Today, the essay I'm going to be talking about is "Why I Am Not an Atheist" by J. Budziszewiski. This is an essay that actually fits the title. Habermas' essays should really be titled "Why You Should Believe the Miracles of Jesus Actually Happened" and "Why You Should Believe the New Testament is Historically Reliable," likewise William Lane Craig's essay should be "Why You Should Believe God Exists." They are straight apologetics, having little to do with the actual reasons the authors believe.
In his essay, Budziszewiski describes going from atheism to orthodox Christianity via an emotional crisis so severe that he describes it via the metaphor of suicide:
A conventional suicide can destroy the universe only once, but for me each day was suicide. There was no need to bother with the taking of poison or the slashing of wrists, because it was all going on in my mind. In one long, interminable prolongation of nightfall, the light went out and went out and went out, all without the inconvenience of physical deathNow Budziszewiski is convinced that all atheists are engaging in "self-deception," which is "pretending to ourselves that we don't know what we really do." He tries to establish this through arguments ("moral law requires a law-giver") so bad that I wonder how he could possibly make them if he really has a degree in philosophy. Then again, I wondered the same about Andre Kole. Budziszewiski also has a degree in government, maybe that's the only part of his studies he's taken seriously.
I have a request for those who have undergone a religious transformation in their lives. Please do not project your personal problems onto the rest of us. Please do not assume we are all like you were before your conversion. Please do not assume that because you think you were deceiving yourself, we all are. Please do not assume that because you were a pathological liar, we all are. Please do not assume that because you were incapable of compassion, we all are.
Budziszewiski asks atheists not to be offended by his remarks, and insists he wouldn't have been offended by them when he was an atheist. Let me say I'm not offended. I am worried, though. I am worried because I live in a country where best-selling novelists lead believers through fantasizing about the grusome deaths of unbelievers. I am worried because I live in a country where these novels are being turned into a video game which will allow believing teenagers to role-play the killing of infidels. I am worried because I live in a country where this brand of religion has considerable influence in the goverment and wants more. I am worried because I live in a country where believers are increasingly redefining "persecution" to mean "any criticism of our beliefs."
Sorry, Mr. J. We cannot afford to have your personal struggles projected onto the rest of us.