Wait. What? Seriously?
People who call themselves or a part of the growing number of “New Athiests”. Some are more militant than others, but apparently there is a new, concerted effort to present a “kinder” face of atheism so as not to scare off people of faith. They do not, however, want to have their right to non-belief respected beside those who claim a religion (Christianity) but want to plant seeds of doubt and lead people into their unbelief.
Who is behind this agenda?
Well, there is philosophy instructor/author Peter Boghossian promoting this (weird) “de-evangelism” through his new book, A Manual for Creating Athiests. Yes you read that right. His goal is to equip Atheists with the tools to convince Christians to abandon their spiritual beliefs. Unlike his predecessors, such as Richard Dawkins, rather than disabusing people of God through attacking Him, Boghossian recommends going after people’s individual faith. Introduce doubt. He espouses the need to “help people value processes of reasoning that will lead them to the truth.” Well, his version of “truth” anyway. Boghossian believes faith is an “unreliable reasoning process” from which people need assistance to overcome or as a “virus” which requires “treatment”.
Atheists who embrace what Boghossian is “preaching” are no longer content to remove religion from the public square or have the freedom to not worship.Many are making a concerted effort to undermine people’s beliefs and rid the world of “religion” (which honestly seems to be code for Christianity).
Atheists are creating “mega-atheist churches” with the idea to “find a new way to meet like-minded people, engage in the community, and make their presence more visible in a landscape dominated by faith.” Why call it a church instead of a social club or coming up with their own terminology? They are meeting on Sunday, so it’s sort of their own “not-religious” gathering wherein they worship, well, themselves I guess or “rationality”.
Atheists are posing as believers, joining Christian churches, volunteering and gaining positions of leadership, so they can eventually undermine Christians by having a “crisis of faith” and bringing them into questioning their beliefs as well.
Here’s the thing. Jesus established the Church.
In Matthew 16:1618 ESV we read: “Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The church is not a building, program, or even (really) a religion. It’s a body of people who have a common faith in Christ as the Son of God. Atheists may try to undermine, weaken, mock, or cause people to abandon their beliefs but it is (ultimately) a pointless venture. Not to mention just kind of sad. Jesus said there will be many who do not accept the gospel (read The Parable of the Sower). The Church will remain in America and is indeed vibrant in other countries (in the face of honest persecution). Boghossian or others may have an agenda to see the end of Christianity (one believer at a time) but there will always be a remnant until God Himself removes the Church from this earth.
Now, let’s be clear. We don’t need to freak out or get upset by this latest move of Atheists (or anyone) to undermine the church or a believers faith. Honestly, this has been happening in one form or another since the beginning. Instead, lean into our Savior. Don’t fear questions or the need to ask them. Read and study scripture, know its context. Be part of a vibrant community of believers which hold to the Bible and teach how to apply it to life. Read some of the great apologetic books out there which can help you answer questions. Pray for discernment in these days. Be salt and light. Love your neighbor(s). Be a serious disciple of Jesus Christ. Love people.
You know, be a CHRISTIAN.
Most of all, do not engage in pointless arguments, accuse, or get emotional. Listen to what people are really saying (especially if they say “I’m a Christian” but the fruit of their lives or speech is not reflective of this claim) and go from there.