Many years ago, when I was a young tsundoku, I used to be an atheist. At one point in my life I had a spiritual experience that turned me from an atheist into a former atheist, but even though I no longer shared their worldview, I would not shy away with discussing theology with atheists. I found it an interesting pasttime, they’d teach me stuff, I wouldn’t teach them stuff, and most of the time we’d either leave at a mutually respectful stalemate or a less respectful stalemate. What I will say is that they never managed to win an argument with me, even though they thought they did.
Atheists, for all of their vaunted logical prowess, are pants at debating. The reason, of course, is that they think everything is a debate, when, frankly, it isn’t.
After a few of those unproductive discussions, I felt that I had learned what I needed to from them, and I began ignoring them, a practice which I have continued to this very day, I will no longer discuss theology with an atheist, I will no longer debate with an atheist, and I will no longer listen to the arguments of an atheist.
The reason for this isn’t lack of respect. I respect atheists, I respect their arguments, and I even respect their viewpoints. I will even state categorically that, with only a few exceptions, what an atheist believes (I deliberately do not say “knows”, because any atheist who tells you absolutely there is no God is an idiot) is just as valid as what I believe. In fact, between two respectful and intellectually honest debaters, one of whom is an atheist and one who is not, the outcome – and the predictable outcome, is a stalemate.
And that is why I won’t discuss it anymore.
Ultimately, an atheist’s worldview is, with one or two excpetions, just as explanatory as my spiritual worldview. Any explanation I can come up with for why there is a God can be countered with an equally valid answer as to why there isn’t one. And then, after hours of discussion, we’ll just end up agreeing to disagree and moving on with life. No minds will be changed as God cannot be sought through logic, nor can he be destroyed, as any God who can be destroyed through logic was no God in the first place. The argument is a waste of time, as what we are actually debating is two different, mutually exclusive, and self-consistent worldviews.
I believe there is a God because I’ve met him and talked with him. Others have not had that experience that they are aware of, so they are atheists. And that bridge will not be crossed through reason, arguments, and logic. An atheist has about as much chance of convincing me there is no God as I do of convincing them there is one. And unless God reveals himself, there’s really no point in my trying to force that introduction.
Now if an atheist is curious about what I believe and why, I’ll share. It’s the least obligation I have. But I’m not curious as to why an atheists believes what they do, or why. I’ve heard it all, I’ve considered it all, I even agree with a lot of it, but at the end of the day, God exists. And it will be impossible to reason me out of that conclusion, as it wasn’t reason that brought me to that conclusion in the first place.
It’s just what I choose to believe, just as God not existing is what an atheist chooses to believe, and at the end of the day, that’s just how it’s going to be. I have no love for God, to be honest. Many of the criticisms atheists level against God (not all, as some are just stupid) are valid and need to be addressed honestly. But not liking God is not an argument for his nonexistence, it’s just an argument about his character, and that’s an entirely different discussion that I’m far more inclined to have.
So as far as I’m concerned, atheists can continue to be atheists. They can use logic and reason to develop a functional, if insufficient, worldview, and more power to them. But I’m no longer interested in having that conversation.