Why Are there So Many Atheists?

MirrorBill Maher, infamous atheist, made a lot of news this week by calling God a murderer and a sociopath. There are atheists everywhere, so much so that many of the Christians that I know feel threatened by them.

But if we want to know why Maher thinks that way, we have to look in the mirror. If we want to know why there were so many people lining up to cheer him on, we need to look in the mirror even more.

Because we are the reason why so many people are turning away from God. As a movement, Christians have done a great job of misrepresenting God. Frankly, we’ve made God look like someone that no sane person would want to be anywhere near.

Most Christians are more concerned with promoting a culture than they are with sharing love.

Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like this.”  - Mark 7:13

Fundamentalist Christians speak louder than the rest of the church. And they speak, primarily, on attempting to impose a very particular culture on the nation. They neglect to exercise basic empathy, understanding that the puritanical culture that they are promoting was and is painful and harmful to a great many people.

They spend more time talking about how women should stay in the home and avoid speaking up in church than they do sharing the love of Christ. They shame and harm rape victims who haven’t even reached the age of majority yet. They want to make sure that nobody’s getting up to anything in any private bedroom that might offend them but turn their backs on the poor and the hungry.

They build up their mega-churches so that they can show off to one another. Many promote or tacitly support racism, because the “bygone America” that they want to see restored promoted racism. They are more concerned with whether little boys act in culturally approved ways than whether or not those boys are being being beaten up and tormented in the halls of their schools.

They lack the basic empathy to understand or care that a society which stripped women of their right to vote, or ability to work, and gave them nowhere to go when a man (who is, after all, only a fallen, temporal being) abused them was painful and harmful to the woman. They lack the basic compassion to understand or care that not everyone was created by God to fit into their tiny, pre-approved boxes. They lack the wisdom to note that God loves wonderful variety, ignoring the evidence of their own eyes by approving only tiny little portions of God’s creation.

And so everyone who does not fit into that culture thinks they are hearing what God is about. Then they reject the culture, which is so blind and indifferent to their pain, because there is no love in that blindness or that indifference. And the vast majority of Christians say, “Well, they’re just dirty sinners” and writes them off.

What is more important? The puritanical culture or the love of god?

Christians Who Treat One Another Poorly

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” -John 13:35

How much love is the modern Christian movement really showing to anyone at all? It seems to me that you can get bare acceptance if you meet the following criteria: white, middle-to-upper-class, and either male or willing to meekly bow down to the system of patriarchy.

How much love does the church truly show to the poor, when so many fundamentalists are out there demonizing the poor on our streets? How much love does the church show to victims of sexual and physical abuse, when their impulse is to cover it up, or to blame those innocents for not being pure enough, or for not being obedient enough? How much love are we showing to gays and lesbians who are Christians? Remember, even if you think homosexuality is a sin being a sinner does not disqualify you from being a Christian. We all need Christ.

Instead, the modern day church says, “These people are just sinners.” Except…we’re all sinners. The doors are supposed to be wide open to all of us. The love is supposed to be there for all of us. We are supposed to be following the man who said “judge not, lest you be judged.” So…at what point is it our responsibility to offer material help to the hurting? At what point is it our responsibility to, at the very least, not actively cause pain or make it worse for other people?

Atheists see the hypocrisy of the church, and they respond accordingly.

Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. – Matthew 23:28

God’s love is IRRESISTIBLE. We should be emulating it and showing others the way. That love reaches into us and heals us. When we respond to it we don’t need a new law in Congress to be who God wants us to be–we start to change. God works out his salvation in us. So the best thing that we can do is to show the way to that love and to be forces for that love in the world.

Instead of healing a hurting world the modern day church tries to create a cocoon of culture where they don’t have to engage with anything or anybody that offends them.

Instead of doing what is good, the modern day church is content to do what sounds good.

The modern day church outright ignores many of Jesus’ words and actions. And atheists are not stupid. They can see the differences between who we claim to serve and what we actually do.

If you’d like to be a witness to the world, if you’d like more people to love God and turn back to him, then turn back yourself. We must all reject the path of the self-righteous bully, humble ourselves before God, return to His love and then shine that Love out on the world. Then we must get out of Love’s way and let Love make the changes, affect the healing, and create the Kingdom.

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