I want you to design a picture in your mind of the typical atheist and compose a brief description to go under that picture as a caption. I’ll give you a few minutes to do so…go ahead and start and then come back.
Got it? Okay; let’s compare notes. The picture is of a person who is very angry, mocking, antagonistic, and puerile in his or her hatred of Christians. They are immoral, hedonistic, sexually promiscuous, unpatriotic, and very self-centered. Sound about right?
While that may be true of a few atheists, that is not the norm for all of them. Our new friend Mrs. J from the book The Unexpected Journey provides this warning and Dr. Rainer add his commentary:
Christians must also get beyond the stereotypes of people of other beliefs. “I run into a lot of Christians who think that all atheists are immoral. That is not necessarily true,” Mrs. J. told us. “I was an atheist who, for many years, held to traditional biblical moral beliefs just because they were the beliefs of my parents.” Though her moral standards would later crumble without a certain foundation, her point was well made. Not all atheists are alike. (p. 75)
“…held to traditional biblical beliefs…” Quite a different atheist than the one we have on our lists, isn’t it? What’s that? What list am I talking about? You know, your list of those people who will never get saved so you don’t bother witnessing to them. You don’t have one of those lists? Okay, must just be me. That’s fine, we’ll go on…
It’s important to remember that unbelief is a symptom of our wicked hearts. Even God’s Chosen People were and are guilty of this:
“But they sinned even more against Him by rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness. And they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy. Yes, they spoke against God: they said, ‘Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?’” (Psalm 78:17-19)
Some atheists simply do not believe in God without having an agenda of attacking Christianity. They simply just do not believe in God and His Son Jesus. But neither did Jesus’ brothers:
“His brothers therefore said to Him, ‘Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.’ For even His brothers did not believe in Him.” (John 7:3-5)
You see beloved, not believing in Jesus doesn’t necessarily equate to militant anti-Christianity; it merely means they don’t believe in Jesus. Now there are those who are very outspoken and are itching for a fight with Christians. Back to Mrs. J. for a better understanding. She talks about two major categories of atheists: those who are apathetic toward religions and those who have an agenda to push their beliefs on the world:
They have a very clear agenda. They want to destroy Christianity. They view Christians and the church as all that is wrong with society today. A number of atheists are also a part of the active homosexual community or are deeply involved in pro-choice politics. Many are filled with hatred fro what they see as the condemning and restricting values of the Christian community. I know how they feel. As an atheist with a political ax to grind, I looked at all the churches on nearly every street corner and said, “My God, they are everywhere.” (p. 75)
Bill Maher immediately comes to mind to fit this mold, doesn’t he? Or the in-your-face repugnant flaming homosexual militant who loves pushing your buttons about being gay. These are who we consider atheists and frankly, we hate them.
Yes you do. I do too if I allow my flesh preeminence. But we are to take this hatred shoved in our face and return the love of Christ.
You know why you don’t know how to react to these attacks? It’s because you take them personal instead of the persecution Jesus said would come, as a blessing, no less:
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
So the next time this happens to you I want you to consider it a blessing, okay? Yeah, I know, easier said then done, but I’m sure Jesus actually meant it as a real and practical reality, not just some theological point we can discuss in Sunday School.
So then how can we actually reach out to someone who is intent on destroying Christianity?
We’ll look at that tomorrow…
If you’re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please click here and use “Please add to Devotional List” as the subject.”
Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers
Aletheia, Apologetics, atheism, Bible, Christian Activism, Christianity, Conservatism, Corruption, Culture, Evangelism, Faith, Forgiveness, Grace, Guilt, Mercy, Morality, Politics, Prayer, Revival, Sin, Truth, Wisdom