A) Agnostics Vs. Atheists, From a Christian Perspective and B) Is Atheism Technically a Faith-Based Religion?

I’m not trying to convert atheists to Christianity; I’m trying to convert atheists to agnosticism.

Maybe somewhat surprisingly, I am actually not the kind of person who participates in pointless debates.  Granted, I’ll observe them, but I won’t join the heated discussions myself.  One of these classic debates is when Christians try to argue with atheists.  I remember one time on a church mission trip in high school I witnessed one of our youth group’s leaders yell to a guy at Wal-Mart during an emotional exchange: “Well buddy, one day you’re gonna finally meet God and see that He’s real and when you do, I hope you bust hell wide open!”  For what it’s worth, the atheist started it by loudly scoffing at our youth group’s Christian t-shirts which explained we were in that city to help with construction in low-income neighborhoods and also to lead Vacation Bible School at a local church in Phenix City, AL.

But still, that story shows how neither person was there to even defend their own beliefs, but instead to try to prove that the other person was a fool.  Therefore, it’s safe to say they both successfully proved their point.  It was a win-win situation.  Technically.

It has been my observation that agnostics (people who admit they don’t have the answers when it comes to the afterlife or the existence of God or how we all got here, but are willing to admit there’s a chance that just like any explanation out there including atheism, Christianity could be right) are respectful and overall cool people.  Typically, from my experience, agnostics do not have a general attitude that comes across like they are smarter or better than those who do believe in God.  It seems that truly they have no agenda to convert me to a state of doubt or unknowingness.  And I like that.

atheist/agnostic/deist

Generally (but not always), my experience observing atheists typically means they openly mock the “blindness, arrogance, and lack of ability to think freely” of those who do believe in God, specifically Christians.  Of course, this only fuels the emotion of certain Christians who sincerely belief, yet fail to recognize that while Jesus did say to go forth and tell the nations, the Bible also teaches against arguing with a fool– whether that fool is an atheist, another Christian, or the host of a political talk show.

I don’t see how it’s my place to try to convert someone who not only clearly demonstrates they are not interested or are not at all open to the idea, but who also mocks my efforts or even my lifestyle, stereotyping me because I am a Christian.  When it became clear to Jesus that His own people, the Jews (especially the Jewish religious leaders), had officially rejected His claim to be the Son of God, He then focused His time and efforts elsewhere- to the rest of us Gentiles.  Jesus didn’t waste energy on those who wanted to argue with him.  And interestingly, He didn’t waste energy on trying to prove them wrong.  He just simply walked on.  Nice move, Jesus.

Since it’s not a Christian’s place to argue with someone who doesn’t believe or to try to belittle those who belief differently, I would like to expect the same amount of respect from atheists.  It’s this simple: I do not believe I am better than anyone in this world, no matter what they do or do not believe. If I did, I would be contradicting the beliefs of my own religion.  Again, in turn, I would like the same treatment from those who do not believe the same way as me.

It’s pretty clear to me that both Christians and atheists have given themselves a bad reputation in the process of trying to prove each other to be wrong and to be idiots.  For example, there is a facebook group called “f— Jesus Christ” (I am of course censoring the actual name).  Obviously, that group started quite a stir, some Christians started creating groups like“ban the facebook group ‘f— Jesus Christ’”.  Therefore, hundreds of Christians have joined that group and as they have done so, it proclaims on their facebook profile and on the status feed which all of their facebook friends see that “(So-and-so) has joined the group “ban the facebook group ‘f— Jesus Christ’”.

As a Christian, I feel bad enough even typing the censored version of the name of the original facebook group.  So I definitely don’t want it repeated all over facebook.  Again, even though Christians are standing up against some offensive atheists who created the group, they have ended up defeating the purpose by not only bringing attention to their cyber bullies but also by wasting their energy arguing with fools.  No one wins; instead they just get upset.  I guess the thing about this story that makes me the most curious is this: Why would an atheist hate Jesus Christ or curse Him?  How can you hate or curse something that truly doesn’t exist?

Ultimately, the atheist who started the facebook group ended up having his or her wish granted: Christians got upset and in turn may have said some less than nice things towards atheists on facebook.  Because if a Christian can be made to look like an unstable, hate-speaking person, the atheist wins because it in essence shows the Christian to be a hypocrite- since the angry Christian’s  demeanor is not in accordance with how Jesus taught His followers to behave.  But again, this whole thing just goes to show that none of this is even about converting anyway; it’s about proving the other to be wrong, and therefore to be an imbecile.

I just think that if I were an atheist, I truly wouldn’t care what other people believed.  It wouldn’t even be worth talking about.  There wouldn’t be any emotion or passion invoked when I thought about it.  It would be that simple for me.

The problem with my hypothetical example of me being an atheist is this: Being an atheist truly requires having faith in the unseen and in prehistory.  And the way I see it, it takes much more faith to believe in nothing than it does in something.  Not to mention, it has been my experience that atheism is a vehicle (or Trojan Horse) for Evolution and Darwinism.   Therefore, I see atheism as a religion based on faith.

But agnosticism, I respect.  Because I’ve yet to meet an agnostic who mocked me, spoke to me condescendingly, or was passionate about their view.  And they never tried to convert me to Darwinism; because just like they can’t prove or disprove there is no God whom they can not see, it would take faith to firmly believe in Evolution.  I am actually fascinated by agnostics, because they evidently have no faith in the unseen or unknown or physically improvable.  I don’t see how they do it.  It seems that goes against how we were wired as human beings.

I see atheism as a passionate, organized religion.  But agnosticism- I just don’t know how to classify it.  The combination of faith and passion is a clear sign of a religion; most atheists I have met in my lifetime clearly possess both.  Agnostics, on the other hand, are not passionate about their non-belief and truly appear to have no faith.  Like Penn said in this candid and honest YouTube video, if a person truly believes in their religion, they should share with it others.  I guess that’s unless you’re an agnostic, because there’s no big idea to prove- not even Evolution.  But it seems to me like atheists want to preach their “nongospel”- and that sounds like religion to me.

Maybe the ultimate irony here is that I realize it could be pretty easy for any blog sniper to come across this article and miss the whole point.  Maybe a reader’s perception could cause them to believe I have found a way to cleverly be condescending towards atheists while ironically preaching that we should Christians and atheists should treat each other with respect.  (But I don’t think so- I’ve made it pretty clear that overzealous Christians have mishandled the situation too and have definitely been in the wrong by being rude and condescending towards atheists.)  I could see how the exact kind of overzealous person I refer to in this post (whether they are a Christian or atheist or political talk show host) could find a way to get upset by the words I’ve said here today and be inspired to leave a three paragraph-long comment using my words (in sarcastic quotation marks and out of context, of course) to try to start a religious debate or character-bashing session.

If that’s the case, I promise this: I will not retaliate.  I will not defend myself.  I will not reply to your comment.  Because then I would without a doubt become my ultimate worst example.

But… if you’re just dying to leave a comment on this one, what I would rather you do is debunk is my claim that because atheism requires faith and has passionate believers (and often has an agenda based on its own bible: the teachings of Evolution), atheism is therefore an unofficial organized religion.  If you want to leave a comment about that, I may be inspired to debate you, with all due respect.



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17 thoughts on “A) Agnostics Vs. Atheists, From a Christian Perspective and B) Is Atheism Technically a Faith-Based Religion?

  1. Hi Nick,

    I hope you are well! Keeping in mind that I’m coming from a friendly place, I have a few things I’d love to discuss with you regarding this entry…maybe by email? What do you think?

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  2. An atheist refutes the existence of God for lack of evidence. It’s really that simple. It would be impossible for me to become an agnostic because I’d have to believe it was possible there was a deity of some type but that we just don’t know yet or may never know. I don’t believe that at all.

    As far as belonging to an “unofficial organized religion” and requiring “faith and passion” I’ll simply say this:

    If the definition of “faith” you are using is firm belief in something for which there is no proof, then atheists would not fit that bill. At least none that I know. Passion? Of course I’m passionate about life and the wonders of the natural world! How could one not be? The universe is an awe-inspiring spectacle as is every aspect of life. I’ve tried to share some things I’ve learned that are truly mind boggling with some Christian friends only to have them completely shut down because it doesn’t jive with their belief system. That’s a real shame.

    As for atheism being a “religion,” it can’t be in the sense of following an ancient text of rules, laws and rituals. However there are many definitions of religious; one can follow baseball religiously for example.

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    • With all due respect, I have to ask you if you have ever looked up the facts surrounding evolution. In fact, I’m 14 and a firm believer because I did look it up. I’ll give you some reasons I was given that I believe make evolution improbable ( if I may. You don’t have to keep reading this )
      1. Dead animals don’t evolve ( if a animal needs to make a slow and gradual change or adaptation to survive, what happens in the period it’s changing? It dies from lack of skills to survive
      2. The system works 1 way ( if 1 thing where the very tiniest bit different in the lays of physics and the laws of the univers ect., life wouldent exist. It’s down to the .0000000000000000000000000000000001change would kill life everyware )
      3. You can’t barrow parts ( Darwin said that cells narrowed parts from other cells and from other parts of themselfves to adapt/ evolve.
      Well, a discovery several years ago proved that thier is a single part of most cells that acts like a roter for the cell, and it made up of hundreds of complicated parts. Where did this parts come from? And without this roter, the cells, we have discoverd, would die )
      4. He admired he was wrong! ( referring to the last reason, Darwin himself quoted “If somehow someone where to come to me and show me evidence of a organisms inabilaty to ‘barrow’ parts, my intire theory would be proven wrong, and I would admit to it.” The guy SAID HE WAS WRONG! )
      5. It’s to complex ( science proves that we have thousands of protiens required for our survival, and our body creates most of them. But thiers so many that we don’t even know most of them. How is it that thousands of just the right protiens got together and where jump started somehow int working together to make a living, self replicating organism? )
      These are just some of the reasons I’ve found. To be honest, I can’t remember all of the reason I found! I believe that all if this shows design, and who could design this if nothing came befor? This and more
      Is enough for me to confedently say that there is a God.
      Look up “Louie Giglio, how great is our god” and watch the entire 40 min. Video, and if you end up believing me, I dare you to say that it didnt leave you speachless.
      God bless, peace be with you
      Scencierly, JMF

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  3. Being an agnostic and being an atheist are not mutually exclusive. They are positions in relation to two different questions.

    Those questions are as follows:

    1. Does a god or gods exist?

    2. Do you believe that a god or gods exist?

    Question 1 is asking about knowledge. Question 2 is asking about belief. Belief and knowledge are not the same things. Therefore I can completely honestly answer question 1 with “I don’t know” and question 2 with “No.”

    I am both an agnostic and an atheist. And I’m fine with that.

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  4. Honestly, I didn’t read your entire post. I read about half of it and skimmed the rest. But since your last comment challenges readers to debunk specific claims, I decided to do that. I’ll take the claims you make in that last paragraph one at a time.

    1) atheism requires faith

    This is only true in the sense that life requires faith. We all have to make big and small choices about how to live our lives, whether it’s what to have for lunch or what to pursue as a career. We never have complete information, so we need to make the best decisions based on what we do know.

    But to say that atheism requires faith pre-supposes belief in a deity that will punish us for not believing. Only in light of already believing such a deity exists is such a threat credible. If I tell you that the boogeyman is real, and that if you don’t believe that, the boogeyman will get you, how much faith does it take for you to ignore my warning? None, because you firmly believe that the boogeyman does not exist (at least I assume so). Having thought and read about it for many years, I find the proposition of gods to be about as unlikely as the boogeyman. Even less likely to me is the idea that a god who is supposed to be benevolent and love mankind will punish me for an eternity because I didn’t believe in his existence, especially when he apparently went to such great lengths to not only leave no evidence of his existence but to plant evidence against it. For me to be afraid, I would already have to believe.

    2) atheism has passionate believers

    I agree.

    3) atheism often has an agenda based on its own bible: the teachings of Evolution

    You’re apparently confused. Atheism is a word that expresses a single belief: that gods do not exist. Theism is a word that expresses a single belief: that one or more gods do exist. Monotheism is a belief that one and only one god exists, and polytheism is a belief that more than one god exists. None of these words mean anything more than this: a binary yes/no believe/disbelieve about a single topic.

    There are religions built upon the single foundational belief of monotheism, polytheism, and even atheism. But you are being dishonest with yourself and/or others by extending these single beliefs beyond their real scope.

    Some atheists have an agenda, but that’s not the same thing.

    Evolution is a scientific theory, as is gravity. It happens to be a credible evidence-based alternative to the speculation that a deity created everything. But it is not a requirement that a believer in evolution be an atheist (most aren’t) or that an atheist must believe in evolution (most do, and that makes logical sense – but one who claims that evolution is false and that no gods exist is still an atheist).

    4) atheism is therefore an unofficial organized religion

    Atheists are beginning to organize into groups. People of similar interests, beliefs, hobbies, etc. have been organizing into groups for millennia. That doesn’t make (for example) the Haiku Society of America a religion or a religious denomination. The fact that atheists, unlike haiku enthusiasts, are united by a religious belief (a single belief – see 3) does not make it any more a religion. If a person claiming to be a Christian goes to the social events at a particular church, but never attends church service, never reads the bible, never prays, and in general does none of the things that are normally associated with church, would you say he’s a religious person?

    Atheism is a religious belief. That’s because gods are central to most religions and atheism is a lack of belief in gods. But it’s no more a religion than theism.

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  5. If you ever experience the true Love of God, you will know He exists. It says in Scripture that you are without excuse for not believing that He is real, because there are signs all around us everyday that is evidence of a Creator. If you were to sit with me and talk to me about this, you cannot tell me that a leaf just knew to be a leaf. Or that our bodies just knew how to form the way that it did, or that a brain cell knew to be a brain cell and not a hand or foot cell. To think that a world as complex and diverse as ours just happened is complete folly. I mean really think about it here. Go look at the complexities and then think about everything you are saying My prayer is that God will reveal himself to you, because he loves all of us so much that he died for us with that love (John 3:16.) and that He might reveal his truth to you, or put someone in your life as an example of that Love. God Bless.

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  6. @the christianity sign…… Jesus was nt a zombie. he was made flesh! born as a baby jst like the rest of us!!! nt to mention it WAS a serpent who tempted eve. BUT after the serpent tempted her God cast the serpent onto the ground to b on his belly for all the days of his life and to eat the dust! which means the serpent had legs or some form to stand before he tempted eve! also it wasnt a magical tree. it was a tree jst like all the others in the garden, only God had told Adam and Eve nt to eat from it. the point was obeying. when the serpent told eve she would know good and evil if she ate it he was saying she would know sin bc before tht there was no sin. bt she thought she would b more like God and know all things. bc she did it sin was born. nothing magcal about tht. dnt make it sound ridiculous. the bible says the word of God would not return void. the mystifying part is tht there is a big guy up there who is the father the son and the holy spirit in one and he made everything. the mystifying part is tht Jesus died and then rose from the grave and ascended into heaven! nobody can make you believe it bt if you start living for him and reading the word of God it will be evident in ur life tht the God u serve does great things for you!!! tht and the holy spirit are our evidence. bt if your not living for him or seeking him u wont ever feel the holy spirit.! its something u have to choose to do. and then do it everyday. then u will see the power of God. Scientists have been trying for many years to prove even ONE thing in the bible wrong. and they cant!!! the only answer?? bc its the truth!! seek and ye shall find!

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  7. nt to mention…. a wise man once said “I dont believe there is such thing as an atheist! …i believe if you throw a person in a manhole with a bunch of bombs HES GONNA PRAY……. just in case…”

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  8. @christians being hypocrites for showing hate towards atheists>>> the simple fact of the matter is if a person is showing hate towards ANY person they do NOT have God in them. bc God is LOVE!! so its nt possible tht any christian has been hateful to an atheist. if a person was hating someone else they were NOT a christian at the time! the bible says tht if you hate ur neighbor and say you love God tht u are a liar. the bible also teaches to love everyone bc god is love. bt there are young christians who are unlearned and make mistakes. for which there is always forgiveness available. as long as ur serious about it. my point is there are ppl who are defending Jesus in a way tht they think is right bc they are offended by someone saying he doesnt exist. bt as u mature in christianity and truly seek God you wont do those things anymore. bc being a christian is all about striving to be christlike!!! we christians are supposed to want to be like Jesus. in the bible Jesus treated the ppl who didnt believe in him with love! tht is how we have to do things also if we want to be christlike.

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  9. I read through the WHOLE thing and loved it. Being raised a Roman Catholic, then after years of not knowing what I was, my good friend told me she was Agnostic and it fit me too.
    I agree, I’ve met some VERY aggressive Christians, who were RUDE and SCREAMING at me for being Agnostic. All while I kept my cool, since I really don’t care either way.
    And it’s a good point on the Atheist, that they do have passion for what they DON’T believe in. Great post, and I LOVED the last two funny images… well I guess an Agnostic would.

    Jacki

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    • Jacki, I sincerely thank you for your reply. Out of my 563 posts on here, I feel the least confident in this one. I never want to be just another obnoxious Christian. Thank you for your honesty.

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  10. I really enjoyed your post. Though it’s a few years ago, it obviously is very relevant. I just had this exact discussion with my very atheist nephew and agnostic niece who both think that christians are angry.

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  11. The last 2 images on your post about Christianity and Atheism are great points in favor of Agnosticism. When you really think about each of them they don’t make logical sense but could be correct. It reminds me of quantum mechanics (the science of the very small). Quantum mechanics doesn’t make sense either but it is correct. For examples… an object can be in more than one place at the same time, an object can pop into existence and then out of existence randomly, and an object can act differently when you look at it then if you weren’t looking at it. Makes perfect sense! 😉

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  12. The christian says: muslims and jews are wrong. The muslim says: christians and jews are wrong. The jews say: christians and muslims are wrong. The atheists say: all of you are right!

    Like

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