I have learned that this question is generally code for accusing atheists of being arrogant. The atheist is accused of being in denial because he or she is perceived as knowing full well that gods exist and simply refusing to admit it. This claim is based on an assumption made by many believers that the existence of their god(s) is self-evident.
Of course, the existence of god(s) is far from self-evident. The volumes of philosophical and theological material produced throughout the ages serve as clear evidence that the existence of the Christian god is far from self-evident. Generations of people do not base their entire careers, or branches of entire fields of study, on offering evidence for or against something which is self-evident.
Atheism refers to the absence or lack of theistic belief (i.e., atheists do not accept the theistic claim that any sort of god or gods exist). Thus, the claim that we somehow know that gods exist involves a clear contradiction in meaning. The Christian who wants to commit to this position must argue that atheists and atheism do not exist. This would seem to involve a significant departure from their own bible to say the least.
For more on this question, see Way of the Mind and Atheist Revolution
Posted: June 16th 2007
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