Do Atheists honestly disbelieve in God?

I recently got into a discussion with a Calvinist friend of mine as to whether it is possible that an atheist, deep down in his heart, could actually believe that God does not exist. He said that every atheist actually does believe in God, deep down, and he pointed out a scripture passage (I forget the reference) which basically said that those who don’t believe in God are without excuse for their unbelief. I agreed that they are without excuse, as God has revealed his existence in many ways to all (General revelation: Nature, etc.), but I also pointed out that this is not that same issue as truly believing whether God exists or not. The passage deals with culpability, not knowledge alone. Example: An 11th grader could be illiterate and have no excuse for being so,(i.e. he’s at fault for it) but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s still illiterate. I argued that an atheist could actually honestly not believe. I thought that what my friend was saying was a Calvinist thing, but I’m not 100% sure. So my question is: what does the Catholic Church teach on this? Could an Atheist have deluded himself to a point at which he honestly, in his heart, believes that there is no God? Or does every atheist really know that God exists and is just rebelling against Him?

Thank you in advance for your replies.

Might I suggest that you ask the question on an atheist site.

You know discussion of atheism is prohibited here, right? If/When this thread gets locked, that’s why. See the message pinned at the top of this forum for more details.

Oh… I did not see that message… Could my thread be posted somewhere else?

Yes, yes…Atheists really believe there isn’t a God.

But most are open to new, good evidence to the contrary if it surfaces.

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There are honest atheists, and dishonest ones.

Some have in fact thought their way into atheism; others are atheists for emotional reasons.

=DaddyGirl;11872546]Yes, yes…Atheists really believe there isn’t a God.

Uh-huh…:wink:

But most are open to new, good evidence to the contrary if it surfaces.

Most??? :ehh:

Why is discussion of atheism prohibited? I didn’t see the message pinned at the top of this forum.

Atheism has been a banned topic for years, supposedly b/c there is no way to debate it in an amicable manner.

ICXC NIKA

My ignorance. Thanks for the information.

I’d say it’s always best to take someone at their word regarding their own beliefs and viewpoints unless there is significant evidence to the contrary. People tend not to like being told what they actually believe, and it isn’t just atheists, and it really doesn’t do much to promote dialogue.
As for the Pauline verse, you have to remember that this was written in another time, for a different audience, with a different degree of theistic influence. Just a thought, anyways.

First skim through this thread:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=408684

There isnt a place where it can be posted. But often times a question can be asked without directly invoking atheism. For example you could ask if a person can honestly be convinced that a god-concept is false (or not convinced that a certain god-concept is true, theres a nuanced difference).

If this is a banned topic, has someone reported it?

Your calvinist friend is making a judgement call and stating why someone may be atheist based on the passages in Romans. He has no authority to do so, he can’t judge the why’s and what is deep in someone’s heart about what they may or may not believe. Why someone is an atheist is as broad and wide and will vary as there are people that claim to be atheists. I think you have mis-stated your question. I think you real question is not if atheists really believe deep in their hearts whether there is or isn’t a God but how to deal with someone like this Calvinist friend that is making blanket judgement calls on others. I would tell this guy that as a Catholic, we leave final judgement of the beliefs and motives of others to God. We don’t assume we can know what someone believes deep in their heart about anything. All of that sort of stuff belongs in God’s hands not ours since God is the only one that sees the heart of every human being. Your friend can come up with any sort of fancy analysis but all it shows is his own shallow judgement of others which is what his Calvinism is getting him. Tell his this and tell him to stick it in his pipe and smoke on it for a while.

It is.

There is no telling. But I think the moderators discover such threads on their own.

In other words, are all atheist liars? No.

Do they disbelieve? Yes, they do. End of discussion.

Yes, I think atheists disbelieve in God. That’s why they are atheists. Otherwise, they’d be something else. :wink:

By definition, I think an atheist doesn’t believe in God. If there is a maybe a yes, maybe no, I think they would be classified as agnostics, say. That’s my understanding of it, anyway.

i honestly think Op real question is about his Calvinist friend more so than if atheists really beleive in God or not. I think he mis-stated his question. In stead of going off on the question which is poorly put, re-read his opening statement because he is trying to think of how to answer this judgemental friend.

If I’m not mistaken, Calvinism (begun by Jean Cauvin) is heretical (predestination).

Before this thread gets closed I want to say something.

To me (as in me) there are some atheists I really honor and respect. Others, I don’t agree with their opinions or approach to certain things.

Some examples are that I like atheists who don’t believe, but try to find more intimate meaning of themselves (maybe even trying to find God).

Or what I like to call an anthropological atheist. One who doesn’t believe, but respects the beliefs and religions of others, and tries to gain a better understanding of those beliefs which could benefit their own lives.

On the contrary I disagree with atheists who

Don’t believe and claim to be open minded to others beliefs and religions, but continue showing hostility towards others beliefs by rude behavior which ruins any attempt of better understanding.

Who hate religion, but are ignorant about what they actually teach or believe.

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