I have a young friend, an acquaintance by e-mail, who was raised as an evangelical christian, as a young man entered into liturgical christianity, became greek orthodox for a while, and has recently come out as an Atheist!
He is very articulate and highly educated, but tells me that he just can’t remain a christian, or even a theist, and maintain his intellectual integrity.
We exchanged several e-mails, he was touched that I cared for his soul, and agreed to dialogue with me. I was going to give him an apologetic,(from 1 Peter 3:15, “always be ready to give an apologia for the hope you have in Christ…”) that is a reason for my hope.
But in the preliminary exchanges I mentioned to him that I really do not believe Atheism is an honest position. He took an exception to that, feeling I had already impugned his character. I explained that I was coming from Paul’s letter to the Romans, which gives an analysis of the mindset of the godless, that they suppress the truth in unrighteousness, making them liable to God’s wrath.
I assured him that I believed that he was operating in good faith with me, but that he was deceiving himself , but it was too late. The dialogue was called off, he is not open to hearing anything more from me, because I believe that Atheism is a suppression of truth, a denial of that which is known of God.
I have to confess that I am grieved. This encounter has made me more aware of the ravages of what is called “the New Atheism” on young people, as well as the bitter, toxic fruit of our increasingly secularized education system, which is to the point of being hostile to God and religion, (unless of course, it is Islam)..
There are a good many young, bright, articulate young people who are not ashamed to identify themselves as Atheists. They are going on you tube and other venues to present their sophisticated philosophical rebuttals of christianity and Theism in general.
Oh, another contributing factor to this Atheistic revival,is the man centered, shallow but pervasive “evangelicalism” of the last forty years, that in the interest of being relevant, have presented a contemptible spirituality, denuded of the real gospel, the real Jesus and the true Spirit of God.
What would I have said to him if I could have? He claimed that he had weighed the claims of christianity; scientifically, historically, epistemologically, and empirically and found them wanting. Where to begin my apologetic?Believe me when I tell you I prayed earnestly about it.
God gave me a direction, point to fulfilled prophecy. The Word of God is unique, there is no other “Holy Book” like it. We serve a God who makes predictions through His prophets, amazing predictions that come to pass in startling detail.
…I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:(Isaiah 46:9-10)
I would have begun with Israel, the Billboard of God that shouts out to the world, God is Real! The Bible is indeed the Word of God! Look to God and Be Saved O Ends of the Earth!
* The Bible proclaims that in God’s sight there is something special about the Jewish people, and it has nothing to do with their own ‘goodness’ it is an election of God himself.
* In the first book of the Bible, the promise is given to these people, that Gd himself would “bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and that in you all families of the earth would be blessed!”(Genesis 12:3).
History has born this fact out , that those who curse the Jews have always been cursed and those who have blessed them have consequently been blessed! Just in the last century, ask the British, Germans, and Soviet Russians, all of whom were punished for what they did to the Jews.
* The Prophet Daniel predicted that the Messiah would come to this people, and that he would be “cut off”, but not for himself but for the sins of the people. Daniel predicted the Messiah’s coming to the very year. Also that His cutting off would occur before the second temple would be destroyed by the Romans. (See Daniel 9). This had to occur before 70AD.
* It also predicts that this people, so loved and favored by God would one day defect from Him, and consequently be scattered from one end of the earth to the other, by God! The time would come when there would be no Jewish nation, only a scattered oppressed people.
And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you. (Deut. 4:27)
Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6. I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7. Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. (Is.43:5-7)
For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. 4. And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. (Jer. 30:3-4)
Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: (Jer. 32:37)
Of course this is it in a nutshell, I would ‘flesh out” the details. The miracle of 1948 up till now, the gathering of a people, literally dead and scattered to the winds, and the fact that this very people, and the disposal of the God-given land they now dwell in, takes up more than a third of the time of the U.N., is a Billboard shouting to the World repent while there is still time!!!
But this is no mere academic excercise, I weep and mourn for the soul of RV and a whole lot of other disaffected young people, who have listened to the slick “New Atheistic” message, and cast off any faith in God. God help us to reach them!
We will have more to say to and about this “New Atheism” ahead…