Elizabeth King wrote an interesting article for The Washington Post in early February 2016. An atheist she states in the title: “I’m an atheist. So why can’t I shake God?
King says she grew up in a Christian home with her mom and step dad. She called herself a born-again Christian who went to Church twice a week.
But that all changed when she turned 16 and she began to question all things God and Biblical. In the end she seems to blame her youth pastors who were unable to provide satisfactory answers as to why homosexuality was a sin or why premarital sex was wrong.
From these unanswered questions, King slowly graduated to becoming a full-blown atheist.
But psychologist Paul Vitz has a different opinion on what causes atheism. In 1999, he wrote a controversial book, Faith of the Fathers: The Psychology of Atheism. He believes that people’s atheism is based on a person’s relationship with their father. Poor or absent fathers create many atheists, he believes.
In his book, he delves into the lives of many prominent atheists such as Madalyn Murray O’Hair and Voltaire who came from very abusive homes.
In an interview with Religion News, Vitz said, “We need to understand atheism has a lot to do with our emotional attitudes towards life, other people and a lot of other things. I think that is an important thing for atheists and believers alike to take into consideration.”
Vitz does not say every atheist has a poor relationship with their father, but he has seen it enough to suspect a correlation.
Nor can we say this is King’s problem, as other than living with her step-dad, she doesn’t say anything about her relationship with her biological father.
For ten years, King embraced atheism.
But in this article she expressed her frustration because though she had shaken God, it appears God has not shaken her.
King complains that she still thinks about God.
“God lingers with me, somehow God has found a way to stick around in my mind,” King says. “The idea of God pesters me and makes me think that maybe I’m not as devoted to my beliefs as I’d like to think I am and would like to be.”
She adds during times of frustration she often asks God why things are happening the way they are. She has even uttered prayers when her airplane flight gets a bit rocky.
Atheists shouldn’t do that.
To explain her dilemma, she cites research by a Washington University Professor Pascal Boyer who says that believing in God is embedded in all of us. It is just there. We can’t escape it. And he is not alone, others have pointed to a God belief inside of each of us.
King even cites a survey by Pew Research that stated 8% of atheists admitted they still believed in God. Due to this inherent belief, King concludes it is hard work to be an atheist.
Some like Christian Astronomer Dr. Jason Lisle argues that since everyone, including “atheists,” intuitively understand that God exists, this is evidence of God’s existence. They must purposefully suppress the truth to maintain their atheistic beliefs.
That of course makes sense, since at the beginning God created all of us to commune with our Heavenly Father. Because of God’s desire for a relationship He instilled in each of us a natural link to God.
But can King escape God simply by refusing not to believe in Him. She even admits that in the midst of her atheism, God is still present.
In some ways she is reminiscent of King David who in his struggles and horrific sin escapades asks:
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me. (Psalm 139:7-10 NASV)
God still desires a relationship with Elizabeth King and though she has left God, He has not left her.
- I’m an atheist. So why can’t I shake God? The Washington Post
- Professing atheist: Impossible to escape subconscious awareness of God’s presence: Christian News
- Did your absentee father make you an atheists? Washington Post