Moron thinks atheists would believe in God given enough “stress”

Have you ever felt as though everyone who isn’t a non-believer has absolutely no idea what it means to be an atheist? It seems like every other day some idiot starts pretending to know how we think, or why we’ve rejected the fanciful notions of madmen. The latest “guy who thinks he knows what the fuck he’s talking about” is Raj Raghunathan, who argues (in his pathetic article entitled “When the going gets tough, the atheist goes praying”) that all atheists are essentially pampered intellectuals who would run crying back to the fold of religion if the shit ever hits the fan:

Put differently, everyone–even the most hardcore atheists, I think–will start believing in God if put under a high amount of stress. Think of the last time you prayed to God, and I will bet that, for many of you (whether you generally classify yourself as an atheist or not), it would have been when you were under stress. For most of us so-called atheists, when things go horribly wrong, we think of God.

What the fuck is this moron talking about? When I feel “stressed”, the last thing that pops into my mind is “gee, I better pray to some kind of anthropomorphic God rather than try and solve my own problems”. It’s just another version of the argument there are “no atheists in foxholes”, something that’s been proven time and time again to just be baseless religious propaganda.

What this theory suggests, then, is that whether you believe in God is not as much a matter of how smart or educated you are, but rather, a matter of whether life has worked out in a way that makes you feel comfortable enough to be an atheist.

So according to this clown, if you’re an atheist it’s because your life has been too easy, and you haven’t had the need for the comfort of a deity. This would suggest that non-belief has nothing to do with intellectual integrity. Instead, your own thoughts about the existence, or non-existence of God is based mostly on how miserable your life is.

This means that no one is a complete atheist or, for that matter, a complete believer in God. Each of us has a propensity to be somewhere on that continuum. And even a hardcore atheist may exhibit belief in God if he feels his life is sufficiently broken.

So, if your life turned to shit, you would abandon your ideals and proceed immediately to believe in the immaculate conception of Jesus, or the many arms of Vishnu. Seriously? This reminds me of just how poorly we atheists are understood by outsiders.

I could argue, fact-free in the same manner that Raj does, that stress and misery would actually make someone cease to believe in God. After all, how could the death of a loved one, or some other cruel tragedy that befalls them, not convince a believer that his loving God was merely the figment of an overactive imagination?

I also find it interesting that for someone with a PhD in Marketing who fancies himself an expert in psychology (he says he took some classes in it while studying for his degree), he seems completely unaware of the notion he’s presented no facts to support his conclusion. He confuses correlation with causation (in his confused attempt to link life comfort with atheism), and he offers only his personal experience as evidence atheists are simply one tragedy away from coming back into the fold of religion. He seems completely unaware of people who have tried, in vain, to believe in a personal God. That would probably require a little research on his side, but it’s obvious from his content-free article he’s already made up his mind ahead of time, and any evidence to the contrary be damned.

Might I suggest you stick with trying to sell people shit they don’t need, buddy? You can also check out another great rebuke here.

Comments (7)

  • avatar


    Why would I pray to God? When I are under stress time is of the essence and I do everything I can to fix the damn problem. Sitting around praying would just waste time. When I had a life threatening asthma attack last fall I didn’t think “hey God, can I have some help?” I thought “I am not willing to die here, and that means I will get to the ER if I have to fucking crawl there.” When I got to the hospital and recovered I didn’t start “thanking God either.” I thanked the triage nurse who realized how badly I needed help and rushed me through the system.
    Personally, I think that focusing on what you can do to help yourself is much more empowering than praying for outside help. I’ve had asthma all my life, both as a theist and an atheist, and I think that atheism has better prepared me to deal with attacks – because it makes me realize that I am responsible, and if I want to survive then I need to do something proactive. I don’t have the option of lying down and waiting for God to do something.

  • avatar

    Jay Knight

    My life has been in shambles since my father had his heart attack last September. My new stepmom is Catholic and just loves to try to get me to pray with her. She’ll wait at the dinner table when I’m over for lunch until I give her my hand to hold. I always make sure to be eating/texting/drinking with the othe hand.

    The thing that pisses me off, and I’m going to blog about this soon, is when individuals get stressed out or are going through a tough spot people close to them try to force religion on them. Disgusting proselytizing is all it is.

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    Jay Knight, I also have personal experience with what you commented on. I attempted suicide my freshman of college and my roommate decided to bring some of the members of her “church” (aka: freaky cult) to the ICU to visit me. They were complete strangers. Unfortunately, I fell for it. But I didn’t fall for God. I tried. I really did. I got the most comfort out of the sense of community I felt when I was with those people. Then I realized, “Wait, I’m tired of them trying to deliver me from the devil (which is what my depression was, apparently).” I’m still angry about it and I’m sure they’re still working hard at their leech-like lifestyles. Disgusting, indeed.

  • avatar

    Nick Hudson

    Since this asshat thinks that atheist have just had an easy life free of adversity then I must be a rabid fundamentalist. While sitting at a stoplight in late November of 2000 when returning from a trip to Buffalo NY in a tiny little Huyndai Accent I was struck by an 18 wheeler moving at upwards of 70 mph and ended up sandwiched between the truck and a concrete wall. My skull was fractured, all my teeth had been broken off at the gumline, both legs were crushed, I sustained varying degrees of damage to most of my vertabrae, and I spent the next 6 weeks in a coma. I spent the next decade enduring one painful surgery after another, I was told that there was a 95% chance that I would never walk again, and yet through all that I never called on, or felt compelled to call on, any deity of any faith, I instead spent years pushing myself having to relearn how to stand up and later how to walk again until the point where I today can walk with nothing but a slight limp. I will spend the rest of my life in constant pain, and because of which I am addicted to opiates (Though I am now and likely will always be on an opiate maitnance therapy).

    I would call my life rather stressful and I still have no use for this idiot’s “god”. Moreover, I am frankly insulted by the assertion that I am somehow incapable of dealing with stressful or difficult situations without having to resort to begging a deity I don’t even believe exists, It’s the same problem I have with the AA/NA 12-step programs, It’s admitting that you are powerless and incapable of dealing with your life and that’s simply not true, No amount of praying to a “god” is going to makes someones stressors or problems magically go away, dealing with the source of that strss will.

    He pulls out the tired “no atheists in foxholes” fallacy, but going by his reasoning there are no theists in foxholes, You don’t see religious soldier drop to their knees at the beginning of a firefight and pray for “god” to stop the bullets in midair, instead you see the make for cover just like the non-religious soldiers do.

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    Mr. Raghunathan’s perspective is only meaningful in the lightest sort of way, and I think the inverse of his suggestion can also be true, which will be much to his dismay. I think there are some atheists – those originally brought up religious – who will still be fighting the propensity to do what he suggests when stress comes up. I fully admit that there are times where I have done that, even as an atheist of a few years now. There are times when I’m think “dammit it would be great if someone or thing could wave a magic wand and relieve this situation”. But then I of course know that’s not going to happen, and it’s silly to bother thinking that way. It still happens though, because I was taught for 20+ years – since being a very young child – that that was the primary coping mechanism: Pray first, and whatever happens happens. And if it worked out, great; if not, the ol’ “if it wasn’t meant to be…” trope, or worse, “you did something that made God mad and now you’re in it”.

    But even though in one way I might lend credence to Mr. Raghunathan’s point, I detract from it in another. I am not the most troubled person in the world, by a long shot. There are people dealing with life-long diseases and handicaps; people in financial situations I can’t begin to fathom; people with family problems so profound it’s sickening; you name it. And here I am, a schlub who works from home and makes a very good wage doing so, with a loving wife (who also brings in a mean penny) and healthy young daughter, and nothing more than some big but long-term student loans to worry about. I haven’t been hit by a tractor trailer and been in a coma. My father did undergo heart surgery, but that was years ago and he’s been fine ever since. So to show the easy fallacy in Mr. Raghunathan’s argument, even the perfectly well-off will resort to god-bothering bullsh!t when reality knocks on the door or peeks in the window.

    Stress has nothing to do with it. The way we were taught to cope with adversity *does*. In other words, it’s all about what’s in your head, how you organize it, interpret it, process it, and act on it. Theists break Mr. Raghunathan’s rule every day. They can pray all they want about their god giving them the power to start a church or raise money for something, but at the end of the day they will never know, they will just convince themselves they do regardless of the outcome.

  • avatar

    I evolved from an ape, whats your excuse?

    I flipped a canoe three years ago on April 15th, I live in Ontario Canada and let me tell you that the water was freezing. I spent almost an hour drifting until I reached shore and not once did I think of God. I was thinking about people important to me, my girlfriend, my parents, and my family. God never came into the equation and this is what conclusion I would come to, If you can’t use the real people in your life as a reason to live and need to pray to a fake made up father figure then what the fuck is wrong with you?

  • avatar


    I already heard that before from my father. Everytime he comes with religion/god bullshit on me he says what I would do if I saw myself on a difficult situation/trauma (like getting an incurable disease for example. Where am I going to find the strentgh to face this hard situation if I believe in no gods? The last I answered hkm: “Well, I’m not some idiot who refuses to get help when I need. if one day I find myself in rock bottom I’ll look for the professional help of a therapist. A therapist is way better than praying for some god in your bedroom begging for some light in the end of the tunnel because:
    1st – a therapist is a graduated professional who was trained to help people in need;
    2nd – a therapist is real and it will be a two-way conversation – which doesn’t happen when you talk to your imaginary friend before you go to bed. You pray to him and hear nothing. If one day you listen a voice when praying to your god maybe it will be me pranking you or I’ll suggest you to look for professional help, because you’re hallucinating.”

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