The United States has a rising number of atheists (or, maybe, more vocal atheists). It seems that this has become an attractive alternative to Christianity or any other form of organized religion. I have become interested particularly because at least two of my “friends” on Facebook call themselves atheists.
I wanted to consider atheism and think of some possible answers for why people become atheists. Since both of my friends went to a Catholic high school with me, I wanted to consider reasons for their atheism. The following is a short list of possibilities:
1. They were “burned” by the church. I mean to say they believed in God, but because they saw hypocrisy, abuse or other form of human sin, they rejected the faith of their youth.
2. They had parents who were abusive, cruel or manipulative. The “father figure” does seem to play a role in the emotional development of an individual. If they had unresolved issues with their parents, these could bleed into their beliefs about God.
3. They were adopted and feel abandoned by God, especially if their adoptive parents were cruel in some way.
4. Some University professor indoctrinated them into Atheism
5. The church in the U.S. took a social stance that they couldn’t agree with.
Of course, I am looking at some of these as emotional rather than intellectual rejections for God. I think if it’s true that some reject God based on emotional reasoning, then I should approach them from emotional reasoning. Or, at the very least, make them aware of the possibility that they reason emotionally about God because of their past.
“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” (Psalm 14:1)
My new approach to my atheist friends is to understand their reasons for atheism. I am not interested in confrontation. I am more interested in declaration. I declare with certainty that Jesus Christ is the living God. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is no other way to the Father but by Him. I declare that Jesus lived, died and was resurrected bodily into heaven. I declare that He took all of my sin and my sinfulness and was crucified on the cross to take the punishment for all of my sin. I declare that at His baptism, Jesus was annointed King, and His Kingdom began. I declare that this Jesus is the creator of all that is . . . even atheists.
AND, I declare that when at the times I feel like an atheist, Jesus does not abandon me, despite my unbelief. “If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).