Novelist Tom Knox, who writes under the pen name of Sean Thomas for some of his work, certainly knows how to ignite a firestorm. In The Telegraph he argues that atheism is a form of insanity.
In the last few years scientists have revealed that believers, compared to non-believers, have better outcomes from breast cancer, coronary disease, mental illness, Aids, and rheumatoid arthritis. Believers even get better results from IVF. Likewise, believers also report greater levels of happiness, are less likely to commit suicide, and cope with stressful events much better. Believers also have more kids.
What’s more, these benefits are visible even if you adjust for the fact that believers are less likely to smoke, drink or take drugs. And let’s not forget that religious people are nicer. They certainly give more money to charity than atheists, who are, according to the very latest survey, the meanest of all.
So which is the smart party, here? Is it the atheists, who live short, selfish, stunted little lives – often childless – before they approach hopeless death in despair, and their worthless corpses are chucked in a trench (or, if they are wrong, they go to Hell)? Or is it the believers, who live longer, happier, healthier, more generous lives, and who have more kids, and who go to their quietus with ritual dignity, expecting to be greeted by a smiling and benevolent God?
And I mean that literally: the evidence today implies that atheism is a form of mental illness. And this is because science is showing that the human mind is hard-wired for faith: we have, as a species, evolved to believe, which is one crucial reason why believers are happier – religious people have all their faculties intact, they are fully functioning humans.
Therefore, being an atheist – lacking the vital faculty of faith – should be seen as an affliction, and a tragic deficiency: something akin to blindness. Which makes Richard Dawkins the intellectual equivalent of an amputee, furiously waving his stumps in the air, boasting that he has no hands.
Go here to read the rest. Assuming this is not a parody of the constant, and unintentionally hilarious, atheist proclamations that they are so much smarter than anyone else, Knox hits upon an important point. Not that atheism is insanity, atheists are no more insane than people who are devoted to socialism in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. They are wrong and pigheaded, which is certainly annoying but not a manifestation of insanity. No, the important point is that humans are hard wired to worship. If they do not worship the true God they will worship false gods. Today we have an ever growing pantheon of new false gods: Feminism, Hedonism, Gay Lifestyle, Political Correctness, and all the other objects that human beings seize upon in a vain effort to stuff and fill the God-sized hole in their souls. Substitute religions give temporary satisfaction, but ultimately leave their worshipers feeling empty and longing. The arc of Communism in the last century is a prime example of the failure of a substitute religion. Richard Crossman’s collection of essays in 1949 by disillusioned Communists was presciently entitled The God That Failed. Atheism of course is also a substitute religion, at least as manifested by most atheist websites and the New Atheists, rapidly becoming the old bore atheists. It is evangelical, has its dogmas and attacks competing faiths. As Mr. Knox illustrates, it does tend to be as unsatisfying a God substitute as all the other attempts of humans to channel the impulse to worship down dead end paths.