I Was a Christian, Now I’m an Atheist – Say What?

If you are like me and you find enjoyment listening to debates between Christian and atheist scholars, then you no doubt have heard on multiple occasions something like the following:

 

“Yes, Mr. Moderator, I was a Christian until the age of 24. And then I slowly came to the conclusion that faith was not reasonable, the Bible was full of contradictions, the God of the Old Testament committed genocide, and the problem of evil was bigger than God. So the only intellectually honest thing for me to do was to reject my faith and become an atheist.”

 

Upon hearing such proclamations, the obvious question is if it’s actually possible for an atheist to have once been a Christian.

 

Here is the Problem:
Salvation is more than a work of man. It is not just our belief in Jesus, our intellectual assent to the propositions of the Bible, and certainly not just our feelings. Salvation is, at a fundamental level, a supernatural act. An act of grace by God, on our behalf, that literally changes our heart (whether this happens before belief or right after is not the issue here).

 

For example, in Ezekiel 36:26 we see that God changes the heart of “stone” to a heart of “flesh”. And we see in John 3 Jesus teach on the necessity of the born again heart (regeneration). Both of these examples, and there are many more, reveal to us that salvation is more than just a work of man. We can’t “born” our hearts again; we can’t change our hearts from “stone” to “flesh”. A work of God is necessary.

 

Therefore, for one to claim that they were a Christian is to acknowledge that they were a recipient of a supernatural work of God in their heart. It is to acknowledge that they had a heart transformed from “stone” to “flesh”; that their heart was born again.

 

This can be clearly understood as follows:

  • Salvation involves a work of God.
  • I was saved.
  • Therefore, I was the recipient of a work of God – a new heart.

 

Now, if they later decide that they aren’t a Christian, but an atheist, they are left with a serious philosophical problem. How do they account for their regenerated heart?

 

Since God doesn’t exist for them any longer, they certainly can’t claim that God regenerated their heart; replaced their heart of stone with one of flesh.

 

The only tenable solution they have is to explain away their Christianity as merely an experience, a feeling, decision, or a cultural relic from which they finally escaped. But this is not Biblical Christianity.

 

Foundationally, Biblical Christianity isn’t an experience, a feeling, a decision or a cultural relic. As we said, it is a supernatural work of God on one’s heart. So whatever the atheist may have been, it certainly wasn’t a Christian in any Biblical sense.

 

Finally, if God does not exist, Biblical Christianity does not exist. It is an illusion, a scam.

It is absurd, then, to ever claim to have been a Christian while now denying the very existence of the Being needed for Biblical Christianity to exist in the first place.

 

2 thoughts on “I Was a Christian, Now I’m an Atheist – Say What?

  1. IN RESPONSE TO Kit Barker…

    I agree. One who has been regenerated cannot and will not become an atheist.

    And the type of disillusionment you speak of certainly takes it toll on believers. However, I don’t think the blame is to be found within one’s church.

    The source of our understanding and relationship with God is Scripture and the Holy Spirit, not church. Church (and pastors) can facilitate and aid those sources, but it should never take their place. If it does, disillusionment will come quickly and easily.

    Moreover, Jesus wasn’t disillusioned in the Father and the Gospel in spite of the failures of the church He instituted (see Revelation). So, why should we?

  2. Nice post. I think you’re answering the wrong question though. I think
    the better question is “can a Christian ever really become an
    atheist?”

    I think the answer here is no, they can’t. People can become
    disillusioned and angry with God for many reasons, but more often than
    not, they become disillusioned and angry at their church’s depiction
    of God, rather than God himself.

    This can then lead to people proclaiming that they’re no longer a
    Christian but really they’re just in denial due to their upset and
    hurt. Their reasons about the bible being full of contradictions etc
    are ways of hiding the truth that they’re hurting badly.

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