To me it’s not strange that atheists don’t believe in God. I understand because I was once an unbeliever myself. It’s human nature to rebel. Who wants to be held accountable and brought to justice for all the bad things he or she has done? If we pretend He doesn’t exist, the unbeliever might say, we don’t have to be held to account.
What I don’t get is why some atheists—certainly not all—make unbelief a part of their identity. My belief is my identity, not my unbelief. For instance, I don’t place my faith in Buddha, and I have no desire to go around insulting Buddhists or wearing an “anti-Buddha” label. I don’t go around boasting of being anti-pagan or anti-Muhammad, either.
For some atheists, unbelief is a job. Hemant Mehta, a blogger known as the “Friendly Atheist,” created a Kickstarter campaign for a book titled God Is an Abusive Boyfriend (and You Should Break Up). What’s the point? Mehta wrote:
“Our [Mehta and the book’s illustrator Tracey Moody] goal is to get people to reconsider their relationship with God. We all know people who feel like they need Him, but we are both atheists who enjoy happy, fulfilling lives without religious faith. We know it’s possible! So this is our way of offering a different perspective on God than the one people usually hear in church.”
Ah, happiness. One can be “happy” without God, as the world defines the word. How generous of Mehta to be so concerned about us as to turn his own misconceptions of the faith into a humorous book to bring us toward freethinking enlightenment. But he apparently was taken to task for making light of domestic violence, so he canceled the project. Mehta admitted that “the execution was poor and it upset a lot of good people.”
Are Christians among the good people he’s concerned about or just his fellow atheists? In the end, it doesn’t matter. God will deal with the unrepentant. These outspoken atheists expend all this energy yet claim not to hate the “sky god” or the “bronze-age book of superstitions.”
If such derision makes you angry, remember that they walk in darkness and are spiritually dead. This is a reason to pray, not to rejoice. Remember the apostle Paul’s instruction in Colossians 4:
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (ESV).
Remember that we’re alive in Christ, and we worship a living God, not dead idols. By His blood we’ve been redeemed, and no matter what troubles we face, remember what He said to the thief on the cross while His blood was shed:
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”