Why do Some Prefer Atheism?
I was recently asked by a friend why some people prefer atheism over Christianity. So I wrote this article to expand and illustrate the answer I gave based on experience with professing atheists on internet forums.
A preference toward atheism obviously defies logic because the presence of a Sovereign Being responsible for universal order is clearly evident. Our inner beings long for it. Is there any to call on for mercy when the environment becomes destructive beyond control? As a sand castle on a beach provides undeniable evidence that humans were present, so are laws, order, and life undeniable evidence of a Higher Being that’s in control. The scriptures warn that any belief otherwise is inexcusable (Psalms 14:1).
Then why do some prefer atheism? The reason is that they are driven by religious disillusionment. Satan injected the same into Eve with a lie. Unlike the Judeo-Christian faith that provides a path back to God our Creator, atheism is a religion of rebellious denial that dethrones God to place man in the position of ultimate authority. It manifests itself as an effort to escape God’s authority by defiance, because of chains of false religion, and because of enticement from anti-Biblical politics. Atheism’s mode of unbelief is not as that of a person told there’s a unicorn in his back yard, but as one that refuses to acknowledge the presence of an elephant staring in his face. One may practice atheism only by profession. In truth, he is a believer in denial.
Although the Bible warns that people will stray from the Gospel even when presented at its best, Jesus also warned against false religion that gains proselytes only to make them two-fold candidates for hell (Matthew 23:15). From my conversations with professing atheists, I found them exasperated by “religion”— that is, erroneously applied Biblical truth forced on them. Consider for example how a struggling believer may be buffeted with threats of hell for insignificant infractions made to appear significant by well meaning members of his congregation. Besides, there is hypocrisy and the absence of demonstrations of the power of God over sin—a dead gospel. False religion commonly implies that a good standing with God depends on ones ability to please God by his own merit apart from grace despite Biblical teaching that none but God are good. It’s also made to appear as if done by man-pleasing. That robs the student believer of grace only to place him under the impossible burden of the law as Paul described in the seventh chapter of Romans. An authentic relationship with Christ is one of restored friendship instead of bondage to dutiful religion.
Upon realizing the vanity of self merit, unaware of deliverance by the power of the cross from sin, and knowing there’s no escape from God’s judgment for the undelivered, a struggling believer may end up exasperated to the point of turning on God like a cornered cat to accuse God instead of trusting Him. Instead of seeing God as merciful and ready to forgive, he sees God only as a tyrant that abuses His infinite power to impose an impossible morality on mankind while pointing a gun called hell at his head. In other words, he sees God as the accusers of the woman caught in adultery instead of the woman’s Deliverer (St. John 3:8-11). The apparent failure of the gospel to the atheist is the reason that any attempt by another to lead him back to the road of redemption would only invoke the “been there-done that” claim. He thought he had tried Christ only by the endless repetitions of man-pleasing religious motions. Frustrated believers may also flee to occultism, humanism, pantheism, or countless other false philosophies.
Atheists almost always discuss their fear of hell during conversations and claim that they simply cannot serve a cruel, immoral god that would “roast” an individual for eternity. They view Christians as purveyors of “scare tactics” to force submission. Even their reading the Bible drives them further from God because they accuse God for “mass murder” of homosexuals in Sodom and Gomorrah and for other judgment scenarios. As they believe that the word of God stands only against them, they reject it to seek comfort from humanism for relief from the impossible burden of sin. That makes them prime targets for politically motivated atheism.
I found that the best way to gain ground with atheists is to learn of the good in them and support, commend, and bless them for it. That led to major changes in attitudes of some for the good. Although others may yet appear unmoved, the support was recorded in their memory. My hope is that their renewed trust would ultimately lead them to renewed trust in God. They apparently turn against us Christians because they lost confidence in themselves thinking that we lost confidence in them. Their ultra proud speech only shows deep hurt from within.
Socialism promotes atheism in its effort to establish itself as a God-opposing worldwide culture. What better way is there to destroy conscience of supernatural accountability? It seeks to sour public awareness of God by criminalizing all Bible related activities in the public square. It seeks to destroy public confidence in God’s authority by normalizing and empowering the evils of abortion, homosexual behavior, and countless other behaviors that the Bible clearly warns against and condemns.
If evolution is ever proven a fact, the reality of God and the Biblical creation account would become a lie. Socialism thus makes it appear so by having evolution taught as undeniable fact in public education. But evolution is supported only by hype instead of truth. Is it possible to disprove the self-evident truth that universal order as well as man was created and that man was endowed by his Creator with unalienable rights? Such can only be ignored and replaced with lies. The believing student of evolution is thus easily enticed to an atheistic conclusion that ones belief in God is belief only in a myth. Christians would only appear to him as trying to buck science by forcing the creation “myth” on the public. “Science” (or the abuse of it) then becomes his all-knowing god. The “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13) must therefore stand strong not to allow itself to be trodden under by propagation of such a mindset.
Didn’t the Bible warn us that many would suppress the truth and instead prefer a lie in the last days (Romans 1:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:11)? Atheism thus appears attractive to many because they are culturally enticed to a belief necessary to support the encroaching anti-God world order predicted in the Bible.
Earl L. Dunn