Some time ago, a friend and I were out to breakfast with two atheists (who were good friends of my friend). These gentlemen were philosophy majors at the University of North Florida (known for heavily promoting naturalism). It was a great (and excitable) discussion. At some point, one of the atheists asked me, “Does it bother you that most philosophers are atheists?” Without hesitation, I responded, “No, not at all.” He quickly said, “Well it should.” For whatever reason, this made my friend and I laugh (not a scornful or mocking laugh; we just genuinely thought it was funny).
It’s probably true that the majority of philosophers are atheists. However, it also seems to be true that the majority of philosophers of religion are theists. That is to say, the people who are most likely to be experts in the area believe in God.
But never mind. Even if the situation were clearly that most philosophers of religion were strongly atheistic in their thinking, this would not bother me in the slightest. Why not?
There are certain things in life that are highly-infused with emotion. Politics, whether or not our children have ever committed any wrong toward anyone other than their own family, and religion sit squarely within this realm. This is not to say that no objectivity can be achieved in these areas. Rather, this is to say that religious beliefs are often infused with emotional baggage; this is so much so that one cannot simply deem God more likely not to exist than to exist. There are much stronger considerations and arguments that must be discussed. So what’s the point in bringing this up in a conversation about God?
Simply put, it is an appeal to authority combined with an appeal to popularity. It is designed to make the theist question whether God exists based on no more merit than a community’s say-so. It is fallacious because there are available arguments to be examined and yet they are all ignored in favor of a glorified hand-raising vote. Instead of being bothered by this and trying to substantiate that theists are the majority, or taking on a persecution complex (i.e., becoming a contrarian for its own sake), we ought rather to focus on the good Christian arguments at hand.