But I Really Want It (And I'll Distort Reality to Get It)!

child pointing

One of the most frustrating aspects of growing up has to be the realization that one is not going to get everything one wants and that this will be true no matter how badly one wants it. We're all familiar with the image of the young child with hand outstretched toward the object of his or her desire, shrieking, "But I want it!" Below a certain age, the child does not understand that wanting something badly is no guarantee that he or she will get it. It is also not a sufficient justification for why one should get it. Some of us outgrow this; some do not.

Maybe this isn't entirely fair, but I sometimes see the Christian as having something in common with the demanding child. No, I wouldn't apply this to all self-identified Christians. After all, I am convinced that many Christians do not believe much of what they claim to believe. But for those who do, I cannot help but see some parallels to the child.

The "bible believing" Christian not only wants what he or she wants but is willing to distort reality in order to get it. John Loftus (Debunking Christianity) addressed this recently, writing:

It's argued that I reject Christianity because I prefer to live my life apart from God. Balderdash! Do I really prefer to live in a universe that is cold and uncaring, having only blind indifference to me as a human being in which I can count on no divine help from outside of it, and no hope of an eternal life with my loved ones? Not a chance.

He's right. We atheists may want to wallow in the narcissism entailed by belief in a personal god who grants immortality, but we aren't willing to distort reality to get there. We may enjoy our fantasies, but we recognize them as fantasies and do not try to inhabit them as if they reflected reality. We have learned that wanting something to be the case does not make it so and that belief does not equal truth.