Jesus Loves Atheists
By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – April 6, 2015)
-- “We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can’t disprove Thor,
fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” This statement
by Dr. Richard Dawkins is often quoted in arguments against God's
existence. Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, is one of the leading
figures of what has been termed New Atheism.
The quote is interesting on two fronts. One, it owns up to the fact
that people (the “we” in the quote) cannot disprove God’s existence. And
two, the quote seems to equate God to mythical lore and human
fabrication—exactly Dawkins's intention.
Dawkins is correct in his understanding of the first statement—”we
cannot…disprove God”—and misinformed on the second: most of the world’s
notion of God far transcends such an obvious and silly fabrication like a
“Flying Spaghetti Monster.”
But Dawkins, like other people, is vigorously opposed to the idea
that there is a God or a supreme being. Their belief system leads them
to a position called atheism. According to the Pew Research Center, 2.4%
of the population consider themselves atheist. The Pew study also
reveals that most atheists tend to be men (67%) and a significant
portion are young (38% are between the ages of 18-29).
The position of atheism is not new. The Sophists in ancient Greece
questioned whether the gods were real, (3] as did many in the Roman
Empire, including the philosopher Lucretius.
Even biblical writers recognized that there were atheists. King David
wrote in Psalm 14:1, “The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no
The amazing truth taught in the Bible is that regardless of our
opinions of Him—whether we come to belief in God or have always done so
or arrive at a position of no belief—God's attitude towards humanity is
unwavering: God loves the world (see John 3:16). And by extension of
this truth (God’s incarnation through Jesus, the second person of the
godhead), Jesus loves atheists.
The word atheism is derived from two Greek words: a, meaning without; and theism, meaning god: atheism, then, literally means without-god.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary rightly defines atheism as both disbelief and a “doctrine” (meaning code, creed, and dogma). The atheist is one who feels that there are empirical reasons to believe that
God does not exist (usually through the sciences). This definition is different from a similar belief, agnosticism (Greek: no knowledge),
which teaches that God—if there is one—is unknowable and
undiscoverable. Theoretically, the agnostic is unsure about God’s
existence, whereas the atheist believes that there is no God.
As you would expect, the Bible does not adhere to an atheistic view
(or even an agnostic) view of the world. The biblical writers
demonstrated—and were proof themselves—that God is involved in all of
history and with all of humanity, from creation to consummation.
Furthermore, the Bible teaches that God is personal and desires a
relationship with His creation. However, the Bible does have texts
that recognize the viewpoint of atheism.
Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1: “The
fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'“ The literal translation
of that last phrase is simply “No God,” with the implication that the
person is saying, “No God for me”—an outright, personal rejection of God
Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world
His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the
things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they
are without excuse.”
1 Corinthians 2:14: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are
foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Like many thinking people, atheists are given to intellectual ideas
and what they deem rational arguments. But atheism does not corner the
market on intellectual inquiry. Many former atheists have become
believers in Christ, driven primarily by an honest response to the
evidence. Contrary to many atheistic claims against a theistic (belief
in God) worldview, there are logical arguments for God’s existence. Dr.
William Lane Craig presented one such approach in Philosophy Now magazine. His approach covered eight points:
1. God is the best explanation why anything at all exists.
* This can be seen in the syllogism (a formal logical system):
* Every contingent thing has an explanation of its existence.
* If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is a transcendent, personal being.
* The universe is a contingent thing. ·
* Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence.
Therefore, the explanation of the universe is a transcendent, personal
being– which is what everybody means by 'God.'
2. God is the best explanation of the origin of the universe.
3. God is the best explanation of the applicability of mathematics to the physical world.
4. God is the best explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.
5. God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness.
6. God is the best explanation of objective moral values and duties.
7. The very possibility of God’s existence implies that God exists.
8. God can be personally known and experienced.
Some of this is heady material—and requires attention, study, and
thought. The point in listing it is to afford you a plan in reaching
atheists. If rational arguments are not your cup of tea, an atheist can
be reached, like all people, by the basic principles all Christians can
engage in: prayer, love, service, and compassion. These characterizes
are summarized in the acronym LOVE.
L—listen to people. Get to know them and their
situation and their viewpoint. It’s been said that people listen to only
ten to thirty percent of what someone says to them. Don’t be that
person. Listen with generosity and a genuine interest in the person.
O—observe their life. Where are they coming
from—emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually? What is it they're
really saying through their actions and words? In other words, try to
assess their worldview. What is the root of their beliefs? The worldview
will help you develop a plan in answering the questions they may
have. One researcher said that observation is a fine art. If this is the case, become a fine artist.
V—voice God’s truth. Here you’ll need to do some
homework. You’ll need to define and discover what God has to say through
the Bible concerning atheism. Then, get some good books and
commentaries to assist you. Develop a plan of outreach, revealing what
the Bible has to say about atheism. But know this: don’t just heap Bible
verses upon them. You’ll need to go the extra mile to really minister
to and discuss important topics with them.
E—embrace them with the love of God in Christ.
Notice I don’t say agree with them or side with them on a particular
subject, but to embrace them as God would you. One of the meanings of
embrace is “support.” Don’t support the sin but do support the sinner.
Keep Jesus the focus of your conversation and outreach.
To watch a video on Jesus Loves Atheists, click here: http://www.jesuslovespeople.com/atheists.html and scroll down the page. The video on the left hand side (with a big play button).
 Google defines New Atheism as follows: “A social and political
movement in favor of atheism and secularism promoted by a collection of
modern atheist writers who have advocated the view that 'religion should
not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and
exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises.'"
. Lucretius (99-55BC) was a materialist, meaning that he believed only
in what could be sensed in the physical world. That led him to discredit
the gods or any other supernatural source of creation.
 This does not mean that God approves of their viewpoint. Just as God loves a sinner yet despises the sin,
God loves an atheist but not his or her worldview.
 There are many text that support this, for example: Jeremiah 29:1; John 1:10-14.
Photo caption: Jesus Loves Atheists logo
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