Thursday, June 18, 2009


Over the last 2 or 3 years I have noticed more people describing themselves as atheists. Hardly a revival, but a definite increase. My experience before that tended to be that people described themselves as 'not religious', 'agnostic' or some kind of 'don't know'.

Perhaps some of this could be ascribed to a Dawkins effect - someone who has championed the cause of atheism, and therefore given people the confidence to own that label. It may be that other people have been pushed in that direction by the phenomenon of religious extremism. Still other may have problems with Christian pronouncements on many issues seeming increasingly at odds with the understanding in the world at large.

Just before the theists amongst us despair, perhaps it's worth asking what is meant by 'atheist'. For some, it will represent a clear philosophically argued case for the non-existence of anything divine or transcendent. For other people, it may well represent a rejection of what has been presented to them as 'God' rather than a rejection of the possibility of there being a God.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with the idea (and I can't remember the source) which suggests that a rejection of a false image of God is, in fact, a step towards the true one. However, it is worth asking what sort of God do believers present to the world at large, and how responsible are Christians and others for what seems to be an increasingly active rejection of the idea of God at all.

No comments: