One of the narratives that atheists like to tell about themselves is this:
- We are the brave facers of the truth. There is no God, and death is the end of individual existence. We have reached conclusions that are unpleasant to many, but it is a mark of our adult maturity that we have done so. Difficult though it may be, we have not pushed compelling and converging lines of evidence away from our psyches. We are the purveyors of cool reason, and so emotionalists despise us.
By contrast, religious people (at least according to atheists) willfully distort the truth of things because they desperately want God to exist (that they might live forever). As an agnostic, I’m inclined to agree with atheists about this. Religious people are highly motivated by hope and fear, and their apologetic moves often come across (at least to me) as rationalizations designed to salvage relatively weak hypotheses.
Still, I have a question for atheists: Why do you imagine that you are not motivated to be an atheist? Do you really think that you have arrived at your own views as a result of the strict compulsions of reason alone? At some important level, obviously you want atheism to be true, right?