I stumbled across an article in a Christian publication called “How Peter Singer and Oxford turned me off Atheism” by Sarah Irving-Stonebreaker. Once I got past the usual boilerplate rhetoric of how absolutely “atheisty” she was, “top of her game, future Horseman of the secular apocalypse” burnishing of her educational credentials [which is meant to be somehow more convincing to non believers that her conversion is significant in light of them] she gets to the emotional reason for her change of heart.
From the article:
After Cambridge, I was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at Oxford. There, I attended three guest lectures by world-class philosopher and atheist public intellectual, Peter Singer. Singer recognised that philosophy faces a vexing problem in relation to the issue of human worth. The natural world yields no egalitarian picture of human capacities. What about the child whose disabilities or illness compromises her abilities to reason? Yet, without reference to some set of capacities as the basis of human worth, the intrinsic value of all human beings becomes an ungrounded assertion;
Determinism can be a hard pill to swallow for some folks. Naturalism is the antithesis of the idea of group and individual value and it’s why the notion of afterlife and being redeemed by an unconditionally loving deity is so popular among religionists.
She goes on to say:
I remember leaving Singer’s lectures with a strange intellectual vertigo; I was committed to believing that universal human value was more than just a well-meaning conceit of liberalism. But I knew from my own research in the history of European empires and their encounters with indigenous cultures, that societies have always had different conceptions of human worth, or lack thereof. The premise of human equality is not a self-evident truth: it is profoundly historically contingent. I began to realize that the implications of my atheism were incompatible with almost every value I held dear.
And there you have it. Faced with the choice of believing in a god given universal human value or dealing with the logical consequence of a world with no god in it, she chose the comfort of faith. Not because there was evidence for a god, but because it felt better emotionally.
She acknowledges this in her further rationale:
Moreover, God wants broken people, not self-righteous ones.
This makes me sad. People aren’t intrinsically broken. That’s one of the most pernicious lies perpetrated by Christianity. And it makes me angry to think people would accept that the only way they would feel like they have value would be if an imaginary entity provided it.
In conclusion, the secondary banner under the heading reads:
An historian is confronted by evidence for the radical extremes of God
I read the article several times. Nowhere in there did I find any “evidence” of god. I did find a lot of rationalization for succumbing to fantasy. None of it was convincing to me. But it did explain why people who make atheism an ideology rather than a decision about believing in a god based on lack of evidence have miracle conversions to lives steeped in belief.