When Do Atheists Believe in God? January 13, 2009

When Do Atheists Believe in God?

When they’re weak, apparently, according to this graph:


Of course, the graph is wrong. And not just because “athiest” is misspelled.

The only way we will know that God exists is when Jennifer Garner knocks on my door and tells me she wants to bear my next seven children.

Everyone knows that.

(Thanks to Ann Marie and Aaron for the link!)

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  • Emily

    oh, jenifer garner can definitely inspire belief in a divine being. XD

  • It’s a variant of the “there are no atheists in foxholes” argument. Which is false, of course. But that’s something that religious people tell themselves – that when the chips are down, atheists believe in god. (And some do, of course. Just like some Christians when in crisis *abandon* religion. Of course, when atheists in a moment of weakness embrace religion it’s revelation and when Christians or other religious people abjure religion in a moment of weakness it’s more weakness, hehe.)

  • The poll neglects the sweet salty act of love. That’s when an atheist is most likely to “believe” in god…or at least loudly chant his name in what we can only assume is religious fervor.

  • chancelikely

    Yeah, I let this one go as a joke because the last one is about watching sports.

    Reminds me of one of my favorite jokes:

    What do Billy Graham and the Lions have in common?

    They can both make a stadium full of people stand up and yell “Jesus Christ!”

  • I’m guessing they’re referring to times when atheists might pray to god?

    Christmas should be right at 0%, like when arguing with someone, because it’s when it’s shoved in our face the most.

  • Was going to mention the foxholes thing but someone beat me to it. I used to always respond to that line with “of course there are no atheists in foxholes, we’re too busy out there fighting while the rest of you hide behind your gods…”. Of course then I grew up and realised it was an exceptionally dumb retort 🙂

    I must say though, the sports one rings true when watching an Old Firm match in Scotland – there’s no way such tangible hatred could exist between two groups of fans without supernatural intervention…

  • I’m just amazed at the clear trend of this graph. Who would have thought that a random sampling would produce such neat statistical results.

  • Ubi Dubium

    Hemant – “next seven children” ?????

    Does this imply that you already have your “first seven children”? You never told us about them!

  • So I’m guessing Ben Affleck is not an atheist.

  • N

    It may be wrong, but it’s funny.

  • Chances a ‘Thiest’ Will Stop Believing in God

    People develop the ability to see Jennifer Garner naked – 3%
    Ben Affleck stops acting – 10%
    Science & Philosophy answers all the questions – 20%
    God admits he’s an alien and that the whole thing was a joke that went wrong – 30%
    People stop needing the comfort of an imaginary friend – 70%
    People develop an immunity to mind control – 90%
    It’s made illegal to make money from religion – 100%

  • The joke will be on you, because Jennifer will just want your DNA for in vitro.

  • What I think is that perhaps those of us who have been conditioned to believe in a God for our whole lives may subconsciously, when put in a life or death situation, ask god for help. Sometimes we don’t realize it, but when “bell rings, the dogs salivate” unknowingly. It may take me years to rid myself of this conditioning.

    Sometimes it feels like being a tortured, brainwashed prisoner trying to readjust to life on the outside. Is this the case for any other atheists who grew up and spent most of their lives in a very strict religious environment?

  • SarahH

    I was recently driving in a horrible snowstorm on rural roads, and I was completely lost. I nearly lost control of the car several times, and I was pretty scared. My conditioning certainly kicked in, and I caught myself on the verge of praying. Then I thought to myself, “This is silly – I just need to concentrate on the road, watch the street signs, use my map and stay alert. If I’m going to make it out of this, it’s because I can keep my cool and use my brain.”

    I didn’t pray a single word, and I made it out just fine. I don’t doubt that I’d have made it out fine if I had said a prayer, but I knew it was a vestigial instinct and that I no longer believed anyone was listening anyway, so I didn’t. And now no one can say that I made it out of that snowstorm because God answered a prayer – it’s because I’m a damn good driver.

    (Of course, some readers might be thinking, “God kept her alive so that she can learn to believe in Him again” or whatever, but in that case: bring it on. In the meantime, I’ll be over here, relying on my own skills and smarts to survive).

  • Kenneth


    Absolutely! I grew up in a fairly strict religious home and church. Even thoughts could be a sin. (Read: Lust. Everything is about sex with fundamentalists.) Every now and then, I still feel guilty having “sinful” thoughts. It’s like a nervous twitch. Slowly, thankfully, it’s going away.

  • JohnFrost

    It’s made illegal to make money from religion – 100%

    Bingo! Well done, sir, that made me laugh ^_^

  • I believed in God this morning when I asked Him to eternally damn all of this snow that I was shoveling. 🙂

  • Hemant – “next seven children” ?????

    Does this imply that you already have your “first seven children”? You never told us about them!

    Possibly. Dibs on bearing my first set of children will be auctioned off in the near future.

  • valhar2000

    Is this the case for any other atheists who grew up and spent most of their lives in a very strict religious environment?

    Well, I can’t answer that question, but I can answer the converse: I have never had the slightest inclination to pray, nor the subtlest feeling that anyone or anything would have heard me had I done so.

    And, while I have never been in real peril, I have been in situations in which I wasn’t sure how I’d ever get out (until I found a way), and it never once occured to me to ask anyone (apart from real human beings) for help. The thought simply does not enter my mind unless prompted by questions like yours.

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