You just want to sin
Theists who accuse atheists of “just wanting to sin,” are suggesting that the atheist fears living with the moral requirements that come with religious belief. It is related to the accusation that atheists are just in denial, with the added implication that the denial is driven by hedonistic desires. This assertion is easy to counter.
Countering the claim
The following are strategies to counter this assertion:
- You can simply dismiss it, as it's not really an argument to begin with. You might choose to counter-assert that a desire to sin plays no role in your atheism. The theist cannot reasonably deny your claim, as he or she has no access to your inner motivations.
- You can point out that any given notion of sin is not universal among all theists or deists. For instance, you could well choose to be a deist, while still giving yourself the leeway to sin.
- You can point out that if maximizing hedonistic pleasure is the goal of an atheist, this desire would form a poor basis for him or her to reject a theistic religion that promises eternal bliss. After all, is an eternity of bliss not more hedonistic (pleasure-maximizing) than several decades of “sin”?
- You could counter by pointing out that you could level an equally facetious assertion against them. Examples include, "You're not a Muslim because you just want to draw pictures of people," or “You’re not Amish because you just want to accumulate worldly possessions.”
- You could point out that many theists commit behaviors that various theistic traditions widely regard as sinful (e.g., excessive consumption of alcohol, cheating, theft, premarital sex, etc.). Of course, this fact does not invalidate arguments for theism, but it does point out that many forms of theism and “sin” are apparently compatible. In fact, the Protestant Christian religion holds that faith alone earns one a place in Heaven; no strict moral codes required!