As Christians, every fiber of our being wants God to exist, and every fiber of our being is equally repulsed by the thought that the sum total of our lives is Sartre’s “useless passion.” And we must admit that it is quite plausible for us to construct philosophical and theological systems on the basis of our own desires and prejudices, which serve to cloud our thinking. But Christians are not the only targets of this criticism. Atheists can be charged with the same sort of intellectual prejudice.
Both sides of the debate must see that everybody who gets involved in a discussion about the existence of God brings psychological baggage to the table. Those who deny God, for example, have an enormous vested interest in their denial because, simply put, if the biblical God exists, then an infinite obstacle stands between them and their own autonomy. Man cannot be the ultimate creator of his own destiny if the sovereign God of the universe exists. Freud knew this in his own way. For him, the Christians had to be the weak ones, the ones whose faith he reduced to infantile helplessness. Ironically for Freud, however, the Scriptures describe the psychology of atheists in much the same way as Freud describes theists. Nothing stands more firmly in the way of our own autonomous desires than a self-existent, eternally righteous and just God. There is, by Freud’s own admission, a universal knowledge that the worst thing imaginable would be to fall into the hands of “the superior power of fate.” This fear is infinitely aggravated, however, when that “fate” is viewed as a holy God. Just as we are capable of inventing gods where there are none, so we are capable of doing everything possible to deny our guilt before a God who actually exists.
There is as much psychological pressure for the atheist to deny the existence of God as there is for the theist to embrace his existence. According to the Bible, fallen man will not entertain thoughts of the divine. Our natural moral condition includes with it a reprobate mind, that is, a mind so darkened by prejudice that we do not want to even open the window a crack to allow the rays of God’s self-revelation into our heads. We know what is at stake if we do this; we know that we are in trouble if we acknowledge the existence of a sovereign God. — Defending Your Faith: An Introduction (R.C. Sproul)