When Your Prodigal Claims to Be an Atheist
(Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash)
And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him, he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:24-26
Certainly, not all prodigals are atheists, but some claim to be. The above verse says it all. As hard as it might be to gently instruct rather than quarrel with them or become resentful, we have the Spirit of God living inside us to give us the ability to respond in godly ways. We can only control ourselves. Turning to God and His Word to provide us with wisdom and strength and praying that He might grant them repentance is more powerful than we know.
Having an atheist prodigal is heartbreaking. Knowing that God is on our side and trusting Him not to let go of them is our hope. Or better yet, God is our hope. He will not fail us. We keep speaking the truth in love, or God may show us to back off and let Him do what only He can do. We can't make our children more important than God. That is idolatry, and some of us have done that. If that is you, repent and confess your sin and God will forgive you and cleanse you from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). That is a promise to all believers in Christ Jesus. It's also a promise for our prodigals who at one time believed, even if they claim to be atheists now. But it will require they repent. We pray that they will come to their senses as God enables and turn away from atheism and turn to the One who promises forgiveness of their sins.
Below is an interesting article on what it means to be an atheist written by an atheist commenting on a Christian blog as he rebukes other atheists who are also writing their comments on the blog. I wonder how many who claim atheism honestly believe what he writes? If so, what a leap of faith it requires and is the very thing they criticize Christians for having. Lord, have mercy and grant our atheist prodigals repentance. Open their eyes to see what it means to take atheism to its full conclusion and want nothing more to do with it. Instead, to see that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and to return to the Father, who is waiting with open arms.
Cold Case Christianity: The Inevitable Consequence of An Atheistic Worldview
Posted: 13 Jul 2018 01:50 AM PDT
A few years ago, a gentleman (we’ll call him “John”) replied to a blog I posted at CrossExamined.org. As a skeptical non-believer, John wasn’t responding to what I had posted, but to fellow atheists who had been interacting with Christians in the comment section. John’s post was controversial but honest. In fact, he clearly delineated the problem of atheistic moral grounding. While the comments on the blog aren’t typically all that courteous, John complained they were too courteous, especially given the atheistic worldview of the people who were posting. Here’s what John had to say:
“[To] all my Atheist friends.
Let us stop sugar coating it. I know, it’s hard to come out and be blunt with the friendly Theists who frequent sites like this. However in your efforts to “play nice” and “be civil” you actually do them a great disservice.
We are Atheists. We believe that the Universe is a great uncaused, random accident. All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination. They are fleeting electrical signals that fire across our synapses for a moment in time. They served some purpose in the past. They got us here. That’s it. All human achievement and plans for the future are the result of some ancient, evolved brain and accompanying chemical reactions that once served a survival purpose. Ex: I’ll marry and nurture children because my genes demand reproduction, I’ll create because creativity served a survival advantage to my ancient ape ancestors, I’ll build cities and laws because this allowed my ape grandfather time and peace to reproduce and protect his genes. My only directive is to obey my genes. Eat, sleep, reproduce, die. That is our bible.
We deride the Theists for having created myths and holy books. We imagine ourselves superior. But we too imagine there are reasons to obey laws, be polite, protect the weak etc. Rubbish. We are nurturing a new religion, one where we imagine that such conventions have any basis in reality. Have they allowed life to exist? Absolutely. But who cares? Outside of my greedy little gene’s need to reproduce, there is nothing in my world that stops me from killing you and reproducing with your wife. Only the fear that I might be incarcerated and thus be deprived of the opportunity to do the same with the next guy’s wife stops me. Some of my Atheist friends have fooled themselves into acting like the general population. They live in suburban homes, drive Toyota Camrys, attend school plays. But underneath they know the truth. They are a bag of DNA whose only purpose is to make more of themselves. So be nice if you want. Be involved, have polite conversations, be a model citizen. Just be aware that while technically an Atheist, you are an inferior one. You’re just a little bit less evolved, that’s all. When you are ready to join me, let me know, I’ll be reproducing with your wife.
I know it’s not PC to speak so bluntly about the ramifications of our beliefs, but in our discussions with Theists we sometimes tip toe around what we really know to be factual. Maybe it’s time we Atheists were a little more truthful and let the chips fall where they may. At least that’s what my genes are telling me to say.”
John bluntly captured the true nature of morality when it is untethered to a transcendent source. Since posting this comment, I’ve been able to peek at John’s life in a very limited way and I’ve had a brief interaction with him. He appears to be a creative, responsible, loving husband and father. In fact, his outward life looks much like the life you and I might lead as Christians. As an atheist, my moral compass was much like that of the Christians I knew. But knowing what is far different than knowing why. I embraced a particular set of moral laws even though I couldn’t account for these laws in a world without a transcendent moral law giver. I typically attributed morality to some form of social or cultural evolution, but as John correctly observes, our selfish genes are not interested in the welfare of others when their personal survival is at stake. Without a true transcendent source for morality (and purpose), skeptics are left trying to invent their own, justifying their subjective moral rules as best they may. In the end, as John rightly observes, they end up “nurturing a new religion” and creating for themselves the very thing they detest.
When John first posted his comment (and I first started talking about it on my podcast), many of the other atheists who post at CrossExamined were infuriated. Some denied John’s identity as a skeptic and accused him of being a disguised Christian. But in my interaction with John, he told me he was weary of hearing fellow atheists mock their opponents for hypocrisy and ignorance, while pretending they had a definitive answer to the great questions of life. He simply wanted his fellow atheists to be consistent. As it turns out, theism provides the consistent moral foundation missing from John’s atheistic worldview.
This blog post from J. Warner first appeared as a BreakPoint blog post (be sure to visit BreakPoint often)
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, Christian Case Maker, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, God’s Crime Scene, God’s Crime Scene for Kids, and Forensic Faith.
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