Twitter. There’s a part that’s good. There is a part that is bad; and there is a part that you wouldn’t believe. Twitter, along with other social media platforms can be used for good. But, there are a lot of things you can find on Twitter’s Christian circles that are not that good. Perhaps you have seen comments on social media that are contrary to the Christian worldview. I’d like to take a look at those statements and comments to see if we can give an answer
#2. “You’re atheist of thousands of gods…”
Mankind, throughout history, has worshipped many deities. Among the creatures on planet earth, people are the only ones who are inherently religious, so says the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion. According to philosopher Mircea Eliade, before the eighteenth century, man would have faced the world with no meaning, direction, or purpose without a religious perspective.
Atheism is not a new phenomenon in history. Socrates was accused of atheism in the trial which led to his death in 400 BC, even as he proclaimed his devotion to religious practices and rituals. It seems as though atheism has gained a greater proportion of public attention since the Enlightenment period of our history. Certainly atheists have become more vocal with the advent of social media.
In order to understand better the tweet in question, we must ask what is atheism? The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, a standard reference work, indicates that “atheism should be construed as the proposition that God does not exist (or, more broadly, the proposition that there are no gods).” This is to say, the atheist makes the claim that there are no deities. This is different from the relatively newer term “agnostic” because the agnostic is not sure of the existence of a God or gods.
With the definitions in hand, it is possible to examine the tweet more closely. The tweet itself is addressed to Christian believers, suggesting that they themselves are, in fact, atheists because they do not believe in the many deities and figures that mankind have worshipped for many years. Zeus, Aphrodite, Thor, and many others have fallen on the dustbin of belief to be replaced by Yahweh, the God of the Bible. However, considering again the definition of atheism, we must ask if one can categorically deny the existence of many gods save one? The answer must be no. Anything else would present a contradiction in terms.
It is impossible to be a believer and a non-believer at the same time and in the same place. That would present another contradiction. Christian believers assert that there is sufficient warrant because of the assertion of the universe requiring a cause for its existence, the pervasiveness of fine-tuning in the composition of the universe, and the presence of objective morals and duties to say that there is a God. We also suggest that the best explanation for these things is that the God of the Bible exists. We also put forward that there is little evidence to suggest that other deities exist. These propositions do not make Christians atheists. Those propositions make us believers.
The tweet in question shows a profound lack of understanding in what atheism actually is. It is a popular suggestion which has seen some currency in the popular realm. However, in examining the statement more closely, the tweet can be shown to have little weight.