Causes of atheism

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There are a number of reasonable explanations for the causes of atheism:

1. Moral depravity: The history of the atheist community and various studies concerning the atheist community point to moral depravity being a causal factor for atheism.[1] In addition, there is the historical matter of deceit being used in a major way to propagate atheism from the time of Charles Darwin onward. Also, Bible exegesis points to the moral depravity of atheists. Moral depravity is certainly one of the prime causes of atheism. Francis Thompson wrote: "Maybe the atheist cannot find God for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman." (see also: Atheism and morality )

2. Hatred towards God. Angry, bitter and juvenile attacks on Christianity and Christians are due to hatred towards Jesus Christ and the Bible.[2][3]

3. Atheistic upbringing. However, according to recent research by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in the United States, a majority of those surveyed who were raised in atheist or agnostic households, or where there was no specific religious attachment, later chose to join a religious faith.[4][5] A notable example, of a person raised in a atheistic household who later became a Christian is William J. Murray. Mr. Murray was raised by Madalyn Murray O'Hair who founded the organization American Atheists. In addition, Christianity is experiencing rapid growth in atheistic communist China and has experienced rapid growth in former communist countries. [6][7][8]

4. Rebellion: Atheism stems from a deliberate choice to ignore the reality of God's existence [9] Dinesh D'Souza declared: "Look at Satan's reason for rebelling against God. It's not that he doesn't recognize that God is greater than he is. He does. It's just that he doesn't want to play by anybody else's rules. This idea that it is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven is Satan's motto, and it turns out that this is also the motto of contemporary atheists such as Christopher Hitchens." [10]

5. Hedonism.[11] The Apostle Paul wrote that in the end times, men would be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4). See: Atheism and hedonism

6. Naiveté/Gullibility: Many atheists have embraced a number of far fetched, unworkable, and errant notions and ideologies such as communism, abiogenesis, and evolution despite abundant evidence of their falsity. See also: Causes of evolutionary belief

7. Irrational thinking: As noted earlier, a comprehensive study by Baylor University found that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.[12] Also, as noted above, a 1980 study published in the magazine Skeptical Inquirer found irreligious college students to be by far the most likely to embrace paranormal beliefs, while born again Christian college students were found to be the least likely.[13]

8. Superficiality: Noted ex-atheist and psychologist Dr. Paul Vitz has stated that he had superficial reasons for becoming an atheist such as the desire to be accepted by his Stanford University professors who were united in disbelief regarding God.[14]

evolution darwin theory
Late in Charles Darwin's life, Darwin told the Duke of Argyll that he frequently had overwhelming thoughts that the natural world was the result of design.[15] In a letter to Asa Gray, Darwin confided: "...I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science."[16] See: Irreligion and superstition and Religious views of Charles Darwin

9. Error: Some argue that atheism partly stems from a failure to fairly and judiciously consider the facts [17]

10. State churches: In regards to the causes of atheism, rates of atheism are much higher in countries with a state sanctioned religion (such as many European countries), and lower in states without a sanctioned religion (such as the United States). Some argue this is because state churches become bloated, corrupt, and/or out of touch with the religious intuitions of the population, while churches independent of the state are leaner and more adaptable. It is important to distinguish "state-sanctioned churches," where participation is voluntary, from "state-mandated churches" (such as Saudi Arabia) with much lower atheism rates because publicly admitted atheism is punishable by death. [18]

11. Self-deception[19]

12. Satanic deception [20] (see also: Atheism and satanic deception )

13. Poor relationship with father: Some argue that a troubled/non-existent relationship with a father may influence one of the causes of atheism.[21] Dr. Paul Vitz wrote a book entitled Faith of the Fatherless in which he points out that after studying the lives of more than a dozen leading atheists he found that a large majority of them had a father who was present but weak, present but abusive, or absent.[22][23] Dr. Vitz also examined the lives of prominent theists who were contemporaneous to their atheist counterparts and from the same culture and in every instance these prominent theists had a good relationship with his father.[24] Dr. Vitz has also stated other common factors he observed in the leading atheists he profiled: they were all intelligent and arrogant.[25]

14. Division in religion: According to Francis Bacon, atheism is caused by "divisions in religion, if they be many; for any one main division addeth zeal to both sides, but many divisions introduce atheism." [26]

15. Learned times, peace, and prosperity: Francis Bacon argued that atheism was partly caused by "Learned times, specially with peace and prosperity; for troubles and adversities do more bow men’s minds to religion."[27]

Jewish columnist Dennis Prager has stated that one of the causes of atheism is the "secular indoctrination of a generation." [28] Prager stated that "From elementary school through graduate school, only one way of looking at the world – the secular – is presented. The typical individual in the Western world receives as secular an indoctrination as the typical European received a religious one in the Middle Ages."[29] In addition, in communist countries (such as the former Soviet Union) atheistic indoctrination occurred in the educational system through such venues as schools, atheist museums, and clubs.[30][31] Atheists and secularists rarely point out that universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, and many others were founded by Christians.[32][33]

See also: Does atheism thrive on economic prosperity and religion prosper when people are desperate and ignorant?

Gustave Doré's depiction of Satan from John Milton's Paradise Lost. See: Atheism and deception and Atheism and satanic deception

16. Negative experiences with theists.

17. Scientism: Science has in many ways become a new god. [34]

See Also

Other articles relating to atheism:

External Links


  1. Christopher Hitchens: Staring Death in the Face And the difference that Biblical Creation makes!
  2. The Argument for Atheism from Immaturity
  8. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse..." —Romans 1:19-20 (NKJV)
  9. The Apologist, An Interview with Dinesh D'Souza, Author of What's So Great About Christianity by Marcia Segelstein
  10. Why do atheists hate God?
  16. "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere--'Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,' as Herbert says, 'fine nets and stratagems.' God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous." -- C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy.
  18. Atheism - Satanic deception and self-deception
  19. Atheism - Satanic deception and self-deception
  21. Vitz, Paul, The Psychology of Atheism, September 24, 1997 (lecture notes taken by an audience member).
  22. Anders, Kerby, Atheists and Their Fathers (Probe Ministries)
  33. Why Atheism?