Many of you know that there is a controversial bus ad that reads “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Many Christians and other theists are upset by these ads. However, the ads don’t bother me at all. I, too, don’t believe in the atheists’ god. In fact, I have good news for atheists the world over: You are not alone. Most Christians don’t believe your god exists.
The god that the atheists do not believe in is also a god that most Christians don’t believe in (I say most because there are many misinformed, ignorant and just plain superstitious Christians who believe in all sorts of things that are not necessarily Christian). The atheists’ god is a god that induces worry, such worry that those who believe in him/her/it do not enjoy their lives. All one has to do is look at the empirical evidence–as atheists are wont to do–to confirm that the atheists’ god is not the God of most Christians. According to a 2007 Gallup poll those who attend church weekly are more likely to be “very satisfied” with their lives than those who don’t. Of course there are other factors, but committed participation in worship is one common aspect of the lives of those who are not worried but are enjoying their lives.
Atheists deserve our pity. Like those inoculated against small pox, atheists have conceived in themselves a dead god, and thus have been inoculated against “catching” the Real One. Of course, it is probably the fault of the Christians that so much dead-god serum is out there. Certainly one thing Christians can do to help our atheist neighbours is not to be so affronted by their attacks on a god that Christians also don’t believe exists. If I didn’t know God and only conceived of god as someone/something that makes people worry and not enjoy their lives, then I would want to denounce this god too.
Therefore let me encourage my readers, the next time you meet an atheist, don’t worry but enjoy the conversation. You probably don’t believe in the same god the atheist doesn’t believe in.