“Atheists for Jesus”

Opinion by Jim Denney

RichardDawkins1

Richard Dawkins in Austin, Texas, 2008; photo by Shane Pope, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

I believe that if everyone in the world would live out the Sermon on the Mount (the words of Jesus in Matthew chapters 5 through 7) 95 percent of the world’s problems would be solved.

It might surprise you to know that even super-atheist Richard Dawkins admires Jesus and his Sermon on the Mount. In The God Delusion, Dawkins wrote, “Jesus, if he existed . . . was surely one of the great ethical innovators of history. The Sermon on the Mount is way ahead of its time. His ‘turn the other cheek’ anticipated Gandhi and Martin Luther King by two thousand years.” [Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), 283.]

And in Science in the Soul, Dawkins suggested that atheists should wear T-shirts with the slogan “Atheists for Jesus.” He added that if Jesus were walking the Earth today, he would wear such a T-shirt because “he would be appalled at what is being done in his name by Christians ranging from the Catholic Church with its vast and ostentatious wealth to the fundamentalist religious right. . . . But of course, modesty would compel him to turn his T-shirt around: ‘Jesus for Atheists.’” [Richard Dawkins, Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist (New York: Random House, 2017), 279-280.]

I don’t agree with Richard Dawkins on very much, but I do agree with him on this: Jesus is for all people — weak and strong, young and old, male and female, believer and nonbeliever. The one who said “Love your enemies,” the one who forgave those who crucified him, would certainly have a heart of compassion for atheists.

Jesus would not be for atheism, of course, because atheism doesn’t square with reality and the truth about God. Jesus would want everyone to know the truth that God is real, that God is love, and that Jesus himself is the way, the truth, and the life, and the only way to God the Father (see John 14:6).

Jesus welcomes everyone. He welcomed the Samaritan woman at the well, the Roman centurion, the woman caught in adultery, the tax collector, the rich and the poor, the drunks and prostitutes. He welcomes me and he welcomes you. So yes, without question, Jesus is for atheists, too.

Of course, Jesus loves atheists too much to leave them in their atheism, just as he loves us sinners too much to leave us in our sin. So while the good news is that Jesus is for atheists, the extra-good news is that once an atheist receives what Jesus has to offer, that atheist must by definition cease to be an atheist. As the apostle Paul wrote:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

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Note: Don’t miss my interviews with Christian romance writer Robin Lee Hatcher (author of Who I Am With You and An Idaho Christmas: Past and Present), and Christian science fiction writer Kerry Nietz (author of Amish Vampires in Space and Fraught). Visit my website at Writing in Overdrive. See you there!

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Note: Battle Before Time, the first book in my newly revised and updated Timebenders series for young readers, has been released in paperback. Click this link to learn more.

And if you’d like to learn more about how to write faster, more freely, and more brilliantly than you ever thought possible, read my book Writing In Overdrive, available in paperback and ebook editions at Amazon.com. —J.D.

 

Jim Denney also blogs at Writing in Overdrive and Walt’s Disneyland

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