In general I believe people do instinctively know about God, or a god’s existence (I think Christianity get this right, as Paul mentions in Rom. 1:20). I think this would best explain why 84% of people in the world believe in a god (1) while much of the other 16% are undecided. Whether we like it or not, the subject of a god’s existence is perhaps the most crucial existential question ever facing humanity. Thousands and thousands of years of human existence suggests this to be the case, and even in our advanced age many maintain that modern developments in scientific fields only further supports their faith in a god. In truth, God seekers are by no means diminishing, in fact religion is growing worldwide (2) while atheism is set to drop to 1.8% (from 4.5% in 1970) by the year 2020 (3).
However, I think Comfort gets it wrong when he says “atheists hate God because he does exist.” I am absolutely certain that many atheists turn their backs on a god, especially the Christian God, because they find him intolerable (as portrayed in the Bible) and/or don’t wish to live lives that are subject to him (or anyone). Or as former insolent New Atheist Christopher Hitchens calls God a “Celestial Dictator.”
Nevertheless, it is illogical for Comfort to conclude that God exists because atheists hate him. For example, I could hate unicorns because an evil unicorn once killed my favourite character in a video game or in a novel (lame example, but it suffices). All of a sudden I find myself hating unicorns in general when they appear in future novels/games/conversations even though I know that they don’t exist. Therefore, Comfort’s statement that “It is impossible to hate something that doesn’t exist” is almost certainly false as I see it. Likewise many atheists may “hate” the Christian conception of God because of the acts done in his name in the Old Testament and/or his wrathful nature. Other atheists, or non-believers in general, may dislike the Christian conception of God because they have a false idea about him, and this is often because of exposure to fundamentalist, intolerant Christians. But either way, just because the atheist hates the biblical God it does not give Comfort warrant to conclude that the Christian God exists.
1) The conclusion to Comfort’s statement does not follow, and 2) it is possible to hate something that doesn’t exist, therefore this is just pointless Christian propaganda. Christians should avoid this. Throw it in the meme-grinder.
1) Harper, J. 2012. 84 percent of the world population has faith; a third are Christian. Available: http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2012/dec/23/84-percent-world-population-has-faith-third-are-ch/
2) Bryner, J. 2015. World Will Get More Religious by 2050. Available: htthttp://www.livescience.com/50370-worlds-religious-population-will-grow.htmlp://www.livescience.com/50370-worlds-religious-population-will-grow.html
3) Center for the Study of Global Christianity. 2013. Christianity in its Global Context, 1970–2020. Available: http://wwwgordonconwell.com/netcommunity/CSGCResources/ChristianityinitsGlobalContext.pdf