Why do atheists care?

By | 27 February 2006

Atheism is a belief that there is no god. Contrasted with agnosticism, the belief that we can’t know whether or not there is a god, atheism is predicated upon a basic belief held by others that there is a god. Interestingly, though, many atheists take great pains to attempt to prove their beliefs.

Some say that belief in a god is not useful to life. Others claim it is dangerous to an individual’s psyche. Most, though, claim to not care what anyone else believes, so long as they can go about their business believing in nothing. If neither believing nor disbelieving in god really matters, why would an atheist care to defend his position?

Atheists defend their position, because they know that they have to be right to have any security in their beliefs. Realistically, if there is no god, it doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in one. If an atheist were true to his/her claims, they wouldn’t care about defending themselves. We’re all going to some great oblivion when we die, and we won’t know about it, since we’re really just animals that can think.

The problem faced by any defensive atheist is that they have nagging at the backs of their minds that they might be wrong. What if that Muslim is right? the Jew? the Christian? The only reason to defend a belief there is no god of any kind is to give confidence to the defender. The atheist has to be correct in his beliefs. A Jew doesn’t have to be right in her belief – if it turns out there is no god, she’ll never know. The same is true of the Muslim or Christian.

The atheist, on the other hand, will be sorely disappointed if it turns out there is a god. After a lifetime of espousing nothingness, if there is an eternal realm after death, the atheist will end up spending it in some form of separation from the god he claimed didn’t exist.

For the sake of the atheists, I could hope there is no god. I could hope that my belief and reliance upon the omnipotent God of the Bible is wrong – that I’m just wasting my life going to church, participating in the sacraments, and spreading my faith to others. But I can’t do that. I believe the God of the Bible is real. I believe in eternal, happy, fulfilled fellowship with the triune God for those who have trusted in His proffered method of salvation, those who have trusted in the atoning work of Christ on the cross. I believe in an eternal separation from God’s favor for those who have scoffed at Him, where they will suffer forever.

I believe any who claim there is no God will be in that place of suffering for eternity. I don’t want to see them go there, and will continue to tell them about the God I serve as long as I’m capable in this life.

Just consider whether or not I might be right.