He Scares Them: The Reason Radical Atheists Won’t Take Jesus Seriously

Thursday is for Apologetics

Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor/King
Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor/King

They will philosophize. They will argue. They will throw sarcasm and scorn. They will seek to overwhelm you with volume, and anger, and vitriol, and stories about “how could a good God …” But the last thing any of them will do is open up a New Testament and read it honestly.

They might read it for proof texts. They might read it for alleged “discrepancies.” They might read it to scorn its miracles. But they will not read it for the objective picture it paints of its central character–Jesus. They won’t do that because He scares them.

His presence, and power, and beauty are so compelling that it would upset the strength of their a priori assumption that such a being cannot exist.

He scares them. Because if He lived the life He lived, and if He died the death He died, and rose on the third day “according to Scripture”, they would have to bow their knee and conform to His will rather than theirs. And that would mean giving up their rebellion. But, when by the power of God and through the word of your testimony, a New Testament is opened, and is read with honesty, even hardened hearts, are changed. Napoleon, in exile because of his crimes against Europe, was one such rebel who opened the Book. His conclusion?

“I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions the distance of infinity. . . . Everything in Christ astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and his will confounds me. Between him and whoever else in the world, there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a being by himself. His ideas and sentiments, the truth which he announces, his manner of convincing, are not explained either by human organization or by the nature of things . . . . The nearer I approach, the more carefully I examine, everything is above me–everything remains grand, of a grandeur, which overpowers. His religion is a revelation from an intelligence which certainly is not that of man . . . One can absolutely find nowhere, but in him alone, the imitation or the example of his life. . . . I search in vain in history to find the similar to Jesus Christ, or anything which can approach the gospel. Neither history, nor humanity, nor the ages, nor nature, offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or to explain it. Here everything is extraordinary.”1

  • 1Cited in McDowell, Josh, Evidence that Demands a Verdict: Vol. 1, (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1972), 111.

“Everything is extraordinary” about the Christ you love and serve.  “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8).

Everything you do for our extraordinary Christ is worth all the ridicule and scorn you might endure. He has promised much to His children. Keep delighting in Him.


12 thoughts on “He Scares Them: The Reason Radical Atheists Won’t Take Jesus Seriously

  1. A lot of atheists were Christians and have read the bible. Sometimes the bible is what leads them to not believing.

    It also doesn’t follow that if Jesus were real, that anyone would have to bend the knee and worship it. They’d merely have to acknowledge it exists.

    So no, it doesn’t scare them. I think it more likely atheists scare the religious because we have better arguments and because we show just by existing that you can be good without god and dogma.

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    1. Dear Godless Cranium,

      I will grant you this, some atheist/agnostics have read the Bible and have moved away from belief in God. Titles of posts are fishing lures and get robbed of their bait if you put too much nuance on them. But I had to laugh when I read atheists have better arguments. Thanks for that. That was funny. Try this one on.
      http://www.prageruniversity.com/Religion-Philosophy/Does-Science-Argue-for-or-against-God.html#.Vbp4ZDBViko

      Try the Kalam Cosmological Argument in THE EXISTENCE OF GOD AND THE BEGINNNING OF THE UNIVERSE by William Craig.

      Your second paragraph shows that you haven’t comprehended the Bible or the NT declarations about Jesus. If Jesus is who the NT says he is (just read carefully the first 14 verses of the Gospel of John), than yes, than all of us should “bow our knees” and worship Him. To not do so is like you and me driving down the road in your car, me looking at your gas guage and saying, “you know Godless, this car only gets about 29 miles per gallon and we’ve got more than 100 miles to go. That E means empty. Maybe we should stop and get gas?” And you turning to me and saying, “that’s your truth. That’s not my truth. I’m going to ignore the evidence and keep driiving.”

      It won’t be long before we are carrying on our conversation while walking. Truth is truth and has to be dealt with. If Jesus is who the NT claims, it is foolish to not believe and follow Him.

      Hope you have a good day,

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      1. “I will grant you this, some atheist/agnostics have read the Bible and have moved away from belief in God. ”

        Fair enough.

        “hanks for that. That was funny. Try this one on.”

        Okay. On their own website it states:

        “We are not an accredited academic institution. ”

        Nuff said.

        “Try the Kalam Cosmological Argument”

        Okay. Then apply it to your god. If you can say that god doesn’t need a creator, then we can say that about the universe.

        “Your second paragraph shows that you haven’t comprehended the Bible or the NT declarations about Jesus.”

        What about it shows that?

        “If Jesus is who the NT says he is (just read carefully the first 14 verses of the Gospel of John), than yes, than all of us should “bow our knees” and worship Him.”

        Not really. Acknowledging something exists doesn’t mean I must worship it. If I knew Superman existed that wouldn’t mean I’d need to grovel to him.

        “THE EXISTENCE OF GOD AND THE BEGINNNING OF THE UNIVERSE by William Craig. ”

        I’ve watched Craig a lot and his defense of infanticide makes him someone I am not a fan of. I also think his arguments aren’t very convincing.

        ” “you know Godless, this car only gets about 29 miles per gallon and we’ve got more than 100 miles to go. That E means empty. Maybe we should stop and get gas?” And you turning to me and saying, “that’s your truth. That’s not my truth. I’m going to ignore the evidence and keep driiving.”

        Ick. That’s a bad example.

        I’ve had previous experience with cars. I can measure the gas and I know that when my car is almost empty, I should probably gas up. Plenty of evidence to examine there.

        Not so with your god.

        “Truth is truth and has to be dealt with. If Jesus is who the NT claims, it is foolish to not believe and follow Him.”

        I agree. Truth is and I think the truth is that your god is as much a construct of mythology as every god that came before it.

        You keep saying ‘if’ Jesus is what he said he is.

        That just shows your lack of evidence.

        “Hope you have a good day,”

        Same to you. 🙂

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        1. dismissing Metaxes and “Prager University” as unaccredited as “’nuff said” is a dodge. So what? Neither are you! Neither am I. It’s ideas, not institutions or accreditation we are talking about here.

          You’re a funny guy.

          Haven’t heard Craig on infanticide. I would be on your side on that one. But that isn’t the issue. We don’t dismiss all ideas simply because they come from distasteful people or people with some distasteful ideas. A psychopath who says that murder is wrong is still speaking truth.

          Superman? Really? You need to read the text. Claiming to be the creator God of the universe, of all that is seen and unseen, to be the God revealed to Moses in the burning bush is not just some superman or superbeing. And if you don’t understand that such a being should be worshiped then you are fulfilling John 1:10. You don’t understand what you think you do.

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        2. “So what? Neither are you! Neither am I. It’s ideas, not institutions or accreditation we are talking about here.”

          No one is siting me as evidence for their side. The site is anti-science nonsense, which is why they’re a ‘school’ that can’t get accredited. They’re a joke.

          “You’re a funny guy.”

          Thank you. I try.

          “We don’t dismiss all ideas simply because they come from distasteful people or people with some distasteful ideas. ”

          This is true and I’ve watched numerous debates with Craig in it and they’re less than convincing.

          “You need to read the text. Claiming to be the creator God of the universe, of all that is seen and unseen, to be the God revealed to Moses in the burning bush is not just some superman or superbeing. ”

          Put Odin in the place of Superman then.

          Point being, acknowledging the existence of something and choosing to worship it are two different things. I don’t think the god of the bible is worthy of worship. I find him distasteful to say the least. He’s petty, vindictive and childish. It seems obvious to me that he’s man-made. He reflects our baser natures and aggression very well. If there is a god, it would not resemble Yahweh.

          “You don’t understand what you think you do.”

          I understand. That’s why I don’t believe.

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  2. As someone who spent many years faithful to God, I cannot agree with these ideas on atheism. You are confident in your beliefs, and so I know you must think it impossible for me to have truly known what you know and somehow disagree with you. But truth is truth, right?

    Most atheists simply require more evidence, and Christianity does not offer it. Like many Christians, when I lost faith the very first revelation was that I knew nothing about God. All this “proof” of intelligent design? It still means nothing toward proving one religion’s version of God. If there is anything we have overwhelming evidence for, it is that the human race is still absolutely clueless about where we came from. That’s why there is so much room for debate.

    You don’t know anything about God, you are just really well-read on one group’s god theory. And you definitely do not understand atheism. How could you? You are only seeing atheists from a world where your God is truth. And in that world, people do not even believe real atheists exist. Which is weird, since there is so much evidence.

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    1. Life after doubt,

      Paragraph 1: Not hard at all and yes, truth is truth.

      Paragraph 2: These kind of raw religious statements like yours, (Atheists require more evidence and Christianity offers none …, the human race is still clueless ….) are … well, religious dogma for you but they have no evidence. Actually, Christian are always giving evidence and are a commanded to do so in 1 Peter 3:15, (as well as each of the gospels are designed to give evidence for the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ). That’s why Christians write books like Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a verdict, Vol. 1 and 2, Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims, (Gordon Lewis), Who Moved the Stone, by Frank Morison, History and Christianity, by John Warwick Montgomery, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, F.F. Bruce, and on and on and on.

      The fact that everyone is not convinced by the evidence is not a refutation of the evidence.

      Paragraph 3: This one is more interesting. It’s true, that I do not have exhaustive knowledge of God. But I do know what God has revealed. We are not in a complete relativistic bog where every truth claim is equal to every other. Truth claims can be tested for their validity.

      Here’s another thought. I have talked with, debated with, had dinner with, a number of friends who say, like you they were once believers in God and now are not. I am not saying that this is always true, but it has been true in every case that i know of personally: The people sitting in your chair now have in every instance came from a Christian background that was highly emotionally driven and did not offer much substantive reason for faith. These kind of environments that only offer, “I know I know God because I feel him in my heart” do historic Christianity a great disservice. Early Christians NEVER said that kind of thing. They always pointed to evidence.

      And so will I.

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      1. “The people sitting in your chair now have in every instance came from a Christian background that was highly emotionally driven and did not offer much substantive reason for faith.” This, my friend, was what I meant when I suggested you must think it impossible for me to have truly known what you know and somehow disagree with you. Also, I have found that faith is more powerful than evidence. You do a great disservice to Christianity by downplaying it.

        Speaking of evidence, I did not say Christians do not provide it. Everyone has evidence. I simply said it wasn’t enough to convince me. I said we require MORE evidence that Christianity cannot provide. Surely we can agree that I am not convinced?

        “The fact that everyone is not convinced by the evidence is not refutation of the evidence.”

        What would you like me to do with this? Throw my hands in the air and ask Jesus to forgive me? I’m not out to disprove God. I’m just over here taking it all in and wondering if I can believe anything at all. What do I care if your evidence is true or not? Until it is compelling enough to make me a believer again- that’s your business. This sentence basically tells me that my lack of belief doesn’t change your truth. We already know that. We agree. What’s your point?

        And let’s remember, I was responding to your post which claimed atheists are afraid to read the bible. “But they will not read it for the objective picture it paints of its central character- Jesus. They won’t do that because He scares them.” Now, certainly you can imagine why I might think you are mistaken. During all your many dinners with atheist friends who once believed, did it seem likely that they had never read the bible and confronted Jesus while inviting him into their hearts? Of course they did.

        I did not reply to this post to challenge your God, but to challenge an assumption about atheism that seemed incorrect. For some reason a lack of belief is always taken as a challenge to God, and we are back to the same talking points about evidence. Believe as you see fit, and I will do the same. But this whole atheism bit you are selling doesn’t make sense- not to atheists, anyway.

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        1. Life after doubt,

          You misunderstand me. I am not denigrating the sincere faith of some of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Faith is important. But a Christian’s faith is not blind. It is based on the sufficency of the evidence. Is the evidence sufficient for all? Obviously not. But it is sufficient for over 2 billion people which is significant. Could 2 billion people be wrong? Obviously yes, they could. But the fact that billions now and many millions in the past have found the evidence sufficent should give pause to rejection without an honest appraisal of the best evidence and arguments.

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        2. You are right. It took me over 30 years to reject it. When I began to doubt I searched for the best evidence and arguments, because I was desperate to believe them. When both faith and evidence ceased to be enough, I decided I was still searching. That’s all.

          But I gave more consideration than most. Billions may believe, but how many of them really examine their faith? Quiz the average Christian on evidence and I bet we’ll both be upset with the human in race in general. Billions inherited their belief. Does that make them wrong? No. As you said, there should be an honest appraisal of evidence and arguments. I couldn’t agree more. But statistically, even if you are right about God- more critical thinking would not win more souls for your team. They already believe without critical thought, so why rock the boat?

          We don’t disagree on examining evidence, I think we just came to different conclusions about what the evidence means to us. A common story, of course 🙂

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