This week’s feedback features two correspondents, asking how we would respond to an informed atheist when evangelizing, and whether Christians are ‘atheists’ with respect to other religions. CMI’s Dr Don Batten and Dr Carl Wieland respond.

Brian M. from the United States wrote in response to our article on Atheism:

But aren’t we all atheists in regards to every religion and every god claim ever proposed except for one particular religion’s god claim, Christianity’s Yahweh? Aren’t we all atheists in regards to Islam’s Allah and Mohammad, Mormon claims of Joseph Smith, Hindu claims of Shiva and Ganesh, Shinto’s claims, Wicca’s claims? What does the Quran say about atheism? What does the book of Mormon say? Why not believe the Quran and stop being atheists!! To not be an atheist you will have to believe every single thing you are told by everyone!! Funny how we use atheism to refer to the particular Christianity religion, but there is a broader sense of the word and you are all atheists if you don’t believe in Allah or Shiva!

CMI’s Dr Don Batten responds:

Dear Brian,

Thanks for your comment, which I have passed on to the author in case he wants to add something.

Indeed the early Christians were called atheists by the Romans because they did not believe in the Roman gods. However, the word “atheism” derives from the Greek that literally means “no God belief”. Dictionary.com defines the English meaning thus:

  1. the doctrine or belief that there is no god.
  2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

So believing in any god would disqualify someone from being called an atheist. So, as a Christian I do not qualify as an atheist because I believe that there is one God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

While such word games (this particular one seems to be a bit of fashion amongst atheists at present) might be a mildly amusing pastime, they get us nowhere. You are an atheist with regard to Christianity, or even the very idea of their being any supernatural Creator, and the real question is, “Is that a rational position to take in the light of the evidence?” I would submit that it is not. See, for example, Who created God? and Can we believe the gospels?….

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