I was thinking about atheists the other day and how I could better love them. This thought lead me down a few trails of thought. First, I wanted to understand the grammar. What is an Atheist? According to the online Cambridge Dictionary “an atheist” is someone who believes that God does not exist. The way the word “Atheist” is used makes me wonder if that definition is too simplistic and needs to be updated in mainstream dictionaries. I’ve even read that people that call themselves Atheists are offended by the provided definition. One Atheist website, says “The only common thread that ties all atheists together is a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings.”
Why are they offended by that? From my reading, I found that Atheists don’t like calling their belief of ‘no god’ a belief at all. Much like the Ancient European people who didn’t like the concept of zero. If there are no apples to account for, then there are no apples or numeric representations of them either. I wonder if they didn’t like people to say ‘apples’ if there were zero of them. Well this mind set stuck around until the Persian mathematicians made/proved zero a common number. Zero made it possible for zero apples to be counted.
What language does the word “Atheism” come from?
I can see that “atheist” is not an original English word. The “a” in the beginning and the ending are my clues, but that’s about all I can tell about this word. I needed to read on and learn more to continue. I found the general consensus about the break down of this word to be simple.
a-,an- meaning in Greek: prefix; no, absence of, without, lack of; not
theist meaning from Greek can be boiled down to : the belief that God exists or that many gods exist (believing in at least one god)
The very meaning of the word without personal opinion, as was created from the Greek language roughly means “no belief in any god”. The very meaning of the word is talking about a belief or the lack of one. I guess that since I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny I’d be called a- “belief-in-the-Easter-Bunny”. If I knew more about Greek, I’d really have a good time translating that last part.
Why do I care?
I believe in the God of the Old Testament and the New Testament. I believe that I am saved through the power of Christ. I also believe that I can call God, My Father. He will provide for me here on earth and forever. I want this for everyone, even people I don’t like. What did I just say?!?!?! I’m supposed to like everyone! Well, yeah right, it’s okay not to like people. Next. I think outside this fallen world, I will love and like everyone. It’s just not yet. Regardless of me, God is Good!
Does Being An Atheist Make People A Spiritual Orphan?
This question has been rolling around my mind for a few days now. It just sorta popped in there and I can’t shake it out. I have studied the bible enough to know that the answer is probably yes. I say ‘probably’ because I’m always ready to learn and I could be wrong. Also from what I understand, people who deny the existence of God do not count on provision from Him now and never.
People who deny God are spiritual orphans. Think about it, if you had the opportunity to have a living father or someone like a father who raised you. (Forgive me if this sentence was offensive, I have a father still living and can truly only understand that.) Even if he wasn’t a good father, he was your father. You claim him even if its not out loud. He may neglect you or he may give you his attention. He may teach you life lessons or work hard to make the money that pays for your food. He may cause wounds that last a lifetime or he may be the most awesome man you’ve ever known. If your father was of high quality then he provides for you and protects you. The best Dads or father figures are, in the best way possible, a representation of God in our life. But God is still the most powerful protector and resourceful provider. Even if you had/have a great dad, God is still better.
Atheists are out there walking around and maybe they are truly happy with their belief system. Unfortunately, my flesh doesn’t like this. My heart felt reaction to the ‘no god’ belief is spawned out of the biblical stories of the days of the Judges. I’d like to see them smited out of existence, but I don’t think that is a right heart. During the time that Israel was taking the land the God promised them, there was blood shed and then there was the New Testament. The final sacrifice was made, but wars of course still wage on. There is still sin in the world.
I am not called to physically war with Atheists. I don’t want to and I’m not equipped to. I do not have a calling to hurt any of them. Instead, I challenge my flesh to love them. How can I possibly love them better? They are ‘spiritually fatherless’ and left open to the attacks of the spiritual and physical. Not having any belief makes them vulnerable and ripe for the taking. So how can we love them better?
I drew the little cartoon of the atheist orphan walking around with a hand full of candles. Yet he/she has no light.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about atheism and how to love them.