Proof #40: Understand Christian Motivations

March 11, 2008 at 3:46 pm 6 comments

When I first saw the title of this proof, I figured that Marshall Brain was going to play the “Christians are only nice because they are afraid of Hell” card.  Not so.  Instead, Brain recaps the so-called evidence that God is imaginary, and proposes five potential motives for ignoring that evidence.  Brain proposes that Christians are afraid of death, believing in answered prayers is an ego boost, some may fear of being alone, some are fulfilling a natural desire to worship, and some seek attention.

I think that all humans have a certain fear of death, whether they are atheists or theists.  The primary focus of Christianity is on life, however, because Jesus tells us that God is the God of the living, not of the dead (Lk 20:38).

Answered prayers glorify God, not the seeker.  Properly understood, prayer should be a way to offer ourselves to God, not as a hotline to heaven to request mustard stains removed from blouses.  In this way, answered prayers wouldn’t stoke the ego of the seeker.

If every Christian, or even a significant portion of Christians, came from broken homes then I could understand Brain’s next two reasons, fear of being alone and fulfilling a natural desire to worship.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case.  People who come from healthy families and have close friends wouldn’t fear being alone.  Some might fear not having a husband or wife, but that isn’t a need that they can fill with God.

Brain admits that we have a natural desire to worship something.  He just assumes that many outgrow it.  This isn’t the case.  No one outgrows it.  Christians fill it with God.  But atheists fill it with philosophy and science, or their own intellects.  Everyone worships something.

Seeking attention is the weakest suggestion for a possible Christian motivation.  I have never observed, in any Christian-themed discussion, a “one-up” session on answered prayers.  This is ridiculous.

None of these reasons stand up to scrutiny, and even if they did, this doesn’t prove that God is imaginary.  It just proves that humans are, well, human.

Entry filed under: Prayer.

Proof #39: Realize that Jesus was a Jerk Proof #41: Flip a Coin


  • 1. Luke  |  June 15, 2008 at 11:49 am

    The primary focus of Christianity is on life,
    —Yeah, an after-life.

    –Let me address religious motives in ancient times.
    Fear God and obey him and your political leaders or be punished in this life and the next. Come to our Churches and donate your money to make your political priests and rulers rich.
    –That’s why all religions were started. Fear, power, and control of the masses.

    Here’s some quotes to consider.

    -If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
    -Religion does three things quite effectively: Divides people, controls people, and deludes people
    -Every man thinks god is on his side. The rich and the powerful know he is.
    -Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
    -Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.
    -All natural institutions of churches appear to me as human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind.
    -Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. -Napoleon

    –I see plenty of motive here.

  • 2. White  |  July 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    -We don’t do good becos we fear punishment, but becos we don’t want God to be hurt. Becos we love Him 🙂
    -Yep. And so..? God is fake becos..?
    -NO. Jesus said the rich is difficult to enter heaven.
    -NO. Go count how many wise people (or to you, scientists) are christians. And no, Richard Dawkins aint one of them.
    -Yep. They’re bad. But God isn’t.
    -Yep. And so..? God is fake becos..?

  • 3. Anti-Devil  |  July 15, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Luke i saw ur motive.U aint interested in knowing the truth,u are only interested in trying to find faults with our reasoning.What motives do u see?

  • 4. Anti-Devil  |  July 28, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Why wouldnt u answer me luke?silence means consent and agreement

  • 5. Luke  |  July 28, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Anti-Devil says:
    Why wouldnt u answer me luke?silence means consent and agreement
    –Don’t flatter yourself. I told you I’m going to stop debating with you until I hear something intelligent, or when you at least refute my points from any of my posts. So until then, I will continue to not respond to you.

    However, I will answer your question from your post above since you seem to be pressing the matter:
    “Luke i saw ur motive.U aint interested in knowing the truth,u are only interested in trying to find faults with our reasoning.What motives do u see?”
    –Who cares about my motive? It doesn’t invalidate my points and arguments. Happy now?

  • 6. Duran  |  March 16, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Wow, im reading this a year after it started. well…..Luke, this comment is to you. Firstly…..god commenda faith….believing in soemthing not seen or evident, u might call it foolish, yet there is a word in the english dictionary “faith”…..same thing a avid supporter would ahve , not giving up in his team even in the event of loosing,till the last minute. U dont have any. U seem to think u have the “brain power” to argue against Gods reasoning…if u try and find the answers for your existance on your own, then naturally u will come to these conclusions……i dont serve God cos i fear goign to hell, i serve him cos deep down theres a belief that i am destined to accomplish somethign that God has ordained…maybe all might not have that same feelign but thats my reason….helpign people gives me..and only me joy….i do it for no other reason..believe me i have questioned faith religion existance for many years…but when God touches ur life…u will be the first to realise that there is a God…..for the existance of man, there has to be rich and poor, we all could have not been rich, yet that does not mean our personal relationship with Gof iss affected..God see’s ur heart in the circumstance you in…and u will be blessed accordingly……God will only reveal to scientists whats he pleases to……evolution might exist, but only as God requires.the fact that ur had the need to try and justify that there is no god, proves that some questions burn in ur heart that require answers…well next time dnt try and asnwer them urself:-)

    God bless

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