Why Christianity over Atheism?

Red Leaders 2Some time back, I was involved with in a discussion with an atheist friend who tried to make the point that Christians as a group are some of the most immoral people they knew. Those weren’t the exact words but that’s a good approximation of the gist of what he said. It got me thinking.

Did he really mean that? Or was this a piece of hyperbole thrown out in frustration? Personally, I don’t get it. Yes, I know so-called Christians that do not represent Christ well. (I’m sure that I don’t sometimes.) But does atheism produce Mother Teresa’s? Does atheism produce Rich Mullins’s (who though he could have been filthy rich), was living on $25,000 a year and poured all of his music royalties into an Indian reservation in Arizona? Does Atheism produce Amy Carmichael’s (started dozens of orphanages all over India and served there without furlough for 58 years?) Does atheism produce more admirable, altruistic citizens of the planet than theism and Christianity? I don’t think so.

We become what we worship and the preponderance of evidence is that atheism, with notable exceptions, tends to produce many more, shall we say, less-than-safe citizens of the planet. My friend mentioned the Crusades, an admitted black mark against the Church and Christianity, but I would argue that they happened precisely because the church had lost the Bible and was not being guided by the teachings of Christ. On the other hand, the atheistic societies of China, the Soviet Union, and Cambodia killed millions and millions as a direct application of their godless worldview.

In A.D. 133 Aristeides, a teacher of philosophy presented a defense of Christianity to the emperor, Hadrian. Here’s his record of what the teaching of Christ was producing:

“Now the Christians, O King . . . have the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ himself engraven on their hearts, and they observe, looking for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. They commit neither adultery nor fornication; nor do they bear false witness. They do not deny a deposit, nor covet other men’s goods; they honor father and mother, and love their neighbors; they give right judgment; and they do not worship idols in the form of man. They do not unto others that which they would not have done unto themselves. They comfort such as wrong them, and make friends of them. They labor to do good to their enemies . . . As for their servants or handmaids, or their children if any of them has any, they persuade them to become Christians for the love that they have towards them; and when they have become so, they call them without distinction ‘brethren.’

”They despise not the widow, and grieve not the orphan. He that hath distributeth liberally to him that hath not. If they see a stranger, they bring him under their roof and rejoice over him as if it were their own brother; for they call themselves brethren, not after the flesh, but after the spirit and in God. . . .

And if there is among them a man that is poor and needy, and they have not an abundance of necessities, they fast two or three days that they may supply the needy with their necessary food.”

cited in John Piper’s A Godward Life, page 303-304.

Does atheism produce such people? Does atheism aim to produce such people? The church does. People who follow the example of Jesus do. Yes, the church fails, sometimes fails miserably. But the point is, she succeeds far more often than does atheism and atheism doesn’t even aim at the target. Christianity and every church that I have helped to plant over the last 20 years (well over 250 that I have worked with) aims to produce exactly what Aristides told Hadrain.

“So,” I said to my young friend, “I will hold on to Christ, even with all the answers I don’t have, because he and the church that he founded is the world’s greatest hope and the best thing that ever happened to the world.”

4 thoughts on “Why Christianity over Atheism?

  1. Amen! Christians can be good people and the church is a great blessing.

    All in good humor here, but when people tell me Christians are terrible,I always say, you should see us when we aren’t saved! Downright insufferable I tell ya, possessing no redeeming qualities at all. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Amen. I think most of the people that your atheist friend was talking about were just masquerading as believers, especially if they aren’t being repentant or making reparations for their bad actions (i.e sins). Sure even believers sin, but the difference between us and the so-called that your atheist friend was probably referring to is both in the motivation and in how repentant they are of their sins. Also, I think it should be noted that we follow CHRIST, not other Christians! and I also agree with Insanitybites22’s comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ” My friend mentioned the Crusades, an admitted black mark against the Church and Christianity” Off topic, but you could discuss why you feel that way in another post.

    Nietzsche observed that the Christians of his day (late 1800s Europe) were no different than the pagans in how they lived their lives. Christians need to live their faith not just give lip service to it.

    But, Rebel, you have a very good post here and make many good points. Actually, atheism requires a bigger leap of faith than being a believer in God.


  4. Excellent post and a great argument in favor of Christianity! Many atheists subscribe to Christian principles without recognizing their origin. Many Christians practice ungodliness without recognizing it’s origin. We need to live the way Jesus taught us to live so the atheist has no ammo!

    Liked by 1 person

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