Missed One

In my previous post about the taxonomy of atheists, I realized that I missed one: the atheist who hates human nature. This is probably more commonly known as the atheist who wants to be immoral, though they amount to the same thing. The example which comes to mind quickest is Bertrand Russell.

I wrote about Bertrand Russell a bit in my post about his famous teapot argument. The short version was after seeing how stupid his teapot argument was, and knowing that he was a well educated man, I knew he had to have an ulterior motive and so I knew that he was a bad man. And briefly looking up his biography turned up that he was a serial adulterer.

This sort of atheist is not limited to those who wish to contravene sexual morality, though that may be the most common form of it. People who wish to be something other than they are can also fall into this trap, since it amounts to hating God for giving them the nature that they have and not the nature that they want. People can hate God for giving them the wrong hair, or the wrong skin, or making them short instead of tall. It will, of course, be most common where people think that they can do something about it and God is standing in their way. That is why you see this more commonly with morality, since somebody who believes that he should be, by nature, a bigamist, will tend to think that if he simply practices bigamy he will be what he wishes to be. And, indeed, if our nature was our own creation, he would be right. If God exists, however, essence precedes existence and he is what God made him, regardless of what he’s futilely trying to remake himself into.

This, by the way, is why the life history of people trying to make themselves into something that they’re not is always extremely depressing. I’m currently reading the biography of a guy who was certain in his heart that he was a rock star—and he absolutely hated reality for disagreeing with him. The harder he pursued his delusion, the angrier he got at everyone around him. This is really what Sartre was talking about when he said, “hell is other people.” If you take the existentialist position seriously (that existence precedes essence), other people will be hell because, being just as real as you are, they will inevitably prove that the essence you’re trying to give yourself is a lie.

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