Joe Carter has a post at the evangelical outpost [Note: Evangelical Outpost is showing a warning about browser exploit from McAfee Site Advisor. As I was admonished in the comments, I need to give warning. I’ve used the site for years, but that doesn’t mean I’m safe in doing so. Use the link at your own risk.] in which he proposes, with some caveats, that atheists may tend to be less socially aware, particularly aware of other minds, and may tend more toward Aspberger’s Syndrome. He invited readers of his blog to take a test here, which I did, scoring a 30. Since I’m a theist, that puts me close to a counter-example for his thesis.
I commented there that I thought this approach is more polarizing than helpful, though I would admit is is no more polarizing than the suggestion some atheists have made to me that I hallucinate any experience of God. I don’t mind them doing that.
In a reply to my own comment there, Joe states [see warning above]:
About 95% of the atheists I have met seem to be “quarrelsome, socially challenged men.”
His experience is different from mine. I’ve found Christian apologists to be much like this. I have also found atheist apologists to be like this. In fact, apologists in general tend to be in your face and somewhat quarrelsome. I think that goes with the territory, though I do know some counter-examples in each and every group. Personally, while Dawkins gets on my nerves, I don’t think it’s because he’s socially challenged. I’ve only read his work, and seen him on TV, but he seems reasonably personable for an advocate of a controversial position.
If there is a correlation, and the problem is a type of “mind-blindness” then it should not be surprising to find that reason-based arguments are ineffective when trying to change their opinion of God. We Christians tend to treat atheism as if it was some form of Enlightenment-era rationalism and provide arguments that appeal to their reason.
I’m afraid I have seen atheists as much more interested in discussing the arguments for the existence of God than most Christians. I would suggest that, rather than the intellectual arguments being ineffective because of a psychological failing on the part of atheists, they are ineffective because, as proofs of God’s existence, they are, in fact, flawed.
In my experience, practically all of the arguments for God’s existence make more sense from the position of faith, i.e., I believe I can learn something about God through them, but they are not water-tight. Belief in God involves faith, which does not mean it is totally immune from intellectual examination, but I believe it does mean it’s not totally subject to it.
I’ve always thought atheism was mostly psychological rather than epistemological. This potential correlation only strengthens that opinion, which is why I think it is worth exploring.
Again, I would have to disagree. On a purely intellectual level, atheists do quite well. There’s no need to seek psychological reasons. They simply don’t find the arguments convincing. I wonder why that’s so hard to accept?
For me, while there are pieces of the puzzle provided by arguments for God’s existence, at the core there is a serious leap of faith. That leap was not easy to take, and so I’m not at all surprised that some don’t take it, and some others don’t even believe there is a leap to take, and that I imagined both chasm and leap. Those are all things on which different people can have different views.