Annie Besant, later to become a famous Theosophist, once referred to God-proofs as “puffing divine smoke rings,” a thing that men do “over the walnuts and wine after the ladies have left.” Literary critic Susan Sontag surmised, “Jerking off the universe is perhaps what all philosophy, all abstract thought is about: an intense, and not very sociable pleasure, which has to be repeated again and again.”
In the 1990s, feminist scholar Nancy Jay argued that sacrifice rituals across cultures help create a male-only lineage that writes women out of the history and power structure of a tradition. The same might be said of arguments about the existence of God. By turning to the lineage of proofs, men have sought to cover over the real sources of their religious belief: the whispers of their mothers, the rituals of their communities, the need to feel loved. Through the experience of trying to prove, thinkers have sought to escape the bonds forged in other kinds of experience.