The Great Atheist Illusion
The greatest illusion embraced by the atheist is not that there’s no God but rather that they are free from illusions. The belief that you are free of all illusions is the most dangerous illusion of all for it opens the floodgates to the acceptance of unreality in a multitude of forms.
It is evident that atheists have not experienced God but how in the world can they deny that others have not experienced Him. Seeing that experiencing God is a personal matter that cannot be judged empirically by outsiders, as no one can get into another man’s mind or body to know how or what he is, or has experienced. However, this is the very thing that an atheist must claim. This claim springs from an illusion of omniscience and an assumption that the only true knowledge must be objective knowledge.
We know that human beings experience pain to various degrees, and that it is impossible for one to experience another man’s pain exactly and to the same degree. The same thing is true of our experience of God. People experience God in different ways and to distinct degrees. Therefore, the atheist claim that there is no God is totally unreasonable and contrary to the experiences of billions of people. Have they tested empirically everyone’s experience of God? The only real claim that they can reasonably make is that they have not personally experienced God. Even so, in their arrogance they go one step further and say that no one has, or can experience God and if they claim they have, they are delusional.
The most that atheists can honestly claim is that they have not experienced God. However, that might be saying too much for they could have encountered God and not recognized it as a God experience. This could be a very likely theorem seeing that their preconceived biases could keep them from recognizing a God experience if they had one. The most that an atheist can say is that they have not had an understandable experience of God. Of course, many atheists will say, if they have not experienced God, that he cannot exist or that God in some way is obligated to reveal to them himself in such a way that he would be undeniable. They seldom blame themselves for accepting an ideology or world view that will not allow them to experience God. It could be that they’re like a blind man who denies the existence of color because he cannot see it or has not experienced it and then blames color for their inability to see it.
In the end, the old saying that a man with an argument will never convince the man with an experience is true. The only person in whom the atheists experience will stick and will move to their unbelief are those who have never experienced God and are already in a sense in the atheist camp. The atheist will never be able to argue that God does not exist, with a man who has experienced Him. That would be like telling a man who was rescued from the sea, by an other man in a lifeboat, that the other man did not exist.
Humans come to know things through many ways. We learn through our mind, but we also learn through our other senses. In actuality, our mind processes the information that we get through our other senses. However, if some sense has been crippled or damaged, we may become dead to that sense and no longer be able to experience it or the things that it was created to sense. It could be also that some knowledge requires more than one sense and channel. I think this is the case with the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God requires the whole man. If any part of the man has been damaged or disabled it becomes increasingly hard for that man to experience God in any meaningful way.
Therefore, talking to a hardened atheist is like talking with a handicap man who doesn’t know that he’s handicapped. I once talked to a young atheist who I knew growing up, who had grown up in a very dysfunctional family where there was a great deal of brokenness. His parents claimed to be Christians and for whatever reason they could not work through their dysfunction. This environment caused him to be bitter towards his father and somewhat towards his mother. The bitterness not only hardened him from having a relationship with his father but it also hardened him to having faith in God. Being an intelligent person he had to come up with a rational explanation for his lack of faith. His self-justifying mechanism is the source of his unbelief and not his intellect.