Sunday, March 23, 2014

Testing for mental illness in an atheist

Given that Shadow to Light (check the sidebar) has lately been talking about atheist claims that theists are mentally ill, I propose a simple, fast way to check if a given atheist is mentally ill.

Have them pray.

You'd figure an atheist with no hang-ups could offer up a sincere-sounding, serious prayer to God thanking Him for their daily bread, requesting His assistance. After all, there's no need to believe God exists to do this.

But if an atheist would sooner choke than deliver a straight, calm, sincere prayer? That's probably a sign they've got some deep issues going on.

5 comments:

Acatus Bensley said...

A problem with authority.

Crude said...

Problem with authority, problems with their fathers, problems with their family...

The Deuce said...

Also, if they get bent out of shape at others praying, or encouraging people to pray.

grodrigues said...

@Crude:

"But if an atheist would sooner choke than deliver a straight, calm, sincere prayer? That's probably a sign they've got some deep issues going on."

Why? I can understand what it means to ask an atheist to deliver a straight and calm prayer, but sincere? It is also not at all clear to me why we should expect an atheist to be straight and calm doing something that must be, must feel, pretty ridiculous.

Crude said...

grod,

When I say 'sincere', I mean only in terms of how it sounds. Not throwing in snide or angry remarks during it. Nothing especially passionate, or fantastic acting skills. In fact, going over the top would just feed into the lack of sincerity. I'm talking a pretty simple, calm prayer.

And, I think if an atheist feels ridiculous at offering up a prayer to the point that they can't do what I'm asking, it indicates a problem - that there's something going on beyond mere 'lack of God belief' or 'belief that God probably doesn't exist'. It's almost but not quite like a superstition test. If someone claims that the Bloody Mary ritual is complete bunk, but they can't bring themselves to so much as complete it (it's a very simple gimmick) and can think of all kinds of excuses why it's just SO stupid that they never, ever want to do it? Well, call me skeptical of their claims.