Question: There are a number of popular books asserting the denial of God’s existence. Two of the better known are God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. When you read these books, you are exposed to an enormous amount of vitriol, active hatred towards theists, Christians in particular. Why are atheists so angry?
Over the Christmas holidays I had a chance to read The Rage Against God by Peter Hitchens. (This was a present from my lovely wife, Sue.) Peter Hitchens is a journalist, author, essayist and speaker who has become quite well-known for his articulate defense of the Christian faith and traditional moral views. He is also an ex-atheist, and the brother of the Christopher Hitchens mentioned in the question.
In The Rage Against God Hitchens discusses his own personal journey from atheism to faith. It is a fascinating read. He also addresses some of the main arguments that atheists use against belief in God. But the main contention of his work is revealed by the title, and answers our question: Why are atheists so angry? Hitchens makes the point that atheists may assert the point that God does not exist, but they do not leave the matter there. For they quite often then attack with great viciousness anyone who espouses belief in God. They are adamant that they are right, and that anyone who disagrees with them is not only wrong, but is a moronic, non-thinking, irrational cretin. They are not against belief in God, they are against anyone who chooses to believe in God. They are enraged that anyone would actually dare to question them and their arguments.
Both Dawkins and C. Hitchens go so far in their rage that they insist that parents, churches or schools who teach children about religion, faith and God are actually guilty of child abuse. Dawkins has even stated in interviews that a child molester is far less of a criminal than parents who train their children in religious education. Talk about rage!
Peter Hitchens makes some insightful comments on this emotional stance of the atheists. He basically says that atheists are largely motivated by fear. They may posit that God does not exist, and they may truly believe this. But at the same time, they live in terror at the very idea that He could exist. The bottom line is this: If there is a God, then each of us is morally accountable for our actions, and we must answer to the Deity for what we do in this life. This concept frightens the atheist to the core of his being. Therefore, their terror motivates them to not only deny God’s existence, but to maliciously attack anyone who does believe in God.
Sound familiar? It should. In Psalm 53:1 the Scriptures declare that it is the fool who says there is no God. This psalm then goes on to speak of these people living in great fear (v. 5). The truth is, we know God does exist. And we do fear Him, but with the reverential, respectful fear of a child towards his father. The atheist has nothing but absolute terror towards a Deity he has rejected and denied.