What is atheism?

Atheism is the belief that God does not exist. Atheism differs from agnosticism because agnosticism is the belief that the existence of God is unknown while atheism is convinced that there absolutely is no god. This rejection of God's existence is nothing new. King David wrote in Psalm 14:1 around 1000 BC, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Humans have rejected a belief in God's existence throughout history for many different reasons such as lack of empirical evidence, the problem of evil, and the argument from inconsistent revelations.

These objections raise the question, why do Christians believe in God? While His existence cannot be absolutely proven, the Bible outlines some ways God has revealed Himself to all humanity. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world" (Psalm 19:1–4). It is not only in the starry universe that God's handiwork is displayed, but also in nature around us. "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). Paul goes on to say that God's existence can even be seen in the inner workings of our conscience. "They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them" (Romans 2:15). Solomon expressed a similar sentiment in Ecclesiastes 3:11 when he stated that God "has put eternity into man's heart."

While God has revealed Himself in these general ways to all humanity, Christians recognize that believing in God requires faith. Hebrews 11:6 states, "without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." The writer of Hebrews asserts that faith pleases God. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "For by grace you have been saved through faith" (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation is based on that step of faith that trusts not only that God exists, but that He sent His son to live a perfect life and die on our behalf to reconcile the relationship between God and believers and "that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Jesus stated that believers who haven't seen Him in the flesh are blessed in a way that those who lived alongside Him were not. "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).

Christians understand that God's existence must be accepted by faith, however that faith is not without foundation. Many people, however, often fail to see that believing in atheism also requires faith. Because atheism claims that God absolutely does not exist, it asserts that there is no god living in the center of the sun or even in as-yet undiscovered universes. Since these claims are obviously unprovable, this belief that there is no god anywhere must be accepted in faith.

Both atheism and Christianity are a matter of faith, either in the non-existence of any god anywhere or in the existence and salvation of the God of the Bible. Christians believe God's existence can be clearly seen, keenly sensed, and argued to be philosophically and scientifically necessary. In fact, many who started out as atheists later became convinced that there is a God when they began to really study the Bible, notice nature, and investigate the historical documents. Among these no-longer atheists are authors C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, and Ravi Zacharias. Reading their works sheds light on their thinking and beliefs and the process each went through to reject their faith in atheism and put their faith in the God of the Bible. Second Peter 3:9 states that the Lord "is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." Peter shows in this verse God's desire to have even the most ardent atheist come to a saving faith in Him.

Related Truth:

What is agnosticism?

What is Naturalism?

What does natural law teach?

How is belief in God different than belief in a Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Can the existence of God be proven?

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