Help Me: Urgently need resources about Atheism

Hello all, this is my first post, my first time on this site actually. I’ve been searching Catholic blogs and websites tonight for the past few hours and I am at something of a loss, I’m hoping someone can offer me some advice.

I am currently engaged, with the wedding in three months time to a guy nearing the end of a Masters in Religious Studies. I met him about four years ago at a latin mass parish near our university and everything since that day went more or less smoothly. We’ve never really discussed our studies with one another, considering that mathematics and social science don’t really have an awful lot in common. Of course, faith has come up before and originally when we talked everything, more specifically the orthodoxy of his faith was in order.

Forgive me if my tone is off, as I am still rather shaken. Won’t bore you with the how, where and why but today I discovered my Husband-to-be’s final paper, thesis or whatever you want to call it. It’s, of all things looks to me like a Atheistic deconversion manual. I’ve only read a few sections of it (Cognitive Psychology, Memetics, Biblical Authorship hypothesis etc), some I’m familiar with from apologetics books I’ve read, others like the cognitive psychology too far outside my knowledge but the introduction made his feelings clear; the God concept is a delusion and this paper explains how it developed and became more sophisticated over time.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve been online most of today trying to look up a few of the terms I’ve read but this just came out of the blue. I don’t really understand it, I thought everything was going fine. He’s even been attending mass, taking sacraments and taking part in church activities as normal.

I don’t know what to do. Should I challenge him? Should I call off the wedding? It’s a big deal, but how big a deal is it? Am I over reacting? Is it scandal if anyone else sees this paper?

I know all this seems a bit full on but I dare not ask the Catholics I know here less I cause scandal by spreading this, but I don’t know what to do here. I’m totally out of my depth with this one. Help!

Talk to (i.e. don’t challenge) him about it and your fears. You haven’t read the entire thesis and you apparently don’t yet know the purpose of it or his reasoning behind it. In grad school I once wrote a paper arguing that a particular terrorist group wasn’t actually a terrorist group (the group is actually a terrorist group, but the paper was an exercise in taking an opposing opinion to my own). If it turns out that your fears are correct, talk to your priest about what to do, not us random people on the internet. I hope your fears prove to be incorrect though.

I understand that OldCatholicGuy but the question itself which the paper is a response to which I have read specifically calls for his personal opinion and he states it several times in the first five or so pages. “God is a simulacrum”, “God is a cognitive miscalculation”, “The Judeo-Christian mythos”. If he believes and is writing this its plain blasphemy, It makes no sense for him to be doing that as a believer.

It looks awfully pathetic asking online doesn’t it? I’m concerned about asking anyone I know in person, since by spreading this I’d be spreading gossip, scandal and making it grave public sin.

I agree very strongly with oldcatholicguy: sit down with your fiance and discuss this with him.

I have had the privilege of being married for a decade and a half to the most fantastic woman on the face of God’s green Earth, and our marriage has worked so well because a/ she is fantastic, and b/ we learnt early on that the only way to find out what someone really thinks is to talk through it patiently.

Also, from an academic standpoint, I really hope, for his sake, that his conclusion is nowhere near as simplistic and shallow as it sounds. It would make Bertrand Russell, mathematician-turned-philosopher and devout agnostic, turn in his grave.

It doesn’t look pathetic at all asking for help from us random people on the internet. I do it all the time. I would still suggest you ask him about it and explain your fears and if he confirms your fears go talk to your priest on what you need to do (this here is the part where us random people on the internet would be of no real value for you).

Um, there appears to be some missing context here. “God (as frequently conceived) is a simulacrum” is a paraphrased comment from St Gregory of Nyssa, about the limitations of mortal comprehension of the divine. “God is a cognitive miscalculation”, at least if he means that the very idea of God is a mistake, is an unprovable claim since that cannot be proven by any means known to mortals. “The Judaeo-Christian mythos” is a perfectly fair expression in Religious Studies: it means the J-C story about the world, and does not (in that field or the related ones) make any judgement about the accuracy of that story.

Are you somewhat scrupulous? A thesis is a public statement. You can discuss it with anyone knowledgeable in the subject.

The bigger issue is that you are engaged to a man whose personal beliefs you are unsure of. I am not speaking of his practice, e.g., whether he goes to Church or not. It sounds as though you do not have good communication with him. There is no more important life decision than the choice of a husband and father of your children.

Natalie I would ask him about the paper since it’s so upsetting to you. Two things came to my mind reading your post.

I. That the paper explores the God concept is a delusion and that reminds me of the book written by the atheist Richard Dawkins called ‘The God Delusion’ so maybe that’s what his paper was about not that he is an atheist but that he wrote about atheism.

  1. I’ve learned from debating and to convert someone to an idea is to learn about what they believe. In this case, possibly atheism. Because the more you know about another persons beliefs the more you can understand their point of view and work out where there are differences. Knowledge is power in that sense.

If you’re planning to marry this man you should feel comfortable talking to him about things that may be uncomfortable especially as they will always come up.

I hope this helps!

Give him this book of light reading:

Tell him to write another paper, this time write a much longer paper, with full footnotes, rebutting all the arguments in the book. You get to grade it. If it grades an A or B, you don’t marry him. If it gets a C or D or F, you marry him.


Arrange a debate with your fiance and Trent Horn. A full 5 hour one, with 1 hour opening statements, 4 rebuttal periods of 45 minutes each, etc. You get to judge the debate at the end. If your fiance wins the debate, you don’t marry him. If Trent wins the debate, you marry Trent instead. Oops sorry he’s already taken. :stuck_out_tongue:


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