Is Atheism a Religion?

Atheists will usually argue that atheism is not a religion, but rather is the lack of a religion. The American Atheists website states:

“Atheism is usually defined incorrectly as a belief system. Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a no-godlack of belief in gods… Atheism is not a belief system nor is it a religion. While there are some religions that are atheistic (certain sects of Buddhism, for example), that does not mean that atheism is a religion. Two commonly used retorts to the nonsense that atheism is a religion are: 1) If atheism is a religion then bald is a hair color, and 2) If atheism is a religion then health is a disease.“

Is Atheism a religion? It depends entirely on how one defines the terms “religion” and “Atheism.”

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, religion is:

1             a :  the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion>

b (1) :  the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) :  commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

2 :  a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

3 archaic :  scrupulous conformity :  conscientiousness

4 :  a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

Similarly, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Atheism as:

1 archaic :  ungodliness, wickedness

2             a :  a disbelief in the existence of deity

b :  the doctrine that there is no deity

According to the dictionary definitions, Atheism is not a religion. Atheism, strictly speaking, is simply not believing any deity exists. This does not qualify as a religion or a belief system. However, by this sort of strict definition, theism also is not a religion – it is simply the “belief in the existence of a god or gods” (Merriam-Webster). Neither are pantheism or polytheism. No isolated belief is a religion. They are simply isolated beliefs.

Beliefs – or lack thereof – do not exist in isolation

The problem with this reasoning is that, in actual practice, beliefs do not exist in isolation. All of a person’s beliefs, attitudes, values, and practices are interrelated. The human mind hates contradiction. If a person does not believe in any deity, then other views held by that person must be consistent with this view. For example, Atheists almost universally hold to naturalism – the philosophical viewpoint in which everything arises from natural properties and causes, and all supernatural explanations are excluded or discounted. Almost all Atheists hold to the Big Bang and naturalistic evolution, because virtually any other belief regarding origins requires some sort of deity. Another almost unanimously held belief among Atheists is that science is the basis for correct attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Most hold to some sort of secular humanism – which is defined by the Council for Secular Humanism as a comprehensive, nonreligious lifestance incorporating a naturalistic philosophy, a cosmic outlook rooted in science, and a consequentialist ethical system.

Why are these beliefs nearly universally held by Atheists? Because almost any other combination of beliefs would contradict the notion that gods do not exist, and the human mind is wired to reject contradiction. In order to maintain a lack of belief in gods, any other philosophical or religious idea that requires or implies the existence of any deity must be rejected. This severely limits the Atheist’s philosophical options.

I find it ironic that Atheists frequently refer to themselves as “freethinkers.” According to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a freethinker is:

“A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists. No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.”

Why is this ironic? Because in the process of trying to free themselves of gods and faith, they severely limit their options. They are not free to even think God might exist. Rather than being free to think, Atheists become slaves to their limited thinking. Conformity to non-belief is demanded.

Atheistic worldviews are religious

I would agree with Atheists in their insistence that Atheism per se is not a religion. However, Atheism is always part of a larger worldview that is ultimately religious – despite emphatic protests and arguments to the contrary.

Religious worldviews have a number of common characteristics. Although the following is not a definitive list of these characteristics, it serves to show how most Atheism-based worldviews are also religious.

  1. Religions have narratives. Christians have the Bible, Muslims have the Quran, and Mormons have the Book of Mormon. DarwinFishSimilarly, Atheists have a number of narratives, including the evolution and Big Bang stories. As Atheist Richard Dawkins once said, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” The story of everything coming into existence from a singularity, life mysteriously appearing from non-living matter, and evolving into present day forms, is the Atheist’s narrative. Many Atheists hold to the Humanist Manifesto as a sort of sacred text, along with Origin of Species and other writings.
  2. Religions have doctrine. Christians have many doctrines, including the Trinity, the virgin birth, the dual nature of Christ, and so forth. Other religions have their doctrine as well. The central doctrine of Atheism is that no deities exist. Atheists derive other doctrine from this central tenet, including:
  • Faith must be rejected
  • Science is the only way of knowing
  • Science is the opposite of religion
  • Life evolved
  • Mankind is part of nature
  • Matter and energy are all that exist
  • The universe has no ultimate purpose
  • Ethical values are derived from human need

Although not all atheists hold to all of these doctrines, any more than all Christians hold to all Christian doctrine, they serve to show that atheists are religious in that they have doctrine.

  1. Religions have faith. Despite vehement protests to the contrary, atheists have faith. The central doctrine of the non-existence of deity cannot be proved, any more than the non-existence of anything else – the view that gods do not exist must be held by faith. Atheists typically define faith as “blindly believing the impossible,” which is exactly what they must do if they believe that that the laws of chemistry, physics and biology were once violated and life arose from non-life via chemical evolution. Nearly all Atheist doctrines are a matter of belief and faith, rather than anything that can be taken into a lab and proved experimentally.
  2. Religion is a source of purpose and meaning. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and people of all other religions get their meaning and purpose for life primarily from their religious beliefs. Atheists are much the same. From the Humanist Manifesto III:

Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.
Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.

  1. Religions have rituals. From communion and baptism in Christianity, to circumcision and Passover in Judaism, to meditation in eastern religions, all religions have rituals. On the surface, atheism would seem to lack rituals, but a few exist. Because modern Atheism is a relatively recent movement, it does not have much of a history to commemorate. However, many atheists celebrate Darwin Day or the winter solstice. An increasing number of Atheist “churches” have been formed in recent years, complete with music and preaching. Although rituals are largely absent from Atheist practices, they are not completely absent.
  2. Religions use symbols. Christians have the cross; Jews have the Menorah; MuFSMslims have the Star and Crescent. Atheists have the “Darwin fish,” the “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” the unicorn, and several logos incorporating the letter A.
  3. Religion provides social construct. Christians have congregations and churches. Hindus have a caste system. Atheism also provides social construct. Communist countries have frequently made Atheism the state religion, often to the point of persecuting other religions. From the Humanist Manifesto III:

Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature’s resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.

  1. Religions proselytize. Christians send out evangelists and missionaries. Muslims convert people under threat of violence. American AtheistsAtheists also proselytize. Modern Atheism has been driven predominantly by Atheist authors promoting their beliefs. In the preface to The God Delusion, Atheist Richard Dawkins writes, “If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.” The American Humanist Association spent thousands of dollars to place ads on buses in Washington, D.C., asking, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” The Freedom from Religion Foundation has had billboards across the country promoting Atheism. A simple good search shows thousands of websites, blogs, and social media pages – all proselytizing for Atheism.

Conclusions

Atheism is not a religion, per se, but almost all Atheists practice a non-theistic kind of religion. Atheist religion is generally not an institutionalized system or organization, but usually more of a personal set of non-theistic religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. In the discussions I have personally had with Atheists, many defend their system of beliefs with as much ardor and faith as any Christian evangelist.

The statement, “Atheism is a religion,” is technically incorrect. A better way of stating this would be to say, “Atheists are almost always religious,” or “Atheism is the core doctrine of the religion of Secular Humanism.”

Why Use Reason When You Can Just Mock People?

no reason neededI didn’t bother blogging about the recent Ken Ham / Bill Nye debate, because I figured enough other people were already blogging about it. However, I ran across a blog by Ronald Bailey on Reason.com entitled How Really to Debate Creationists: Bill Nye versus Ken Ham that I thought deserved comment.

Bailey begins with the typical argument that Nye shouldn’t have debated Ham, because creationists shouldn’t have a platform to promote their views. Basically, if you can’t beat ’em, shut ’em up. Not exactly a reasoned response.

Bailey continues by stating – or, more accurately, misstating – several creationist concepts, ranging from man and dinosaurs coexisting to fossil formation during Noah’s flood to why the Big Bang doesn’t make sense. Rather than actually giving rational arguments for why he thinks these concepts are wrong, he simply labels them “nonsense.” Ad hominem attacks are not a reasoned argument.

How should an evolutionist deal with creationists? According to Bailey, “there is a way to beat Creationists at their own game – mockery.” He continues:

So don’t try to knock down each individual assertion of mountebanks like Ham during such a “debate,” but instead concentrate on the goal of explaining by entertaining with a bit of mockery thrown in. You will gratify your intellectual friends; annoy your enemies; and perhaps persuade some of the confused to take a deeper look into the scads of evidence for biological evolution.

Bailey links to a video of himself and atheist Michael Shermer debating intelligent designers Stephen Meyer and George Gilder. Bailey uses the “Intelligent Design by Purple Space Squids” argument to mock his opponents’ arguments.

So, according to the website REASON.com, one should not use reason to argue against creation. Bailey then justifies his argument:

My talk clearly did not persaude Meyer and Gilder, but by show of hands Shermer and I did win the debate at Freedomfest.

Since evolutionists cannot win the debate with reason, they should resort to mockery and entertainment. Mockery and entertainment win debates. And apparently, mockery also determines the truth.

As the Apostle Paul wrote, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. They think their beliefs are based on “reason,” when in fact they are based on logical fallacy and foolishness.

Logical, reasoned arguments will not sway a fool who has set himself in opposition to Jesus Christ. Such people have already made up their minds to reject reason and the truth. However, for those who are truly seeking the truth, logical, reasoned arguments can draw people to the truth of the Gospel.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. 1 Peter 3:15

The Unreasonableness of Reason Alone

A friend of mine, who happens to be an atheist, posted a link to this video by atheist Steven Pinker on Facebook recently. I would encourage you to watch it to give context to my comments that follow.  It’s typical of the bankrupt arguments atheists make in defense of their worldview.

FaithReasonReason is necessary in order to make sense of the universe. However, if the universe is nothing more that matter and energy, why does reason exist? Reason should not exist in a materialistic, atheistic worldview. If everything that exists is nothing more than matter and energy that exploded into existence on its own, and formed itself into the world we have today entirely by accident, then reason should not exist. Reason presupposes the existence something more than just matter and energy – it actually presupposes God.

Pinker states, “At heart, morality is treating other people the way one would want to be treated oneself.” Sounds a whole lot like something Jesus once said. If there is no God, then why should we treat others as we would want to be treated? What is the basis for such a belief? Isn’t evolution all about the survival of the fittest? The strongest survive, the weak die. If God does not exist, and evolution is true, then is would be immoral to help the weak, because this stunts the natural course of evolution by allowing the genes of the weak to continue in the gene pool. Yet, even the atheist knows that the Golden Rule is the basis for morality. Atheists must steal morality from the Christian worldview in order to make their own worldview work.

He also states, “Faith means believing something with no good reason to do it.” This is a classic strawman argument. Faith is not believing for no good reason, but rather, a reasonable step beyond what we can easily observe. Faith does not ignore reason, but extends it. Anyone who actually believes that faith means belief without reason clearly does not understand faith.

Pinker states, “I think that using the word ‘god,’ or the attitude of faith toward that you don’t know is a cop-out, it’s a way of slapping a label onto something rather than trying to understand it.” Pinker presupposes that God cannot be known. He presupposes that one cannot know through faith. Again, this simply shows his bias. God can be known, and faith can lead to real knowledge and truth. Just because he does not understand God does not mean there are no gods. But, because his atheistic worldview denies the existence of God, Pinker uses the cop-out of calling faith in God a cop-out, rather than trying to seek out and understand God and faith.

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker

Pinker states, “There are some questions that may not have answers because they are bad questions, a question such as, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ It may just be a stupid question.” A question is not a “stupid question” simply because one’s worldview cannot answer it. Perhaps it’s a bad worldview, not a bad question. The fact that a naturalistic, atheistic worldview cannot answer these sorts of “big questions” of existence is precisely why such a worldview is inadequate and flawed. Pinker states that asking why we are here or what is our greater purpose is an example of a stupid question. Ironically, he then attempts to answer the question he just called stupid. He says he has an ethical imperative to be good to other people, to put his life to some purpose. Yet, he cannot answer the question of why this is true. A naturalistic, atheistic worldview cannot explain why we should be good to others, or why we should have any purpose in life. Again, atheists must steal the concepts of goodness and purpose from the Bible in order for their worldview to have any meaning. It is precisely because God is good and purposeful that goodness and purpose exist. Yet, an atheist cannot understand this and remain an atheist. It’s actually rather funny that Pinker refers to “taking advantage of the gifts that I find myself with.” Gifts imply a Giver.

Pinker’s personal philosophy of reason depends on arbitrary beliefs in morality and ethics, which is irrational, cannot be explained through reason. He has to resort to calling things he cannot explain “stupid questions,” because his deficient worldview of reason alone cannot logically or rationally explain them. A materialistic, atheistic worldview is self-refuting. It’s a shame he and others like him cannot understand the unreasonableness of relying solely on reason.

What then is the rational, reasonable alternative to materialistic atheism?

An atheistic worldview is complex, convoluted, and irrational, and cannot even answer the basic questions of existence. The Biblical worldview is so simple and reasonable that most children can understand.

bibleGod exists; He created the universe. The nature of the universe reflects the nature of its creator. The universe is logical, rational, and reasonable because God Who created it is logical, rational, and reasonable. The world was originally created perfect, reflecting the perfect nature of God. God created mankind in His image, with the capacity to make moral choices. Mankind chose to rebel against God, and this rebellion is the cause of all the imperfections and evil in the world today. God could have simply snuffed everything out, but because He loves us, He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our rebellion against Him. Anyone who chooses to turn from their sin, and who places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, will be reconciled with God. The Biblical worldview logically and rationally explains everything that the materialistic, atheistic worldview seeks weakly tries to explain, as well as those “big questions” that materialism and atheism cannot even begin to explain.

As for myself, I choose the straight-forward, rational worldview that explains everything, rather than the self-refuting, irrational worldview that explains almost nothing. I choose Jesus.

Worldview Jenga Towers

Ever played Jenga? Jenga is a game where a tower is constructed of 54 wooden blocks. Players take turns removing blocks, one at a time, until the tower collapses.

Recently, I saw the following comment by an atheist on Facebook:

Creationists are not unwilling to listen to the evidence because they believe themselves to be correct. They are unwilling to listen because they must, at ANY cost, defend their ideologies because they are a Jenga tower of [expletive deleted]. Remove one peg and the whole thing comes down. Try getting anyone to deny something they’ve predicated their entire life on. It has to come from within. As it did for us.

Why do young-earth creationists defend their beliefs? And, why do atheists defend evolution?

Jenga TowerIt is ironic that this atheist would post such a comment, because creation is much more of a threat to an atheistic worldview than evolution could ever be to a Christian worldview. One’s worldview is the totality of a person’s beliefs. Like a Jenga tower, all worldviews have certain core beliefs that form the base. Without these foundational axioms, the entire worldview collapses. There are millions of Christians who believe God used some sort of evolutionary process to bring about the world as we now know it. Faith in Jesus Christ is not predicated on young earth creation. However, atheism is absolutely dependent on evolution, because any alternative that implies God or any other “higher power” completely contradicts the belief that no such God exists. An evolutionary worldview is the only possibility if one is going to maintain that nothing supernatural exists. To use the Jenga analogy, if any form of creation or intelligent design were true, not only is a peg removed from the Jenga tower of atheism, the entire table the tower was built upon disappears. This is why atheists so vehemently defend evolution and attack any notion of creation.

If faith in Jesus Christ is not predicated on a literal young-earth understanding of the Bible, then why do Biblical creationists so passionately defend a literal understanding of Genesis?

While it is true that one can be a Christian while believing that God used some sort of evolutionary process, to do so is inconsistent, and it undermines the authority of the Bible. Genesis clearly teaches that God created the universe in six normal days, not billions of years. The Gospel message is based on the fact that every person is a sinner in need of a Savior, and that everyone is a sinner because we have inherited a sin nature from our original ancestor, Adam (see Romans 5). If evolution is true, then the Genesis account is false, and if Genesis is false, then there is no original sin, and no need for a Savior. Christians base their belief in Jesus Christ on the fact that the Bible is correct when it talks about Jesus. Yet, if the Bible is wrong when it talks about origins, why would it be correct when it talks about Jesus?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying a person cannot be a saved, born-again Christian without a literal understanding of Genesis. What I am saying is that to do so, the Christian is being irrational. Numerous studies involving people who once called themselves Christians, but no longer do, have shown that belief in evolution is among the top reasons why people who are brought up in Christian homes and Bible-believing churches begin to question the Bible’s accuracy, eventually leading to complete rejection of Christian belief. Evolution and the Bible are incompatible. Atheists and other non-Christians understand this. Biblical young-earth creationists understand this. The only ones who can’t seem to understand this are those who try to cling to both the Bible and evolution.

Is evolution a proven fact, as many claim? Far from it. The scientific method requires experimentation that is observable, testable, and repeatable. Evolution, in the sense of all life coming from a common ancestor, cannot be observed – it supposedly happened in the past. It cannot be tested or repeated for the same reason. The fact that we see changes in organisms today does not imply that all life came from a common origin. Common design elements in DNA does not necessarily mean common ancestry; it makes more sense that commonalities in DNA design are due to a common designer. Gaps in the fossil record, carbon-14 in fossils, and the tremendous amount of information in DNA all point to the truth of the Bible’s account and completely contradict evolution. This isn’t to say that evolutionists haven’t come up with all sorts of convoluted rescuing devices to maintain their belief in random, natural processes; however, the actual observable evidence is completely in harmony with the Biblical account, while extremely contradictory to the notion that life came to be as it is today all by itself. I could write volumes explaining this point further, but I won’t. A quick Google search will serve the purpose for any reader who really wants to seek out the truth of the matter. Ultimately, most atheistsand evolutionists really don’t care about the evidence, despite protestations to the contrary. They only care about maintaining their Jenga tower of unbelief.

Jenga 2If there was incontrovertible proof that evolution is true, would my Christianity come crashing down? Absolutely not; my faith in Jesus Christ is not dependent on my current understanding of the origins of the universe, but rather is based on a relationship with Him. True, I would have a crisis of faith, and I would need to seriously rebuild my understanding of the Bible, but I would remain a follower of Jesus Christ. Part of my Jenga tower worldview would fall, but the foundation would remain intact. I have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit dwells in me; it would be impossible for me to cease believing in the Savior Who has so radically changed me from the inside. It would be like denying oxygen. However, an atheist must maintain a belief in evolution, or their entire worldview must come crashing down. Atheism is impossible without evolution; it is critical to the foundation of an atheistic worldview.

This is why atheists must attack creation while defending evolution.

As a Christian, I defend the literal Truth of the Bible, not because I must for my Christianity to stand, but because I have a passion for seeing others come to know the Truth. Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32. He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6. We defend creation and challenge evolution because we want others to know Jesus.

Atheist Day – April 1 – Psalm 14:1

I had the following exchange (paraphrased) on Facebook the other day:

Me: Atheist Day is April 1. Psalm 14:1 – The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Atheist: Atheists aren’t fools. You’re a moron.

Me: Can there be anything more foolish that telling God that He doesn’t exist?

Atheist: I don’t tell gods they don’t exist. I don’t talk to fictional characters.

foolI had to paraphrase the atheist’s remarks, because she blocked me from seeing her comments a few minutes after she posted them.

I was both amused and saddened by this person’s answer. She apparently had no idea that by stating, “I don’t talk to fictional characters,” she was doing precisely what she argued she doesn’t do – she was telling God He doesn’t exist.


According to urban legend, a judge in Florida once declared that April 1 is “Atheist Day,” citing Psalm 14:1. This legend has been debunked; it apparently originated as a joke on a humor mailing list in 2002.

Is Atheism Foolish?

The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.

~ Psalm 14:1

Atheism is a very foolish worldview to hold. For one thing, atheism is completely illogical. An atheist contends that he or she knows there is no God. Logically, one cannot know that something does not exist.

sasquatchLet’s use Bigfoot, also known as sasquatch, as an example. In order to know Bigfoot does not exist, one would have to look in every place Bigfoot could possibly exist. They would have to look in all of these places at the same time, to ensure Bigfoot wasn’t moving from place to place. They would also have to know what Bigfoot is. Otherwise, they might actually see Bigfoot, but not recognize it. Logically, no one can know Bigfoot does not exist. The best one can logically know is that they have never seen Bigfoot, or any evidence for the existence of Bigfoot. One can conclude that Bigfoot probably does not exist, but one cannot logically conclude absolutely that Bigfoot does not exist.  Personally, I don’t believe in Bigfoot.  However, it would be illogical to say I know Bigfoot does not exist.  I would be a sasquatch agnostic rather than an a-sasquatch-ist.


The same logic applies to God. In order to know God does not exist, one would need to be looking everywhere in the universe simultaneously, and would need to know what God looks like in order to recognize whether He was present, or not. Such a person would need to be omnipresent to look everywhere at once, and omniscient to know what God looks like. Unless a person is indeed omnipresent and omniscient, it is illogical to claim one knows God does not exist.


The most a person can logically claim is that they don’t know if God exists. This would be agnosticism, not atheism. At least with agnosticism, there is enough intellectual integrity to acknowledge not knowing for certain.


Blaise PascalAnother reason atheism is foolish is what is known as Pascal’s Wager. Blaise Pascal (1633 – 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher. He argued that if a Christian is wrong about Christianity, they basically live a happy life, and when they die – they’re gone. They really haven’t lost anything by being wrong in their beliefs. However, if a non-Christian is wrong, although they may live a happy life here on earth, when they die, they end up in Hell. In other words, if one “wagers” on Christianity and loses, they lose nothing; if one “wagers” against Christianity and loses, they lose everything.


Although many atheists have devised convoluted scenarios they believe work around Pascal’s Wager, the same basic question remains: What if one is wrong about Christianity? If I, as a Christian, am wrong about Christianity, I’ll never know. When I die, I’ll just rot in the grave, and cease to exist. But, if an atheist is wrong about Christianity, they end up in Hell for eternity. That’s one bet I would not want to lose!


The most foolish thing about being an atheist is that atheist actually do know God exists. However, they intentionally suppress that knowledge.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

~ Romans 1:18-23


God’s existence is obvious to anyone who is willing to see it. Everything in the universe points to His existence. The problem is that all people are born in rebellion against God.

The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.

~ Psalm 14:2-3


Every person is born separated from God. Yet God, in His grace, reveals Himself to each of us, and gives us the opportunity to turn to Him.


For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

~ John 3:16

Those who choose to respond to the Gospel and receive Christ as Lord and Savior gain an eternal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Those who foolishly suppress the truth of the Gospel remain eternally separated from God, and spend eternity in Hell. This is why atheism is foolish. For God to offer forgiveness, reconciliation with Himself, and eternal life, yet to choose to tell Him, “No thank you. You do not exist,” is the most foolish thing a person could ever do.

Pushing People Out of the Church – Part 7

Some time ago, I read an article on the left-wing, anti-religion, news-and-commentary website Alternet.org entitled, “8 Ways Christian Fundamentalists Make People Convert — to Agnosticism or Atheism,” by skeptic Valerie Tarico.

Valerie Tarico

While I personally find most of the articles on this site to be little more than irrational liberal ranting, this article caught my interest, because it contains some truths that Christians need to understand.

Ultimately, people who reject Jesus Christ do so because they choose to suppress the truth (Romans 1:18-19). Unfortunately, there are also many things that those in the church do to push people away. As Tarico states, “if you read ExChristian testimonials you will notice that quite often church leaders or members do things that either trigger the deconversion process or help it along.”

I’ve found that I can often learn a lot by listening to what skeptics say about their perceptions of Christianity. This series looks at the eight reasons Tarico highlights.

Reason #7: Political Meddling

If you look at religion-bashing quote-quip-photo-clip-links that circulate Facebook and Twitter, most of them are prompted by church incursions into the political sphere. A spat between two atheists erupted on my home page yesterday. “Why can’t ex-Christians just shut up about religion and get on with building a better world?” asked one. “Why can’t we shut up?!” screeched the other. “Because of shit like this!” He posted a link about Kansas giving doctors permission to deny contraception and accurate medical information to patients.

I myself give George W. Bush credit for transforming me from a politically indifferent, digging-in-the-garden agnostic into a culture warrior. He casually implied that, when going to war, he didn’t need to consult with his own father because he had consulted the big guy in the sky, and my evangelical relatives backed him up on that, and I thought, oh my God, the beliefs I was raised on are killing people. The Religious Right, and now the Catholic bishops, have brought religion into politics in the ugliest possible way short of holy war, and people who care about the greater good have taken notice. Lists of ugly Bible verses, articles about the psychology of religion, investigative exposes about Christian machinations in D.C. or rampant proselytizing in the military and public schools –all of these are popular among political progressives because it is impossible to drive progressive change without confronting religious fundamentalism.

Before I move on to the valid points Tarico makes, let me point out some of the logical problems with her arguments.

First, she presumes that the religious beliefs of Christians should have no bearing whatsoever in American politics. She implies that George W. Bush’s beliefs should have been left outside the White House gates, and that the Religious Right and Catholics have no business bringing their beliefs into the realm of politics. Yet, at the same time, she argues that her religious view – that God does not exist – should be the foundation of the American political mindset. What Tarico and others like her are arguing for is not the removal of religion, but the establishment of Secular Humanism as the state religion.

Besides the liberal use of question-begging epithets (ugly Bible verses, fundamentalism) and fear mongering (holy war), the other glaringly illogical line of reasoning is in the statement, “…and I thought, oh my God, the beliefs I was raised on are killing people.” First, it’s ironic that she thought, “…oh my God…,” since she says she doesn’t believe in God. Perhaps she was just trying to be funny. Or perhaps it is an indication that, subconsciously, she knows that God does exist, although she fights to suppress that truth. More important that the slip in theology is the irrationality of claiming that the reason we went to war in Iraq was because Bush thought God told him to. First, the fact that Bush prayed about it before making a decision does not mean evangelical Christianity was the cause of the war. And second, if one compares the number of deaths caused in the name of “christianity” versus those committed by atheistic or secular humanistic regimes, there is no comparison – hands down, atheism and secularism have taken far more lives in war than “christianity.” The evangelical Christian beliefs Tarico was raised on are not what caused the wars in Iraq and Iran; sin is what causes wars. If people all became Christians, and actually followed Biblical teaching, there would be no wars.

What can I as a follower of Jesus Christ learn from what Tarico says here?

First, we need to be careful how we mix our relationship with Jesus Christ with our political views. During the recent election season, this became quite evident. I must confess, at times I let my political disgust with President Obama tarnish my Christian witness. As one meme put it, “God does not want us to bring DEMOCRACY to people. He wants us to bring CHRIST to people.” Unfortunately, I now realize that some of my political postings on Facebook offended many of the people God has called me to reach with the Gospel. Regardless of whether we have a syncretistic humanist like Obama as President, or a Mormon like Romney, or even an evangelical like Bush, government is inherently secular and temporary. The Gospel has eternal implications. Political regimes will come and go, but human souls are eternal. The choices we make about which person becomes the President are only relevant for a brief time, but the choice we make about Jesus Christ affects us for eternity.

Secondly, Tarico’s thoughts point out how our underlying presuppositions define our worldview and actions. Because she rejects God, she must logically reject anything associated with God. She must believe that human beings are the ultimate authority in politics, morality, and every other aspect of life. In order to bring people to Jesus Christ, Christians cannot simply attack the symptoms of unbelief – abortion, socialism, evolution, homosexuality, and so on – but need to attack the underlying presuppositions that the unbeliever’s worldview is founded upon. We must help unbeliever understand why their foundational beliefs don’t make sense, and why Biblical Christianity is the only rational worldview based on reality. Focusing on the external symptoms doesn’t change hearts and minds. Only by building on the foundational truths of God’s Word can hearts and minds be turned to Jesus Christ.

Christian, be careful how you mix the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the gospel of your political views.

The Logical Fallacy of Requiring Material Evidence to Prove God’s Existence

The following graphic, which I saw on Facebook, sums up the argument I consistently hear from materialistic atheists in their arguments against God.

For many, this seems like a rational requirement. If something is true, there should be scientific evidence to prove it.

However, such a “rule” is actually nonsense. There are logical fallacies involved in requiring the use of the scientific method to prove the existence of God.

Fallacy #1 – It’s totally arbitrary

The first fallacy of requiring empirical scientific evidence to prove God’s existence is that such a requirement is total arbitrary.

When an atheist demands physical evidence for the existence of God, my first response is, “Why? Why is scientific evidence the only acceptable evidence?”

The usual response is, “Because the only way we can know anything is through physical evidence.”

And again, my response is, “Why?” And I usually get a confused stare, like I’m crazy for even asking such a question.

The point is, there is absolutely no logical reason why such a rule should exist – except for the worldview of the materialistic atheist. The materialistic atheist believes that the material world of matter and energy is all that exists. The thought that anything else could exist is absurd to them. However, material atheism is itself completely arbitrary.

Fallacy #2 – Category Error

A category error is “a type of informal fallacy where things that belong to one grouping are mistakenly placed in another,” or where “a property is ascribed to a thing that could not possibly have that property.” If someone says, “My coffee is a Republican,” they are committing a category error – coffee cannot be a Republican. Only people can be Republicans. Coffee does not belong to the category of things capable of being a Republican.

The Biblical God is not a material Being. He is not part of the natural universe. By definition, God is supernatural (super- “Above; over;” natural “Present in or produced by nature”). God is in an entirely different category than the natural universe. When one demands physical evidence for the existence of a non-physical Being, they are committing a category error fallacy. It would be like demanding DNA evidence for the existence of black holes, or asking for a test tube full of consciousness, or trying to put time in a bottle.

Fallacy #3 – It’s self-refuting

What do I mean by saying this rule is self-refuting? Basically, this rule, when applied to itself, contradicts itself.

First, the rule requires “empirical results of repeatable experimentation.” There is no way to conduct a repeatable experiment to empirically test whether “empirical results of repeatable experimentation” are required to argue for the supernatural. One cannot use the rule to test the validity of the rule.

Second, the rule requires “cogent, non-fallacious argumentation.” Yet, as I’ve already demonstrated, the rule itself is fallacious.

Fallacy #4 – Even when the rule is met, material atheists ignore the evidence

This fallacy isn’t with the rule itself, per se, but with the way atheists handle the scientific evidence that does support God’s existence.

There is a tremendous amount of “empirical results of repeatable experimentation” and much “cogent, non-fallacious argumentation” that supports the existence of God. The sheer volume of such evidence makes it impossible to present these evidences in this brief blog. A simple Google search will bring up tens of thousands of articles, peer-reviewed papers, and Websites that present the scientific arguments for God. My point is, when confronted with these evidences, the materialistic atheist will reject it anyway. Why? Because to acknowledge the validity of scientific evidence for the existence of God would completely shatter the material atheist’s entire worldview. They would be forced to face the fact that they are wrong. In other words, the material atheist cannot objectively examine scientific evidence that is presented; they must deny it, not because it isn’t scientific, but because it leads to conclusions they don’t want to acknowledge. Romans 1:18 states, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Those that reject God must suppress, or hide, the truth. Romans 1 continues:

19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Those who reject God ultimately do so, not because of a lack of evidence, but because they foolishly refuse to submit to His authority over their lives. The issue is not evidence; the issue is rebellion.

Christians need to continue to present the Gospel to non-Christians, including materialistic atheists. We must continually pray for the lost, be prepared to present cogent arguments when needed, and rely on the Holy Spirit to us to reach the lost. We must not be swayed by the fallacious arguments used to deny God, but must stand on the truth of God’s Word as the foundation of our beliefs.

Grabbed this off Facebook a couple of minutes after I posted this blog. It seemed to fit.

Pushing People Out of the Church – Part 6

Valerie Tarico

A while back, I read an article on the left-wing, anti-religion, news-and-commentary website Alternet.org entitled, “8 Ways Christian Fundamentalists Make People Convert — to Agnosticism or Atheism,” by skeptic Valerie Tarico.

While I personally find most of the articles on this site either tasteless or just plain nonsense, this article caught my interest, because it contains some truths that Christians need to understand.

It’s important to recognize that people who reject Jesus Christ ultimately do so because they choose to suppress the truth (Romans 1:18-19). Unfortunately, there are also many things that those in the church do to push people away. As Tarico states, “if you read ExChristian testimonials you will notice that quite often church leaders or members do things that either trigger the deconversion process or help it along.”

I’ve found that I can learn a lot by listening to what skeptics say about their perceptions of Christianity. This series looks at the eight reasons Tarico highlights.

Reason #6: Science Denial

One of my former youth group friends had his faith done in by a conversation with a Bible study leader who explained that dinosaur skeletons actually are the bones of the giants described in early books of the Bible. Uh huh. Christians have come up with dozens of squishier, less falsifiable ways to explain the geological record: The “days” in Genesis 1 were really “ages.” Or God created the world with the fossils already in place to test our faith. Or the biblical creation story is really sacred metaphor. But young-earth creationists who believe the world appeared in its present form 6,000-10,000 years ago are stuck. And since almost half of the American public believes some version of this young-earth story, there are ample opportunities for inquiring minds to trip across proto-scientific nonsense.

Like other factors I’ve mentioned, science denial doesn’t just move believers to nonbelief; it also rallies opposition ranging from cantankerous bloggers to legal advocates. It provides fodder for comedians and critics: “If the world was created 6,000 years ago, what’s fueling your car?” It may produce some of the most far-reaching opposition to religious belief, because science advocates argue that faith, even socially benign faith, is a fundamentally flawed way of knowing. The Catholic church, perhaps still licking wounds about Galileo (it apologized finally in the 20th century), has managed to avoid embarrassing and easily disproven positions on evolutionary biology. But one could argue that its atheism-fostering positions on conception and contraception similarly rely on ignorance about or denial of biological science — in this case embryology and the basic fact that most embryos never become persons.

From my experience, the creation vs. evolution debate is the topic that is most likely to get a skeptic’s dander up. This is because atheism is utterly impossible unless evolution is true. If God or gods don’t exist, there must be a non-supernatural mechanism to explain how life came to be. The only remotely plausible explanation is evolution.

answersingenesis.org

I’ve always found it ironic that when most creationists discuss evolution and creation, they tend to focus on the observable scientific inconsistencies of evolutionary theory and the observable science supporting the Biblical creation model, while most evolutionists simply state evolution as dogma and ridicule the Biblical model – without bringing up actual scientific evidence. Tarico is no different. Granted, two paragraphs isn’t enough space to lay out any real scientific evidence one way or the other. Yet, she does manage to state her dogmatic faith in evolution, and throw out a few question-begging epithets against Biblical creation (“proto-scientific nonsense,” “science denial,” “denial of biological science”). She also throws out a huge straw-man argument: “… young-earth creationists … believe the world appeared in its present form 6,000-10,000 years ago.” Wrong. The 6,000-10,000 years ago part is correct. The “appeared in its present form” is absolutely wrong. Biblical creationists generally believe the earth was created “very good” (Genesis 1:31), but that it was radically changed because of sin (Genesis 3). It was tremendously altered by the global flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6-8). Furthermore, natural processes such as erosion, weathering, natural selection, and mutations have continued to change the earth and the organisms live here. But, then again, it’s easier to argue against a straw-man with dogma and name-calling than it is to argue logically against actual Biblical creation.

answersingenesis.org

The fact that some naïve Bible study leader ignorantly thought that “dinosaur skeletons actually are the bones of the giants described in early books of the Bible” isn’t an argument against Biblical creationism. It does, however, point out the fact that too many Christians are ignorant of both science and the Bible. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” Unfortunately, most Christians are not ready, and cannot give a defense of the Biblical account of Creation. The un-Biblical compromise positions Tarico mentions, such as the day-age theory, Genesis as a metaphor, or any number of other theories, cause as much confusion about the Bible as atheistic evolution. All origins theories other than the straight-forward Biblical account of six literal days a few thousand years ago take mankind’s fallible ideas and hold them in higher authority than God’s Word. All of these other theories question the authority of the straight-forward teaching of the Bible.

Christians, especially Christian leaders and teachers, need to educate themselves. We need to understand science and evolutionary theory. In fact, Christians need to understand evolution better than most evolutionists do. We need to understand what evolution teaches, as well as the scientific, logical, and theological problems with evolution. We need to understand how various dating methods arrive at ancient ages for the earth, and the arbitrary assumptions behind these methods. We also need to understand what the Bible actually says – and doesn’t say – about origins and the age of the earth. What we actually observe in the universe solidly confirms the Biblical account of creation, and show the millions-of-years-of-evolution dogma to be utterly impossible.

I would argue that it’s not the young-earth position that drives people away, as Tarico believes; rather, it’s ignorant Christians that are unprepared to explain how science confirms the Bible that cause confusion and doubt. Too many Christians appear ignorant of science, not because they embrace the Biblical creation, but because they actually are ignorant of both science and the Bible. Incidentally, most skeptics are just as ignorant – but that’s no excuse. If we want people to realize the absolute truth of the Bible, and embrace faith in Jesus Christ as the only rational reality, then we need to take 1 Peter 3:15 to heart, and stop being so ignorant and unprepared to defend the authority of Scripture.


Numerous resources are available to help the Christian understand Biblical creation. I recommend starting with the Answers Book 1, 2, and 3 available from Answers in Genesis. Ministries such as Answers in Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research, Creation Ministries International, and many others have thousands of articles, books, DVDs, and other resources available – many for FREE.

Pushing People Out of the Church – Part 5

A while back, I read an article entitled, “8 Ways Christian Fundamentalists Make People Convert — to Agnosticism or Atheism,” published by skeptic Valerie Tarico on the left-wing, anti-religion, news-and-commentary website Alternet.org

While most of the articles on this site are either offensive or just plain silly, this article caught my interest, because it contains some truths that Christians need to understand.

People who reject Jesus Christ ultimately do so because they choose to suppress the truth (Romans 1:18-19). However, there are also many things that those in the church do to push people away. As Tarico states, “if you read ExChristian testimonials you will notice that quite often church leaders or members do things that either trigger the deconversion process or help it along.”

I’ve found that I can often learn a lot by listening to what skeptics say about their perceptions of Christianity. This series looks at the eight reasons Tarico highlights.

Reason #5: Disgusting and Immoral Behavior

The priest abuse scandal did more for the New Atheist movement than outspoken anti-theists like Christopher Hitchens (God is Not Great) , Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) , Sam Harris (The End of Faith ) or Bill Maher (Religulous) ever could. To make matters worse (or better, depending on your point of view) Bill Donohue of the Catholic League seems to be doing everything possible to fan those flames: On top of the abuse itself, followed by cover-ups, he is now insisting that the best defense of church property is a good offense against the victims, and has vowed to fight them “one by one.”

The Freedom from Religion Foundation publishes a bi-monthly newspaper that includes a regular feature: The Black Collar Crime Blotter. It features fraud, drug abuse, sex crimes and more by Protestant as well as Catholic clergy. The obvious purpose is to move readers from religion isn’t true to religion isn’t benign to religion is abhorrent and needs fighting. Moral outrage is a powerful emotion.

The Fallacy of Using Morality as an Argument Against God

answersingenesis.org

For the atheist, life exists purely as the result of chance mutations occurring within a chemical soup. People, trees, bacteria, and frogs are nothing more than complex chemical reactions. Morality is nothing more than just another biochemical process. Within an atheistic worldview, there is no basis for determining value for anything aside from human opinion. Morality cannot logically exist for the atheist. Good and evil cannot possibly exist within a universe that defines everything by chance. In an atheistic belief system, only human preference can define standards of right and wrong and such preferences may shift from person to person and culture to culture. For an atheist to argue that anything is immoral is irrational from an atheistic worldview.

Yet, atheists do believe in absolute morality. They do believe that certain actions are absolutely wrong, and others are absolutely right. Why? Because that’s how reality works. In the real world, absolute right and wrong do exist. The atheist must accept the existence of moral absolutes in order to function in reality, despite the fact that absolute morality cannot logically exist in their worldview.

Morality can only exist if there is an absolute standard of right and wrong. Atheism has no such absolute standard. Such an absolute standard can exist only because the absolute God exists. Atheists cannot acknowledge this; they must believe in absolute morality without acknowledging the Absolute basis for such a belief. Such a belief is irrational and illogical, yet they cling to it, because they refuse to acknowledge God.

Christian Immorality

Although the argument is irrational from the atheistic worldview, Tarico makes a valid point. Immoral behavior by Christians is a serious roadblock for many to receive the Gospel. Although it’s true that many of the examples cited by atheists involve people who aren’t true Christians, many examples do involve true believers. When Christians sin, non-believers notice. And, since all Christians sin, non-believers are going to see Christians do some horrible things.

How should Christians respond to this?

  1. We need to understand that what makes us Christians is not our superior morality. What makes us Christians is reconciliation with God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Our sin separates us from God; the righteousness of Jesus Christ restores our relationship. It’s not our morality; it’s all Jesus. Not only do we need to understand this truth, but we need to make sure both the non-believers and other Christians in our lives understand this as well.
  2. We need to live our lives in obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When we do sin, we need to repent. We need to be transparent about our sin, and sincere in our repentance. Those around us will see our sin; they need to see the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we overcome the sin.
  3. We need to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters, especially those in leadership roles. We need to pray for strength to avoid temptation and sin, and we need to pray for sincere repentance when sin occurs.
  4. We need to hold each other accountable, especially our Christian leaders. When sin becomes known, we need to hold each other accountable for that sin, and for repentance.

Nobody likes a hypocrite. Christians claim that Jesus Christ makes a difference in our lives. When non-believers see Christians embrace sin, it seems reasonable to see the hypocrisy as negation of the claim that Jesus Christ changes lives. We need to be honest about our shortcomings, and absolutely not view sin as acceptable. We need to allow others to see the Holy Spirit working in our lives. We will never be perfect; but when we fall short, we need to humbly do whatever is necessary to remedy the situation.

There are many people, both inside and outside of the church, who are undecided about where they stand in relation to Jesus Christ. Our job is to allow the Holy Spirit to use us to draw people toward Him, not to push people away. How we respond to sin is a major factor in whether we push people away, or draw them toward Jesus Christ.

Pushing People Out of the Church – Part 3

The anti-religion, left-wing, news-and-commentary website Alternet.org published an article by skeptic Valerie Tarico entitled, “8 Ways Christian Fundamentalists Make People Convert — to Agnosticism or Atheism.” While I find most of the articles on this site either offensive or just plain ignorant, this article caught my interest, because it contains some truths that Christians need to understand.

Ultimately, people who reject Jesus Christ do so because they choose to suppress the truth (Romans 1:18-19). However, there are also things that many in the church do to push people away. As Tarico states, “if you read ExChristian testimonials you will notice that quite often church leaders or members do things that either trigger the deconversion process or help it along.”

As a Christian, I can learn a lot by listening to what skeptics say about why people leave the church. This series looks at the eight reasons Tarico highlights.

Tarico’s third reason:

3. Misogyny. For psychological and social reasons females are more inclined toward religious belief than males. They are more likely to attend church services and to insist on raising their children in a faith community. They also appear more indifferent than males to rational critique of religion, like debates about theology or evolutionary biology. I was interested to notice recently that my YouTube channel, Life After Christianity, which focuses on the psychology of religion gets about 80 percent male viewers. Women are the church’s base constituency, but fortunately for atheists, this fact hasn’t caused conservative Christians to back off of sexism that is justified by – you got it – prooftexting from the Old and New Testaments.

Evangelical minister Jim Henderson recently published a book, The Resignation of Eve, in which he urges his fellow Christians to take a hard look at the consequences of sexism in the church. According to Henderson, old-school sexism has driven some women out of Christianity permanently, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For those who stay, it means that many are less enthusiastic and engaged than they would be. Churches rely on women to volunteer in roles that range from secretary to director of children’s programs to missionaries. That takes a high level of confidence in church doctrines and also a strong sense of belonging. Biblical sexism cultivates neither. Between 1991 and 2011 the percent of women attending church in a typical week dropped by 11 points, from 55 to 44 percent.

Definitions

First, let’s define some terms:

Misogyny
is the hatred of women.

Sexism is:

1: prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially
: discrimination against women

2: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

Prooftexting means to pull a Bible passage out of context and to use it to justify a doctrinal position.

Misogyny and sexism in the Bible

Does the Bible promote misogyny, the hatred of women?

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33

There is no verse in the Bible that teaches the hatred of women. God does not hate any person. It is not in His nature to hate people. God hates sin, but loves everyone in the world (John 3:16). Because He loves all people, including women, He has commanded His people to love women, not to hate them.

Does the Bible teach sexism? The answer depends a lot on semantics. The Bible does not teach prejudice or discrimination; nor does it teach stereotyping. It does, however, teach that men and women have different roles and functions within the Church.

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18

To the woman He said:

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.” Genesis 3:16

From the beginning, God created women and men to work together, but with differing roles. Those roles were in perfect harmony until sin entered the world. After the Fall, the roles of men and women changed for the worse, not because of God, but because of human sin.

Many atheists like to point to verses such as Leviticus 21:9, Leviticus 12:2, or Leviticus 15:19-23 to claim that God hates women. First, the atheist does exactly what they accuse Christians of doing when they prooftext – pull passages out of context to support their view. The Old Testament Law was never about making a person acceptable to God, but all about pointing to the need for a Savior. Men and women were uniquely created to be different from, but complementary to, each other. The Fall effected men and women differently – compare Genesis 3:16 and Genesis 3:17-19. As a result, the Law, which is all about demonstrating God’s holiness and our need for Jesus Christ, has variations for men and women.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

God created both men and women in His image. Men and women are of equal value to God. In Jesus Christ, men and women are equally loved, equally valued, equally accepted by God.

And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 1 Timothy 2:12

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:1-5

Again, atheists and skeptics point to these verses, and others like them, to claim the Bible teaches misogyny. The problem is that such an assertion presupposes that differing roles implies superiority, that God values men more than women. This presupposition does not come from the Bible; rather, it is a sinful, man-made idea. One must cherry-pick verses out of context, and ignore other passages completely, to claim the Bible teaches that women’s roles are inferior to men’s roles. Granted, some in the church have done exactly this for centuries; but this doesn’t mean the Bible teaches it.

The Church and Sexism

What should the church’s position be on the roles of women in the church, the family, and society? Tarico is correct when she says that Christians need to take a hard look at the consequences of sexism in the church. Women should never be put down because of their God-given roles; rather, men need to value women above themselves, as Christ valued us above Himself. God created men and women to fill different roles, but human sin has corrupted the harmony and complementary nature of those roles. The church must make sure they are not prooftexting passages about the roles of men and women, but looking at all of Scripture to balance understanding. The Bible clearly teaches that women and men have different roles, and that men are to be the leaders; but, it also says that men are to love women as Christ loves the church. Tarico is correct when she states that misogyny and putting down women is wrong, and drives women from the church. But, she’s wrong in assuming that different God-given roles means that the Bible teaches that men are more important than women.

Is the Bible misogynist? Absolutely not.

Does the Bible teach sexism? In the sense of teaching that men are better than women, absolutely not. But, the Bible absolutely does teach that men and women have different, yet equally valued, God-given roles. Some will ignorantly call this sexism and misogyny. I call it God’s design for balance and diversity. As Christians, we need to make sure we have God’s Biblical perspective on this issue, not mankind’s perspective. If the Church has a correct Biblical view of women, then women will be drawn to the church, not pushed out, because the Church will show God’s love, respect, and honor toward them and their Biblical roles.