The late atheist Christopher Hitchens once articulated the view that God is an “unalterable celestial dictator” and this is not an uncommon argument to hear even to this day. The problem is that this assessment gives rise to two separate errors, which will be set out and then shown why they fail to prove the alleged tyranny.
The first is simply an error in logical reasoning. To see this error, it helps to understand a definition of atheism. According to the American Atheists website, atheism is “a lack of belief in gods.”
Accepting this definition, the error committed becomes clear. As an atheist, Mr. Hitchens asserted that God both does not exist and that He is a dictator. This error is so blatant that one need not be an expert in logic to recognize the problem. Specifically, this argument violates the law of noncontradiction, which states that something cannot both be and not be in the same way at the same time. Here, it must be that God cannot both lack existential import and be a dictator at the same time.
The second part of Mr. Hitchens’ argument is much more subtle and enthymematic. This argument claims that the existence of God is a hindrance to human freedom and dignity. This premise assumes a disjunctive, either/or dilemma. The assumption is predicated upon the belief that the will of God imposes itself upon, and thereby diminishes human freedom.