I don’t believe in Atheists.
I know my sarcasm doesn’t come across well in print – I could tell you horror stories of emails taken literally. I also learned my sarcasm doesn’t really translate well in some speaking situations in New Zealand.
It could be that the same holds true in Canada, but Canadians have learned to chuckle nervously when they get the timing, but not the joke. I may not have grasped the intricacies of New Zealand timing.
‘I don’t believe in Atheists’ is funny to me because Atheists don’t believe in God, and when I say I don’t believe in them the juxtaposition is humorous. (But when you need to explain sarcasm it tends to really loose something.) I don’t believe in Atheists because of what Paul wrote to the Romans:
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (1:20)
No one can get a worldview without God by looking at nature. Studying a cell, or theorizing space time, or watching a sunset, or looking at the waves is not how people choose to call themselves Atheists. It’s not nature they look at, but evil.
Theodicy – the question of evil – is a legitimate question followers of Christ with because those not yet in the faith – when they take the time to genuinely question -will almost naturally gravitate towards it. And evil is real so everyone must reconcile it to how they understand the world.
If God is Good and God is Great, why do bad things happen? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do bad things happen to me? Why do bad things happen to those I love?
We wrestled with these questions while we were in New Zealand, and while we can quote the academic answers, we still wrestle. Faith is not “I understand” but rather “I choose to trust.” But you can’t trust what you don’t know.
So if you’re an unthinking Agnostic claiming to be an Atheist, or perhaps a clichéd Agnostic unwilling to question, just know – if God isn’t Good and if God isn’t Great, then being a follower of him is the most futile thing you can do with your life. But how can you know if you don’t question and seek the answers?
And one last thought to my atheist friends – you may not believe in God, but He believes in you!