the point that, yes, of course atheism does lack a certain sort of comfort. Afterall, do people really have no fear of death? But this does not mean that fear ought to motivate one to believe in any sort of god or afterlife. An emotion, no matter how strong, does not make something true. And, frankly, it’s bizarre that anyone would ever try to make that sort of argument. But alas, I’ve encountered it a number of times.

The reason, however, I cringe is that as soon as a lack of a certain comfort is admitted, the theist jumps up and proclaims, “Aha! So you do desire a god/an afterlife!” But this isn’t so. I certainly do not desire to live with the redneck described in the Bible. But what’s really perplexing is how illogical the theist’s whole point is. “You desire X, thus X is true.” Or sometimes with some condescension, “You desire X, so maybe you ought to reflect on that a little more.” The assumptions there are that 1) I haven’t reflected on these sort of issues and 2) all it takes is reflection on a desire to come to believe in a god. The first assumption is obviously wrong and the second shows the theist’s ignorance: I want evidence, not a belief motivated by fear.

Honestly. The logical argument is that people have fear and seek to soothe that feeling; religion makes sense in light of this fact (though it needs far more than that to explain it). The theist, however, then tries to turn logic on its head and say that fear is somehow a sensation put in place by some religion’s god and that’s why we feel it. Such shenanigans completely circumvent the whole giving-evidence-for-one’s-beliefs thing – it is such a nuisance for believers, after all.

The whole crazy argument is a Field of Dreams sort of fantasy: If you desire it, truth will come.

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