“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 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. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” -Romans 1:18-23
“Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” -Richard Dawkins
“The kindly God who lovingly fashioned each and every one of us and sprinkled the sky with shining stars for our delight — that God is, like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in. That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete or abandoned altogether.” -Daniel Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, p.18
The second major issue which I think we have to address when looking at the cause of lukewarmness in our traditionally Christian societies is the rise in popular “belief” in Atheism. By definition, atheism is the rejection of belief in God or gods, or to state positively, is the belief in the nonexistence of God or gods. Today atheism is commonly associated with the study of science, particularly evolution, however this is neither a necessary or sufficient condition for holding this belief. As we have seen in the number recited in an earlier post, traditionally strong forces for Christianity in Europe such as Britain, France, and Germany, are turning more and more to atheistic beliefs as a world view. Though the numbers are not quite as high in America, I think this is something that we should consider an up-and-coming problem here as well.
One interesting point of atheism is the fact that, even though it seems like such a trite thing, people didn’t specifically begin formulating atheism as a belief system until 16th century France. And even then, the true explosion of atheism onto the scene as a recognizable belief wasn’t until the modern period of the 18th and 19th centuries. Truly, the formulation of atheism was the result, not of man being to blind to see a god in the universe, but instead it resulted from man exalting himself (and more precisely, his intellect) as god. Atheism reached a major watermark when it was advanced by Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto. Amazingly, all of this coincides well with the words of Paul in Romans 1: “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Here we see man, thinking himself wise, exchanging the glory of God for the exaltation of the modern man and his powers of reason and science. Wow!
Now, in the 21st century, atheism is taken in a lot of places as the rule and not the exception. In America we are being confronted with an increasingly atheistic society, with the removal of God being pursued in all areas of public life. In the bookstores, books by prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, and Sam Harris are sitting upfront and perennially rank among the top nonfiction titles. Atheism has truly moved out of the darkness and scandal of the French salons and has become an acceptable way of thinking throughout Western society.
As Christians seeking to awaken the faith in these Christian countries we must acknowledge the threat posed by atheism. In the consumer driven lifestyle of most Westerners, once an item is able to make its way into the pop-culture then it is able to win over disciples and stake its claim as a legitimate option to buy into. This is what atheism has done. It has pushed in through popular literature and with the sweeping current of educational reform and has established itself as the only intelligent choice. Above we see Dennett saying that atheism is the only thing a “sane” individual could accept, and Dawkins accuses those who claim faith in something as being intellectually dishonest, using a “cop-out” from actually thinking critically. The message is clear: only the mentally inadequate have faith in a god; the truly enlightened know that science has all of the answers and man can access them on his own. As such, Christianity becomes a mentally inferior way of life.
In order to effectively revive faith in our traditionally Christian societies, in order to carry out the Laodicean Project, we must be able to confront atheism, defend Christianity, and demonstrate the existence and character of God. A good resource for this is a series of lectures which R. Albert Mohler recently gave at Dallas Theological Seminary. I have placed the link below and encourage anyone interested in or currently dealing with the challenge of atheism to give it a listen and see just exactly what it is we’re up against.
God exists, and deep down inside, every man has been gifted with the knowledge of this by Him. Because of this we are all “without excuse” when faced with God’s wrath, no matter how much we deny it is true!
R. Albert Mohler- “The New Atheism”