Would some non-theists just resist relationship with God if they became theists?

  • Clarifying the question

    The question most directly relates to the problem of divine hiddenness (the idea that a loving God would make sure no one is an atheist or agnostic, so that everyone is at least able to be in relationship if they wanted). In response to the question of whether non-theists would just become resistant to relationship with God, one might say, “No, because there are no resistant non-theists.” Do resistant non-theists exist?

“Yes, after all…
  • Many testify that they'd resist

    People testify that they would freely reject God (e.g. Satanists,1 many New Atheists2). This is relevant because if a person testifies that they would reject God, even if they were theist, then they are probably correct in their assessment.

    1. For example, presumably most (atheistic) LaVeyan Satanists would freely reject God. These individuals affirm, among other things, “The Nine Satanic Statements”:

      The Satanic Bible: “1. Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence! 2. Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams! 3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit! 4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates! 5. Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek! … ” [Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible (Avon Books, 1969), 25.]

    2. Many New Atheists testify to this. For example, in a debate I attended between a Christian (Justin Bass) and a prominent advocate of atheism, the atheist confessed:
      Dan Barker (Founder of Freedom from Religion foundation): “Even if Jesus did exist, even if I agreed with [Dr. Bass] 100%, yep, he rose from the dead, yep, there’s a God, yep, I don’t deny any of that, does not mean that he is my Lord. If he did exist…I will go happily to hell. It would be worse of a hell for me to bow down before a Lord…regardless of the legend and historicity issue…Even if I agreed 100%, I would still reject that Being as a Lord of my life because I’m better than that…I cannot accept Jesus as Lord…You’re much more free to live and enjoy your life unshackled from the demands…” [“Is Jesus Lord?” _Bible and Beer Consortium Debate_, Ft Worth, Tx, 2015]
  • Historical examples

    Plenty of people throughout history, called “misotheists,” have believed in God and nevertheless hated God.1 This is relevant because in their hatred of God, they obviously refrained from accepting loving relationship with God.

    1. For some particularly strong examples of misotheism, consider a selection of prominent writers:

      Bernard Schweizer (English professor at Long Island University): “Until today, therefore, elaborations on the theme of God-hatred have typically taken the form of literary explorations, whether it be Elie Wiesel's play The Trial of God (1979), Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials (1995-2000), or James Morrow's Blameless in Abaddon (1996). All three stories provide shelter for the rather shocking hypothesis that God is guilty of gross negligence, dishonorable conduct, and criminal behavior. In fact, this hypothesis is the basis of God-hatred.” [Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism (Oxford, 2011), 5-6.]
      Rebecca West (Prominent author, journalist, and literary critic): “A strong hatred is the best lamp to bear in our hands as we go over the dark places of life, cutting away the dead things men tell us to revere.” [A famous article of hers for The Freewoman]
      Zora Neale Hurston (Folklorist, anthropologist, author): “All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise they would not be worshiped. Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stones for alters and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.” [Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), 145.]

      Consider one famous novelist who attributes the following to one of his characters (Maurice Bendrix) who has an affair, a character who is based on the novelist himself and his own affair:
      Graham Green (British novelist): [Maurice:] “take us up to a high place and offer us the whole universe. You're a devil, God, tempting us to leap. But I don't want Your peace and I don't want Your love. I wanted something very simple and very easy: I wanted Sarah for a lifetime and You took her away. With Your great schemes You ruin our happiness like a harvester ruins a mouse's nest: I hate You, God, I hate You as though You existed.” [The End of an Affair (1981), 159.]