Is God an Atheist ?


From "Why Atheism ?", by George Smith, chapter 12.

Before the Christian dismisses atheism as irrational or condemns the atheist as immoral, he should consider the disturbing possibility that the God of Christianity is himself an atheist. And if this is true, it means that the Christian worships, obeys, and has devoted his life to an atheistic being who does not believe in any power superior to himself, never prays, is utterly without faith, and who does not acknowledge authority, either cognitive or moral, external to himself.

If theism is loosely defined in a higher power, a mysterious being whose essential nature cannot be understood (whether in whole or in part) by the believer, then God is an atheist. He does not believe in a power higher than himself, nor can there be anything that he fails to understand, for nothing can be unknown or unknowable to an omniscient being.

If theism is defined as the belief in a supernatural being, then God is an atheist. His own powers, though supernatural from a human point of view, are comprehensible to himself. Everything is “natural” from God’s perspective.

If theism involves a relationship of subordination and dependence between a theist and her object of veneration, then God is an atheist. He is a self-sufficient being who disbelieves in any power greater than himself. He worships nothing, never prays, never seeks forgiveness, and never acknowledges his own errors. (...)

God is therefore an atheist. Moreover, he is an atheist of the most dogmatic variety, for he claims to know with absolute certainty that there exists no being superior to himself. He is never troubled by doubt; never re examines any of his beliefs, and never feels too obliged to justify them.

This raises some further questions: Why, if God is an atheist, should we suppose that he disapproves of atheism among his creatures? Is not a benevolent father pleased when his children grow up to be like him? And how can the Christian condemn atheism per se without also condemning their atheistic God? Is not the atheist who strives to be like God more admirable than the Christian who merely believes in him?”