I just read an article about 100,000 people in the UK downloading and signing “certificates of de-baptism.”
I have noticed lately that the rhetoric from atheist groups has been significantly increasing in the last few years. From a logical standpoint, I totally do not understand this. Despite the lack of understanding from secularists, the Christian has a huge (and positive) mandate for spreading his faith. The Christian believes that those who don’t know God are “dead in their sins,” living a life that is detrimental to both their present reality and their future state, and blinded to the one real truth behind all of existence. From that standpoint, the only thing that truly makes sense is to then help the un-Christian to see that truth, to be healed, and to find life. It is no different to the Christian than if he had the secret panacea for disease. If he keeps his mouth shut, people die painfully and needlessly.
On the other hand, the atheist has no mandate for spreading his “truth” whatsoever. The atheist may believe that those who believe in God are in bondage to that, or that they have been brainwashed. At the same time, the atheist denies the existence of altruism fundamentally. An atheist cannot be an atheist if he believes that altruism exists. That would completely destroy his rationale. Even so, if the atheist believes that the Christian is in bondage, he must agree that the Christian enjoys his “bondage.” Of course, this undoes the atheists paradigm completely, but that is for a different discussion.
The point is this: the Christian is under both a biblical and moral mandate to tell others about his faith. The atheist claims no mandate from anyone other than himself, and if he spreads his lack of faith (a faith in itself, since his position cannot be proved) then he is guilty of the same exact thing he is so vitriolic against. Any atheism other than quiet atheism is in itself a paradox.
But what we are seeing is an atheism that is almost evangelical in nature (evangel comes from the Greek ευανγελλιον which means “good news”). This defies logic. But, it is not actually tied to any logical thought at all. Atheism isn’t a logical position to hold anyway.
The atheist says “I know that there is no God.” The atheist cannot prove that, any more than the theist can prove that there is. The Christian relies on faith and personal experience, coupled with a logical apologetic for his beliefs. The atheist relies on science (not that the Christian doesn’t), philosophy, and his experience—none of which can ever disprove in any way that there is a God. The atheist also relies on faith. He would never in a million years want to admit it, but he does.
So looking at this altogether, the atheist rails against the Christian’s outspokenness, when he has the same outspokenness, except he has no logical or moral mandate. He does this with great fervor, in order to free people from a bondage of faith, when he operates within his own bodage of faith. The atheists position obviously does not stem from the scientific logic that he espouses. Where does this invective stem from, then?
If truth be told, this does not come from logic at all, but emotion. That is to me, the most interesting aspect of this entire situation. The atheist claim to logical rigidity is far more emotional than it is logical. One hundred thousand Brits do not fill out certificates of “de-baptism” because they are logically rejecting faith. If that were the case, they would know that this certificate is not binding to anything legally, but is only symbolic. Symbols are emotional.
I believe that this movement is based on a variety of things. First of all, it is not in doubt that the secularists are “tired of hearing about God.” That is most certainly true. This could be because of many reasons. Christians have done a great job of making the “good news” neither good, nor real news. Christians have tried to use the good news about Jesus as a club instead of as a healing agent. But also, as Christians we know that as Jesus points out in John chapter 3, people reject Jesus because they know they will have to deal with their sin, and they don’t want to do that. this does not eclipse my previous 2 points, but it is certainly one of the biggest reasons that the atheist invective is so loud right now.
I do belive in the pendulum effect in almost all things. As long as Christians do what we are supposed to do, this evangelistic atheism will not hold such sway forever. There might be many unfortunate things that happen because of it, but it would be permanent. As Christians we can count on that both eschatologically and socialogically.