What runs below may initially appear to be a rant. It’s not, or at least it’s not intended to be. I plan to spend the next few days talking about atheism and its growing appeal to young men, especially Millennials. I hope you will stay with me to the end (Thursday) where I intend to get very practical in suggesting how and why we should engage this new Atheism. Thanks, Will Davis Jr
I read another account recently of a supposedly “Christian” musician who had seen the light and (converted? reverted? switched over?) to atheism. He reportedly had grown weary of “believing a lie” and had decided to “embrace reason” and admit to himself that there was no God.
That is, curiously, an increasingly popular thing to day these days.
I’ve also been reading a book about the life of a world-renown atheist author. It has been fascinating, very enlightening and one that I’m sure I’ll recommend to you in the future.
For today’s purposes, I’d like to shed a little light on why so many, especially young men who are Millennials, appear to be rejecting God and becoming rather outspoken in their atheism.
Now by way of qualifying, I am NOT talking about most of the men I would consider friends, some who occasionally attend my church, who would put themselves in the atheist or agnostic category. These are humble men who really struggle with their inability to move in the realm of faith, who wrestle with what they believe to be serious conflicts between what the Bible says and what science proves, and men who readily acknowledge the obvious disconnect with the fact that that they have no problem with their family members being Christians.
I am NOT talking below about those guys.
I remember telling atheist leader David Silverman that he and his militant buddies were giving true atheists a bad name. Because the atheists that I know are nothing like Silverman and his hit squad of thugs who seek to impose their worldview on everyone else and silence those who choose to believe.
But there is a new brand of atheism emerging, and one that is quite attractive to many young men.
Atheism gives you permission to be selfish and self-centered.
Atheists have no reason to put others before themselves. Atheists and their buddies the humanists and the naturalists happily admit that self is at the center of their world view. Why wouldn’t it be? With no life beyond this one, no God to answer to and Darwinism’s “survival of the fittest” driving them to stay ahead of the evolutionary curve, why wouldn’t they put themselves at the center of their world?
Atheism gets you lots of attention, especially from Christians.
One great way to find yourself at the center of everyone’s attention is to simply start saying that you no longer believe in God. Suddenly you’re everyone’s favorite project. People — family, friends, pastors and even complete strangers — suddenly are trying to convert you. Others just want to debate you.
And atheists, many of whom have no intention of seriously considering the other side, love the attention. For them, playing the contrarian is part of the fun of being an atheist. It’s almost like a game to them.
A few years ago an atheist leader asked me to help him find a church in which to shoot a promotional video for his movement. When I declined to help him and told him that no pastor I knew would either, he seemed genuinely hurt. It was like this was all one big friendly game to him, not a spiritual struggle with eternally high stakes.
But the fact remains, if you want to get a lot of attention, just start talking about your lack of faith.
Atheists get to claim to be smarter than everyone else.
I mentioned above that the “Christian” artist had decided to “embrace reason” and reject God. It’s like he took the phrase right off of an atheist web site.
The “we’re reasonable, you’re not,” “we refuse to believe fairytales,” and “thinking people don’t need God,” mantras have been favorites of militant atheists for years. And when you add to that the cultural perception and constant media blitz that says science, philosophy and academics have all proven that God is a figment of weak people’s imaginations and that really smart people refuse to buy the ruse, then who wouldn’t want to side with that crowd?
And even though any atheist who is indeed a thinker knows full well that there are many passionate followers of Jesus who are highly respected in the aforementioned disciplines, who neither checked their brains at the door of their church nor their faith at the door of their respective lab, classroom or library, they still act as if the thinking man’s disciplines belong to those who have rejected the foolish notion of the divine.
Atheists love to play the card that they are smarter than everyone else. And if you’re a young man looking for a group with whom to identify, and you have no real loyalty to church or faith, then what wouldn’t be attractive about joining up with those who claim to be the intellectual elite?
There are several other “advantages” to being an atheist that I will list tomorrow. But for today, do you see the theme developing that today’s new atheism has very little to do with the conviction that there is no God?
Hasta manana. In the meantime, I welcome your comments.