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In my interaction with militant nonbelievers, it has become apparent that, for many, atheism provides a false sense of intelligence.

atheism provides a false sense of intelligence

Photo by Jennifer Boyer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I have noticed in my interaction with many nonbelievers that is seems that atheism provides a false sense of intelligence. That is, many people seem to acquire this bizarre sense of intellectual pride about the ability to point to “science,” as proof of their intellectual bona fides against religious individuals.

The irony, of course, is that frequently—though, of course, not always—such people tend not to be the sharpest tools in the shed, making their arguments with memes or other trite phenomena of the social media age, rather than with the actual reason they claim to espouse

Why Is This?

As I have contemplated this phenomenon, I often consider why this is.

On the one hand, I certainly understand the difficulty of belief. I am naturally intellectually inclined toward atheism myself, and I have to make a conscious choice to believe. So, those who do not believe are in a position I can readily understand.

I freely recognize that there are very reasonable, very compelling cases to be made against the existence of God. 

(As a side note, though, governmental use of religion throughout history as a justification for grievous behavior is not one of them. The fanatically atheist and genocidal communist regimes of the 20th century should have disabused us of that notion. If anything, religion has provided a check against, not been an enabler of, the natural inclination to use power for evil.)

It’s the arrogance of some atheists, however, that has prompted much contemplation. There is something about being able to tell yourself that you see clearly while everyone else is blind that no doubt provides a boost to the ego. As the saying goes, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

I think that is the situation, for many atheism provides a false sense of intelligence, a false sense of superiority. It provides a means through which some can boost their own self-worth.

A False Sense of Intelligence

I think that I can appreciate that. The militant atheist, like the militant religious fundamentalist, is looking for meaning, for a sense of self-value. Approaching believers with the arrogant self-assurance that they know better can provide just that.

This contrasts sharply with the humble atheist, which, although they have come to a different conclusion than a significant number of believers, nonetheless admit they are traveling on the same journey.

So, for the Richard Dawkins of the world—and his much less intelligent minions—perhaps kindness and humility are in order.

I frankly don’t know if God exists, and I readily admit that my choice to believe in God may, in fact, be the wrong one. But, I believe nonetheless, not because I am smart or think I know more than anyone else, but because when push came to shove, I choose to submit before a call to truth that I sensed to be much greater than myself.

Sure, atheism can provide a false sense of intelligence, just as religion can give a false sense of wisdom. The reality remains, however, that atheist and believer alike cannot know. And that is the journey, the adventure, on which we have all embarked.

Categories: Faith


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