If you’ve spent any time in evangelicalism, you’ve most certainly heard the narrative that atheists are fools, bad people, bitter people. Atheists are nihilists without a moral code.
We need to stop.
It’s hurtful. It’s false. It’s a lie. It reflects poorly on the God that we worship when we say this nonsense.
Atheists are the villains in our narratives.
Chances are, I’m not the only one who’s heard the urban legends of the Conservative Evangelical Christian who goes to university to be attacked for his faith by his Atheist professor.
Just watch any recent Kevin Sorbo movie where he’s probably playing the evil atheist whose primary goal in life is to destroy the faith of all good Christians who happen across his path.
Conservative Evangelical Christians* love this narrative. It helps them feel secure in this lie that the “good” people exist solely within their safe little Christian bubble. The “bad” people are the ones sitting outside.
So when a Conservative Evangelical Christian leaves that safe bubble and runs into someone (like the feared atheist) who challenges their faith, they feel threatened. They may even call that insecure feeling “persecution” because all their narrative has taught them is that atheists live to attack the Christian faith. How else could they interpret that feeling of discomfort?
Suddenly, we find ourselves in an Us Vs. Them situation.
And that’s a problem.
Go through the gospels. Who is the one group that Christ continually butted heads with? It wasn’t the Atheists. It wasn’t even nonbelievers. It was the religious leadership of that day who abused their people.
This “the Atheists are out to get us!” BS is nothing but a smokescreen.
Let’s look at ourselves. Let’s look at the church. If we’re really concerned about “bad” people, it’s not hard to find those people within Conservative Evangelicalism who actually are bad people; those who abuse their power in the church to steal from their parishioners or to hurt them. Predators. Groomers. Bullies.
These are, sadly, very easy people to find. You’ve probably, knowingly or unknowingly, met these people. Learned from them. Sat under their leadership. Worshipped beside them on Sunday morning.
Yet the finger pointing remains firmly on those outside the “safe bubble”.
What is wrong with this picture?
*and before anyone chimes in with #notallevangelicals or #notallchristians, yes I know and I agree. But that misses my point entirely.