Category Archives: Atheism


Along with the ring of truth, I told my atheist interlocutor that the Bible does a poor job of marketing itself.

Tough sayings and stories abound in the Bible.  You have the apostle Paul despairing of life, great King David who is a murderer, adulterer, and don’t forget, cover-up artist, and Jesus Himself struggling mightily with God’s plan in the Garden of Gethsemane.  And then you have all that stuff about picking up your cross, the narrow way, and hating your father and mother.

When skeptics tell me Christians believe because “it is easy,” I know among other things that the skeptic has not seriously read the Bible.



I was speaking with a well-known atheist who was ready for me to use the typical arguments for the existence of God.  I steered clear and took another approach.  Over the next few days, I will share the things I mentioned.

The first is the “ring of truth” which comes from reading the Bible.  For example, you have stories of “delicate women boiling their own children” during a time when food was scarce.  You also have a woman cut into twelve pieces as a sign of God’s judgment, not surprisingly during the time of the Judges.  And then there is Mary Magdalene who is the first witness of Christ’s resurrection.  If you were making up the story you would have powerful religious leaders probably from Jerusalem attesting the miracle of Jesus’s resurrection, but instead you have a formerly demon-possessed woman.



I decided to write this post before the flooding in Colorado and shootings in DC.  But then there are always evils and catastrophic events going on, many of which we are unaware of.


A short time ago I read an article about a former pastor who became a skeptic.  The post 9/11 world did not make sense to him.  He figured there could be no God in such a world.  This is nothing new.

Andrew Delbanco has famously said Americans went from believing in the providence of God prior to the Civil War to believing in luck after it.  Too much carnage took place for one to keep believing in a God who is good and in control of all things.

I also struggle to make sense of these realities, yet I am perplexed by those who choose to bail on the Christian faith.

The Bible makes it clear that we are living in a broken world where the most hideous things imaginable will take place.  Make sure to digest that important truth.  If “delicate women” will boil their own children for food (see Deut. 28:53-57), we know there is the capacity for all kinds of evil.

Further, if God had not made it clear that I will not understand many things this side of heaven, I also would consider bailing on the Christian faith.  However, God has made it clear we will only understand very little this side of heaven when it comes to processing evil and suffering.  There is quite a bit underscoring this reality in Scripture (for example Deut. 29:29; Job 38-42; Isa. 55:8,9; I Cor. 13:12)

Luther, like the Psalmists (note plural), struggled with the silence of God, even the God who seems to hide Himself at times.

So I wonder what Bible the pastor turned skeptic was reading.  I trust you are reading and digesting the entire Bible!




I know.  The title sounds like the start of a joke.

Here is what atheist, Richard Dawkins, tweeted when Benedict made it public he would retire:

“I feel sorry for the Pope and all old Catholic priests. Imagine having a wasted life to look back on and no sex.”

(Richard Dawkins, Tweet, Feb. 11, 2013)

Sex must take on a sort of transcendence if you are an atheist/materialist like Dawkins.  That is the truly pathetic thing!




As I mentioned this past Friday in a post called “Atheism is Good for Christians,” there are things to learn from those who don’t believe in God.  And those things can be insightful and helpful in our relationship with God.  

I read a terrific piece on great books being published this year which led off with some very important words by Nietzsche.  Before you read it, think of how many times you criticized some author without having read them.  Also, consider how many times slow, meditative thinking seemed impractical, a veritable waste of time.  Last, note in the second paragraph of the Nietzsche quote how we Americans are so frantic that the almost equally frantic pace of Eurpopeans looks slow by comparison.  And by all means, get off the train!

In Human, All Too Human, Friedrich Nietzsche lamented, “Because there is no time for thinking, and no rest in thinking, we no longer weigh divergent views; we are content to hate them. With the tremendous acceleration of life, we grow accustomed to using our mind and eye for seeing and judging incompletely or incorrectly, and all men are like travelers who get to a land and its people from the train.” 

“The farther West one goes, the greater modern agitation becomes; so that to Americans the inhabitants of Europe appear on the whole to be peace-loving, contented beings, while in fact they too fly about pell-mell, like bees and wasps. This agitation is becoming so great that the higher culture can no longer allow its fruits to ripen; it is as if the seasons were following too quickly on one another. From lack of rest, our civilization is ending in a new barbarism. Never have the active, which is to say the restless, people been prized more. Therefore, one of the necessary correctives that must be applied to the character of humanity is a massive strengthening of the contemplative element. And every individual who is calm and steady in his heart and head, already has the right to believe that he possesses not only a good temperament, but also a generally useful virtue, and that in preserving this virtue, he is even fulfilling a higher duty.”

For those who are interested, Christopher Benson’s thoughtful reflections on important, new books, can be found at:


Atheism can help us Christians in many ways.  Christian philosopher, Merold Westphal, wrote a terrific piece called “Atheism for Lent.”  In it, he mentions how Marx, Nietzsche, and even Freud can help us better reflect the humility Scripture so regularly encourages.  Even though it is not Lent, these insights are valuable to consider any time of the year!