I heard an atheist on the radio and his closing statement was, "What the world needs is more atheists." (Lest I be misunderstood, let me state clearly that I believe any man has the right to be an atheist if he so chooses.) I mulled his statement over in my mind for quite a while and here are some of my thoughts. 

I have read of many Christians, past and present, whose lives have been changed for the better. I have personally known or heard testimonies of many who testify that Jesus Christ has brought about dramatic changes in their lives. I enjoy listening to a radio program called "Unshackled," produced by Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. Thousands of these programs have been produced that dramatize the life of a person that has been changed through faith in Jesus Christ. But, I don't recall ever reading or hearing one person who said atheism had changed his life for the better. 

I have personally watched Christians meet death without fear and with eager anticipation of greater things to come. On the other hand, when I was a young man there was a good man in our neighborhood who was a self-avowed atheist. He would often joke about Jonah swallowing the whale. It was said that when he died he had to be held on the bed.

I have seen Catholic hospitals, Methodist hospitals, Baptist hospitals, Seventh Day Adventist hospitals, and Jewish hospitals, but I have never seen even one atheist hospital.

There are scores of "Christian" agencies that bring help to the hurting, whether it is feeding the homeless, running orphanages, visiting jails, or bringing disaster relief. I am not aware of a single atheist agency whose purpose is to help the hurting.

In his book, In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Howard Rutledge, a Navy pilot, tells of spending seven years as a POW in North Vietnam. In this touching book he describes the torture he received and the loneliness he endured from years in solitary confinement. He, and his fellow prisoners, found strength and comfort in their faith in Christ and in the Bible verses and hymns they could remember. I don't recall hearing of a prisoner of war receiving strength and comfort from his atheism.
When I think of atheism I automatically think of some atheist professor in a public university who has a personal agenda to destroy the faith of any Christian who might have the unfortunate experience of being in his class. That seems to be their strong suit, spreading their atheism to young impressionable minds. Surely then atheism must have made a huge contribution in the area of establishing institutions of higher learning.

Eight of the nine colleges founded in America before the War of Independence in 1776 were begun for the furtherance of Christian education.

        Harvard, the oldest university in America, was founded in 1636 by Puritans.
        The College of William and Mary was founded in 1693 by Anglicans.
        Yale was founded in 1701 by Congregationalists.
        Princeton University (the College of New Jersey) was founded in 1747 by Presbyterians.
        Columbia University (King's College) was founded in 1754 by Anglicans.
        Brown University (Rhode Island College) was founded in 1764 by Baptists.
        Rutgers (Queen's College) was established in 1766 by Dutch Reformed.
        Dartmouth College was founded in 1769 by Congregationalists.1

I searched the internet and found at least 220 Christian colleges and universities in the United States. Ever hear of an atheist university? I doubt it, because atheists usually do their teaching in state universities. Public colleges and universities are supported by the taxes paid by the general public, yet atheists have free reign to teach whatever they like while Christians are often castigated and sometimes fired for teaching their convictions. 

Atheists remind me of the European Cuckoo, a brood parasite. The cuckoo does not build its own nest but lays an egg in the nest of another bird. When the cuckoo egg hatches, the young cuckoo expels all of the other hatchlings and eggs from the nest, leaving the foster parents free to devote all of their time trying to keep up with the voracious appetite of a bird that usually grows much larger than the host adults long before it can care for itself. Atheists do not seem to be very good at starting things, they seem to be much better at taking over what someone else has begun.

How about great classical music? For example, George Frederick Handel's oratorio "Messiah," first performed 263 years ago. ("Oratorio means 'oratory by music.' Oratorios were originally designed to educate people in significant portions of the Bible. They date back to the time when Bibles were so expensive that few could afford them, and of the few who could, fewer still were sufficiently educated to be able to read them. To overcome the barriers of ignorance, or unavailability of the Scriptures, the great texts of the Bible were put to music, and men were taught to learn and sing them."2) Ever hear of atheism inspiring anything even close to Handel's "Messiah"?

Johann Sebestian Bach, considered by many people to have been the greatest composer in the history of Western music, composed "Christian" music. During one five year period of his life he wrote a cantata a week for his church! He died "in the sixty-fifth year of his life, yielding up his blessed soul to his Savior." Has atheism ever inspired such a man?

"Da Vinci's Last Supper" has become one of the most widely appreciated masterpieces in the world. It began to acquire its unique reputation immediately after it was finished in 1498 and its prestige has never diminished. Despite the many changes in tastes, artistic styles, and rapid physical deterioration of the painting itself, the painting's status as an extraordinary creation has never been questioned nor doubted."3 Have you seen any great works of art lately that have been inspired by atheism?

How about Michelangelo's painting on the Sistine Chapel or his sculpture of David or his Pieta? Over sixty of Rembrandt's paintings were on biblical themes. Shakespeare quoted or alluded to hundreds of Scriptures in his plays. How about John Bunyan's classic Pilgrim's Progress? Where are the atheistic classic counterparts?

The United States was founded on a belief in God. The Soviet Union was founded on atheism. Did you notice any difference between the two?

I could go on but I have run out of space. I think you get the picture. Does the world need more atheists? I will answer with another question, "Why?"

1 United States History: Heritage of Freedom. Second Edition, (A Beka Books, Pensacola Christian College, 2002)
2 Mansfield, H.P.: from his booklet entitled "The Gospel in Song."
3 Bianco, Luigi, on website ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~lbianco/project/home.html.


by Raymond McAlister
March 2005