Jan 15, 2020
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like without religion?
I say religion and not God because I'm including all polytheistic and monotheistic forms of worship.
In 2015, a Psychology Today article quoted a study by Ariela Keysar and Juhem Navarro-Rivera which found there are about 500 million atheists worldwide. It went on to say that is about 7% of the global population.
You might assume atheism is the belief that God or anyone or anything like Him does not exist. But atheism is the broad umbrella where agnostics and those who believe in a higher power gather. The one thing they all have in common is they do not believe in the God of the Bible.
A Pew Research Center study conducted in 2018/2019 found 4% of American adults are atheists. They've doubled their population since 2009. About 5% more are agnostic. That's 9% of Americans. A 2014 Pew study said most (68%) American atheists are males around 34 years old with a college degree and "most likely white."
These numbers don't include the religious nones, those with no religious affiliation. They make up about one-fifth of the US population with one third of them being under thirty years of age. This category of unbeliever rose 15% from 2007 to 2012 and is still growing. CNN reported in 2019 that the number of nones is now 23% of the American population, edging ahead of evangelicals and Catholics.
You can imagine the glee this news produced among the liberal media. These seemingly small percentages represent millions of people.
So what might be the guiding principles for this portion of the American population?
For the true atheists we know it to be science, or at least their interpretation of science. But a world run by atheists isn't any less scary than a world run by jihadists or Bible thumping supremacists. It is just a slower, less emotional, cold kind of scary.
Nietzsche, one of the legendary atheists, said "morality is a hindrance to the development of new and better customs: it makes stupid." (from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 19, R.J. Hollingdale transl.)
Some of those better customs have included racism based on evolutionary ideas, eugenics, euthanasia of the elderly and handicapped, abortion and genocide. And yes, atheists think Christians are intellectually deficient.
Sam Harris implies that in a TED talk on how science can supply moral answers. In it he tells us that "values are facts about the well being of conscious creatures." Later he asks if it "is a good idea to subject children to pain" concerning corporal punishment in schools. But he never related those ideas to children in the womb. Perhaps because science has written a different story for those conscious children experiencing pain.
He also never delivers a scientific answer to moral dilemmas. He tells you his opinions, shares his values. But what scientific principle did he use to shore up his version of morality? I'm not sure he realizes he is using the standard of right and wrong that God instituted in Genesis. Where else do we get this standard? That mankind has value or even a purpose?
Watch the video and let me know if you think he used modern science to prove the existence of right and wrong. After all I am a Christian and perhaps have a deluded sense of my genius. Using my gift of sarcasm here...
Actually, the God of the Bible reveals to us what the world would look like without Him. It would look like hell. The sad thing is hell will be the new umbrella where all the atheists will gather.
Carl Sagan wrote about his interesting but erroneous version of the Genesis account and God in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. He stated that it was, "better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable." (pg 76) To Sagan the hard truth we all needed to know was that there is no God. What he believed to be fable was the Bible.
It is the Bible, however, that reveals a sobering reality. In Isaiah 14, a prophecy about the king of Babylon is also a description of Satan resembling Luke 10:18 and Revelation 20. Isaiah 14:16 says there will be those that look upon him and say "is this the man that made the earth tremble...?"
What do you think Satan's retort might be? Probably something like "Fooled you anyway."
But no one will be laughing. Or theorizing or crafting intellectual arguments to refute the existence of God. It will be too late for that. Which is why we do what we do here, and you do what you do wherever you are. We speak Jesus in love to anyone who will listen.
I don't claim to be an intellectual. You might not either. But we do know true wisdom comes by honoring God and His Word. 1Corinthians 3:19 says the wisdom based on this world's ideas is foolishness to Him. Unfortunately a growing number of Americans think they are making an intelligent choice to embrace mōria, silliness. We know they are falling for the same old lie from the garden.
What does the rise of atheism really mean?
That there is going to be a lot of emotionally broken and frustrated people among the diehards. I am encouraging you not to get discouraged by the numbers. They represent people with a deep need to know they are loved, and the world can't answer that. Only Jesus can. We know how to introduce them to Him when they are ready to listen.
Pray for us this year as we roll out more material for you to use to share Jesus, and pray that God will open even more doors for us. See you in the next post. Blessings!
Image by Antonino Visalli courtesy of Unsplash
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