Denials that atheists exist

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The Encyclopedia Britanica (Edinborough 1771) in its article on atheism declared; "Many people both ancient and modern have pretended to atheism or have been reckoned atheists by the world, but it is justly questioned whether any man seriously adopted such a principle. These pretentions therefore must be founded on pride or affection."[1]

It has been asserted by various theists that atheists do not exist. Sir Francis Bacon wrote in his essay Of Atheism: "The Scripture saith, The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God; it is not said, The fool hath thought in his heart; so as he rather saith it, by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it....It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip, than in the heart of man."[2]

In addition, Christian philosophers and apologists Dr. Cornelius Van Til and Dr. Greg Bahnsen argued there are no atheists and that atheists are actively suppressing their belief and knowledge of God and enigmatically engage in self-deception.[3] The English poet Edward Young wrote in his famous work Night Thoughts that "By night, an atheist half-believes a God."[4] See also: Atheism and presuppositional apologetics

The Christian Cyclopedia states regarding atheism: "It is not possible for a man to be an atheist, in the commonly accepted sense, in his innermost conviction. No amount of reasoning will erase from the human heart the God-given conviction that there is a Supreme Being; those who theoretically deny God's existence replace Him with something else."[5]

J.W. Wartick wrote in his article The Unbeliever Knows God: Presuppositional Apologetics and Atheism:

"[A]ll men already know God–long before the apologist engages them in conversation–and cannot avoid having such knowledge… People lack neither information nor evidence… [A]ll men know that God exists… In a crucial sense, all men already are “believers”–even “unbelievers” who will not respond properly by openly professing and living obediently in accordance with the knowledge they have of God." (Greg Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, 179-180, emphasis his, cited below).

One crucial point of presuppositional apologetics is that even the unbelieving atheist really does know God. All people have knowledge of God. None can turn from it, none can escape it: everyone knows God. This knowledge is not saving knowledge. Instead, it is knowledge which is suppressed. The knowledge is ignored or even reviled. The quote above from the famed presuppositionalist Greg Bahnsen is just one example. C.L. Bolt, a popularizer of presuppositional apologetics, says similarly:

It is in the things that have been created that God is clearly perceived. This perception is, again, so clear, that people have no excuse. Not only do all of us believe in God, but we know God. (C.L. Bolt, cited below)

What are we to make of this claim? What is the point from the presuppositionalist perspective? The claim is firmly rooted in Paul’s discussion of God’s wrath against evil in Romans 1-2 (see the text at the end of this post). Therefore, it behooves all Christians to reflect upon the notion that God is known to all people. Presuppositional Apologists have done much reflecting on these subjects, and here we shall reflect upon their insights.

It is important to outline what exactly it is that this knowledge is supposed to be. Greg Bahnsen notes in Van Til’s Apologetic that the claim is, in part, that “[all people/unbelievers] ‘have evidence’ that justifies the belief that [God] exists”.[6]

A famous phrase, most often attributed to journalist Ernie Pyle, states, "There are no atheists in foxholes."[7] Although this aphorism has a narrow context (military personnel serving in active duty) and is not always meant to be taken literally, there is at least some truth to it. It shows that it is human nature to look to some higher power for assistance, strength, comfort, or guidance in times of great need.

Atheists on online forums have stated that they would not be Christian even if Christianity were true, showing that atheism stems from a hatred, not disbelief, of God.[8][9]

Quotes from science journals and science magazines about men being predisposed to faith

See also: Atheism Quotes

" “A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith.” - Pascal Boyer, in the British science journal Nature [10]

“Atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think. … They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.” - Graham Lawton in the New Scientist science magazine [11]

Emotional reactions of atheists may reveal echoes of belief

See also: Atheists doubting the validity of atheism and Atheism and emotional problems

The Pacific Standard reported:

A recently published study from Finland finds that even atheists have a hard time asking God to harm their loved ones.

The heads and hearts of atheists may not be on precisely the same page. That’s the implication of recently published research from Finland, which finds avowed non-believers become emotionally aroused when daring God to do terrible things.

“The results imply that atheists’ attitudes toward God are ambivalent, in that their explicit beliefs conflict with their affective response,” concludes a research team led by University of Helsinki psychologist Marjaana Lindeman. Its study is published in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion.[12]

Atheism, hatred of God and denials that God exists

See also: Atheism and hatred of God and Atheism and its retention rate in individuals

The Christian evangelist Ray Comfort contends that atheists hate God because they know that He does exist.[13]

Comfort declared in 2009: "Atheists don't hate fairies, leprauchans or unicorns because they don't exist. It is impossible to hate something that doesn't exist. And that makes the point."[14]

In debates with atheists, the popular Christian YouTube video maker Shockofgod often asks atheists the loaded question, "Is God evil?". Invariably, so-called atheists quickly say yes. Then Shockofgod informs the "atheist" that they admitted that God exists.[15] Shockofgod also declares that Christians never accuse leprechauns of being evil because they know they don't exist.[16]

Don Batten of Creation Ministries International wrote:

Recently, I have had a lot of conversations with atheists. Many express a strong hatred of God. I have been at a loss to explain this. How can you hate someone you don’t believe in? Why the hostility? If God does not exist, shouldn’t atheists just relax and seek a good time before they become plant food? Why should it matter if people believe in God? Nothing matters if atheism is true[17]

The Christian evangelist Ray Comfort contends that atheists hate God because they know that He does exist.[18] Comfort declared in 2009: "Atheists don't hate fairies, leprauchans or unicorns because they don't exist. It is impossible to hate something that doesn't exist. And that makes the point."[19]

Jennifer LeClaire, a news editor at Charisma News wrote:

Atheists don’t believe God exists, so why do they get so angry when Christians call them out for it?...

Atheism is rooted in an antichrist spirit that has made man his own God. Atheists have separated themselves from God in this life, yet He still blesses them with an opportunity to repent every day. In the next life—eternal life—atheists won’t be so brazen about insisting God doesn’t exist because they will bow their knee to Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:10; Rom. 14:11) before spending forever apart from His presence in the lake of fire. Calling Christians nasty names and insulting God isn’t going to change that or stop Christians from sharing their faith.

I would challenge every atheist who is reading this article to truly seek God with an open mind. I guarantee if you open your heart, ask Him to reveal Himself to you, and seek Him sincerely, you will find Him.[20]

Creation vs. evolution issue

See also: Atheism and purpose

Also, in the 1970s atheists/agnostics/evolutionists suffered hundreds of losses in creation vs. evolution debates on college and university campuses and other public venues. As a result, prominent evolutionists are reluctant to debate scientists who are creationists (see: Creation vs. evolution debates).[21][22][23] Also, less prominent evolutionists are reluctant to debate Darwinism skeptics who are very knowledgeable on creation vs. evolution issue.[24] Consequently, creationists have asserted that various atheists/agnostics are merely haters of God and atheist/agnostic/evolutionist poseurs.[25][26]

Research and historical data indicate that atheists/agnostics often see the world and their lives as being the product of purposeful design (see: Atheism and purpose).[27]

For more information please see:

See also

External articles


  1. [The Repressive Denials of Atheism in Britain in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries] by David Berman, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature Vol. 82C (1982), pp. 211-246. Published by: Royal Irish Academy
  3. Van Til and Self-deception by Dr. Greg Bahnsen
  6. The Unbeliever Knows God: Presuppositional Apologetics and Atheism by J.W. Wartick
  7. Malin, Don. "Military Chaplains and Religious Pluralism." Watchman Fellowship.
  10. Graham Lawton in the New Scientist
  11. Graham Lawton in the New Scientist
  13. Evangelist: Atheists know they are wrong
  14. Evangelist: Atheists know they are wrong
  15. Atheist loses debate to theist & admits God exists
  16. Atheist loses debate to theist & admits God exists
  17. Atheists hate God
  18. Evangelist: Atheists know they are wrong
  19. Evangelist: Atheists know they are wrong
  20. [Why Do Atheists Get So Angry When Christians Talk About Their Unbelief?] by Jennifer LeClaire, Charisma News, 12:30PM EST 11/22/2013
  21. Reason or Rhetoric by Henry Morris, PhD
  22. Reason or Rhetoric by Henry Morris, PhD
  23. Ankerberg, John, and Weldon, John, Truth in Advertising: Damaging the Cause of Science
  24. Naive evolutionists, evolutionist poseurs and the headlights of the Question Evolution! Campaign
  25. Is Richard Dawkins an atheist
  26. Naive evolutionists, evolutionist poseurs and the headlights of the Question Evolution! Campaign
    • Does everything happen for a reason?, New York Times, October 17, 2014
    • Children see the world as designed by David Catchpoole, Creation Ministries International, Published: 16 July 2009
    • Atheist Jean-Paul Sartre made the candid confession: "As for me, I don’t see myself as so much dust that has appeared in the world but as a being that was expected, prefigured, called forth. In short, as a being that could, it seems, come only from a creator; and this idea of a creating hand that created me refers me back to God. Naturally this is not a clear, exact idea that I set in motion every time I think of myself. It contradicts many of my other ideas; but it is there, floating vaguely. And when I think of myself I often think rather in this way, for wont of being able to think otherwise." Source: Escape from God: The Use of Religion and Philosophy to Evade Responsibility By Dean Turner, page 109
    • The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy declares: "In 1885, the Duke of Argyll recounted a conversation he had had with Charles Darwin the year before Darwin's death: In the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilization of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms, and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature — I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of Mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin's answer. He looked at me very hard and said, 'Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,' and he shook his head vaguely, adding, 'it seems to go away.'(Argyll 1885, 244)Notes to Teleological Arguments for God's Existence