I am very much aware of the more famous atheists like Russell, Flynt, Turner, Hitchens, Dawkins, Hocking, Woody Allen and others ; but I was surprised to come across a blog that mentions a few that I did not know about. I realize that many blogs are about as reliable as reading chicken bones, but it did mention a few other atheists that I was surprised to find out about.
In Hollywood, such notable atheists are George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Jodie Foster, Keanu Reeves, Ricky Gervais, Eddie Izzard, Marlon Brando, Bruce Lee, Jack Nicholson, Ingmar Bergman, Peter Fonda, Kevin Kline and a few others that I never heard of. Movie Directors Woody Allen, David Cronenburg, Mike Leigh, Steven Soderbergh, Jean Luc Goddard all class themselves as atheists. Musicians who choose to define themselves as atheists include: Eddie Vedder, Bob Geldof, Barry Manilow, Billy Joel, Gary Newman, Henry Rollins, Brian Eno, and others whose names I am not familiar with. In The World Of Business, entrepreneur Richard Branson, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffet, George Soros and Larry Flint are also atheist. Authors Douglas Adams, Issac Asimov, Noam Chomsky, Arthur Miller, Salman Rushdie, Iain M Banks, all make this claim to fame as well.
Some of these names of the celebrity atheists may come as a surprise to you as they did to me, but from their own lips they claim with locker-room bravado that they are avowed atheists.
We have all heard of Jesse (the mouth) Ventura, former governor of Minnesota, who once said, “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.” He could use a little numerical strength himself right now. Agreeing with him is pornographer Larry Flynt, who commented, “There’s nothing good I can say about it [religion]. People use it as a crutch.” I am sure that many others like them view Christians as being emotionally unstable and thus need imaginary support to get through life. Their insinuation is of course that they themselves are strong and in no need God to help them with their lives.
Such charges and accusations bring a number of questions: Is there any truth to it? And last, how does the Bible respond to such assertions?
Is Faith In God A Crutch? – The Impact of Freud!
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian neurologist who founded the practice of psychoanalysis, a system espousing the theory that unconscious motives dictate much of human behavior. He was also a champion for atheism. However, Freud admitted that the truth of religion could not be disproved and admitted that religious faith has provided comfort for untold numbers of people down through history. Nonetheless, Freud thought the concept of God as illusionary. In one of his religious works, The Future of an Illusion, he wrote, “They [believers] give the name of ‘God’ to some vague abstraction which they have created for themselves.”
Why do we lesser-lights-of-intelligence create such illusions? Freud believed there were two basic reasons:
(1)People of faith create a god because they have strong wishes and hopes within them that act as comfort against the harshness of life; (2) The idea of God comes from the need for an idyllic father figure that eclipses either a non-existent or imperfect real father in the life of a religiously-minded person. In other words, God is just a man made wish-fulfillment.
Freud wrote, “They [religious beliefs] are illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent wishes of mankind. …” Religion is for us weak-kneed folk who do not have enough emotional fortitude to face the harsh realities of life. Strangely enough, that is what I always thought about atheists and their beliefs; they are no more than wish-fulfillments for those who do not have enough spinal fortitude to face the reality of accountability to an all holy God. Robert Pirsig, an American writer and philosopher who typifies Freud’s followers, has said, “When one person suffers from a delusion, it’s called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it’s called religion.”
Strangely enough that is what I always thought about the religion of atheism; it’s a delusion that borders on insanity.
Examining the Claims of the Crutch Crowd
The first thing to recognize is what those making the assertions are claiming; that as skeptics they are not prone to psychological and wish-fulfillments themselves. Could it not be that Freud himself had an emotional need for a father figure to exist? Could it not be that Freud had an outworking of wish-fulfillment that manifested in not wanting a Holy God and judgment in the afterlife to exist, a wish for hell not to be real? Freud did have to confess; “The bad part of it, especially for me, lies in the fact that science of all things seems to demand the existence of a God.” This parallels with the thinking of atheist Professor/Philosopher Thomas Nagel who once said, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and naturally hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope that there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
The Big Questions for the Crutch Crowd.
Why would weak people invent a God of justice and judgment and hell and holiness? Why would they believe that all people are sinners and totally unable to please God by the imperfect lives that they live. That doesn’t sound like warm-fuzzy –escapist-thinking that most people want to hear
That side of Christianity is not comforting. That side of Christianity can scare the heebie-jeebies out of you. You would logically think that weak people would create a milk-toast, puddin-pie, wax nose, weak as water, living in a house of flowers, god. But even a casual look at the cardinal beliefs of Christianity will show you that the opposite is true. The atheism of men like Freud and Russell and Sagan, Dawkins, Hitchens , some of the Hollywood crowd etc… sounds like a whole lot of psychological-self-fulfillment -wish-thinking-get-me -away-from -it all-escapism to me.
Another Lingering Question that just won’t go away for me is; Why do so many millions of people who were once atheists or agnostics or total enemies God, turn to Him with such enthusiasm? These are people who down through the years ran from Him as fast as they could. But eventually they were forced to look at life from both sides and the overwhelming evidence pointed them back to Him. Now they live in Realityville, Literalville not Escapeville. Perception is not reality. Reality is reality. And that is where they now live.
English scholar C. S. Lewis was one such person. Lewis is famous for saying there was no more reluctant convert in all of England than himself, that he was literally dragged kicking and screaming into the faith, which is hardly a statement that one would expect from a person engaged in a wish-fulfillment fantasy.
What Does The Bible Have To Say To The Crutch Crowd?
There are three core responses that the Bible makes to the claim that people have invented the idea of God as a crutch for themselves.
First, the Bible says that God created people for Himself and designed humankind to naturally desire a relationship with Him. Of this fact, Augustine wrote, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” The Bible says that humankind is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). This being true, isn’t it reasonable to believe that we would feel a desire for God because we have been created with this desire? Shouldn’t a divine magnetic connection, a cry for relationship exist between creature and creator? I\Why it’s as natural as breathing in your sleep.
Second, the Bible says that people actually act in the reverse way from that which atheists claim. The Bible states that humankind is in rebellion against God and naturally pushes Him away instead of running to Him.
Romans 1:18–22 nails to the mast in easy to understand words the measure of our reluctance to find the truth.
“God’s anger is shown from heaven against all the evil and wrong things people do. By their own evil lives they hide the truth.19 God shows his anger because some knowledge of him has been made clear to them. Yes, God has shown himself to them.20 There are things about him that people cannot see—his eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand by what God has made. So people have no excuse for the bad things they do.21 They knew God, but they did not give glory to God or thank him. Their thinking became useless. Their foolish minds were filled with darkness.22 They said they were wise, but they became fools.”
The evidence of God is all around us but some cannot find him for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman. They ain’t looking!
Third, the Bible itself states that life is difficult, hardships are common, and a fear of death is experienced by all. These are truths that are easily seen in the world around us. The Bible also says that God is there to help us get through hard times and assures us that Jesus has overcome the fear of death. Jesus Himself said,
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I.” John 16:33
God personally cares for us. He died to save us from the penalty of our sins and give us peace with him. He rose again from the dead so that one day we may live eternally with Him. That is comfort and that is reality born historical fact not wishful thinking
(Some helpful Bible verses; Galatians 6:2; I Peter 5:6-7; Matthew 11: 28-30; I Corinthians 15:20; Hebrews 2: 14-15.)
Is Christianity A Crutch?
Yes! In one sense Christianity is a crutch. We are all crippled and brought low from time to time and we need crutches to get us through. Sometimes we may even need a life support machine, maybe even a defibrillator to bring us back to life.
Atheists, nonbelievers use crutches all the time. But theirs often take the form of drugs or alcohol, or hedonism or narcissism, or a fantasy world of soap operas, virtual worlds, games, or the hope of science discovering life on another planet or even man ushering in his own utopia. It’s all a touchy-feely grand delusion
As one of my favorite authors Alister McGrath put it this way; “If belief in God was a response to a human longing for security, might it not also be argued that atheism was a response to the human desire for autonomy?”
However, Jesus Christ is more than a crutch. A crutch just props you up, Jesus Christ is eternal life, resurrection life, the way the truth the life, a solid foundation beneath your feet.
One Day every Knee shall bow before Him:
Every president, every premier, every prime minister, every preacher, every prophet every parent, every philosopher, every philanthropist, every physician, every pharaoh, every king, every judge, every lawyer, every general, every scientist, every explorer, every entrepreneur, every hall of famer, every actor, every artist, every atheist, every hero, every martyr, every musician, , you, your spouse and your family.
Why Not Bow before Him Right Now and Invite Him Into Your Heart.
He’s Only a Prayer Away!