Saturday, November 16, 2013

Atheism, What Is It?

         Not long ago I was talking with a man who said very candidly that he did not believe in God.  He seemed almost proud to proclaim he was an atheist.  In fact, he proclaimed his atheistic position as if it were some indication that he was somehow enlightened to ultimate reality.  The sad truth is, this particular gentleman labeled himself an atheist and there was not the slightest bit of evidence that he really understood what atheism is all about.  The following are some basic concepts and thoughts concerning atheism and how the position is completely untenable when examined in light of absolute truth.

            Fahlbusch and Bromiley (1999-2003) in The Encyclopedia of Christianity provide a very helpful overview of atheism.  The Greek word, from which we get our English word, is atheos which simply means to question the dominate religion of the day and the god it represents.  In keeping with this line of thought, we find there are various forms of atheism.  First there is theoretical atheism where someone theorizes there is no God.  This is usually the position of intellectuals who see the world as purely materialistic or scientific.  Secondly there is practical atheism where one lives as if there is no God.  Practical atheism does not necessarily take the position that there is literally no God, practical atheism simply lives and acts as if He is not there.  Thirdly there is programmatic atheism which is militant against religion of all kinds.  Programmatic atheism sees religion as bad for humanity.  Most people today who claim to be atheists are either intellectuals who think they are too smart to believe in God or they are practical atheists who don’t want to deal with the truth of God because it would hinder or interfere with their sinful and otherwise rebellious lifestyles.  There are militant atheists who abhor all forms of religion, however, that group is not as pervasive as the first two.  Does the Bible speak to atheism?  It sure does, let’s consider some of what God has to say on the matter.
            A denial of God, either by intellectualism or by way of practice, is a choice of the human will.  By choice I mean there is evidence which points to the reality of God and those who deny Him by intellect or practice do so on purpose.  The first and most intuitive proof of God’s existence is creation and life itself.  The apostle Paul said, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1.19-20).  The intellectuals of academia choose to deny God and therefore are forced to find some other explanation for life (for example, evolution).  To study life and gain knowledge points a man toward God, not away from God.  Both the intricacy and vastness of the universe screams there is a God, just as the apostle Paul pointed out in the passage above.  To say there is no God is a choice to rebel against overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Those who deny God because of a lifestyle choice are guilty of the same rebellion, just from a different selfish motive.
            The reason atheist become so entrenched in their rejection of God is a direct result of their refusal to embrace the level of truth given by God.  In other words, there is a biblical principle of light refused resulting in light lost.  Here is how the apostle Paul expressed it, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.   Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1.21-22, emphasis mine).  Those who reject the level of revelation God has given, i.e. creation, forfeit any further revelation or understanding of God.  They actually become darkened in their thinking and perception of God.

            The truth is, there is a God and every human being who has ever lived and who will ever live on His planet is accountable to Him.  To deny God is like denying the law of gravity and jumping off a building.  Gravity cares not if we agree that it exists, it will still take over and drag the jumper to the ground with a thud.  Likewise, a person who denies the existence of God does not change the fact that God exists.  Nor does a denial of God change the fact that there is a judgment day coming when every lost man must stand before God and give an account of his sin, even the atheist.  If you have made it your position in life to deny God, perhaps you might reconsider your position.  I assure you there is a God and you will meet Him one day, ready or not!

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