Atheism & Salvation (From my wee eBook Why I Am Not An Atheist)
Having seen that Atheism is the belief that God does not exist and that Atheism forms a life and world view from this presupposition, and that it is this Atheist life and worldview that we are calling the Atheist religion, and as such this Atheistic religion is deficient in that it has no moral grounding, and that on account of the fall of mankind the whole human race is Atheistic, we are now ready to consider how we might, in this life, escape our present demise.
Atheism portrays Christianity as a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” type of a religion. This is attested to by the 2008 Atheist Bus Campaign in England which involved double-decker buses with the following words written on their sides, “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and start enjoying life.” Apparently the idea is that some people might be too worried God might be looking over their shoulders to enjoy life. No one likes to look in their rear-view mirror and seeing a police car tailing them – even when innocent! But is this the God of the Bible?
It should be noted that it is the Atheist version of God that is being portrayed here. Suddenly their “flying spaghetti monster” has flown out of the window here and has been replaced by a version of God slightly more in line with what the Bible teaches. Yes, the God of the Bible claims He will ultimately judge each one of us. For example, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 (cf. Acts 17:31). However, this does not mean that the Christian does not or cannot enjoy life on account of God. Truth be known, the Atheist Bus Campaign advert is the polar opposite to the teaching of the Bible! It is as Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b.
The Bible-believing Christian has been set free by God from worrying about whether they are good enough for God. How? We have already noted that the Bible has already told us that none of us is good enough (e.g., Romans 3:12; 23), and that we do not get right with God by trying to be good. Hence the “stop worrying” statement on the side of the Atheist bus. To be sure, the Atheist is correct. It would be a very worrying state to be in, not knowing if you have done enough good to please God. Indeed, the notion that we have to earn our place in Heaven is part of our human make-up! However, we have already established that the Bible teaches us that there is something inherently wrong with each of us.
Humanity has been corrupted (1 Corinthians 15:42), and an aspect of this corruption is that we think that God will be pleased with us if we do some “good deeds.” However, Isaiah speaks for fallen humanity when he says, “We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6. Therefore, the Atheist is correct. We should stop worrying about whether we have done enough “good deeds” because that is not how we get right with God!
The true Christian enjoys life because he/she has been set free from, a) Trying hard all his/her life to ignore God (as does the Atheist!) and b) Trying to be good enough for God. The Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1a. No condemnation means no judgment for the Christian. Therefore, the Christian is free to get on with enjoying this life!
Indeed, the Christian enjoys bringing glory to God in all things. “Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31. To be sure, this is not the Atheist’s idea of enjoying life but it is the Christian idea!
God is not Santa Claus. As fallen human beings we do not receive the reward of everlasting life by trying to be nice not naughty! That way of salvation is closed to us. The Bible teaches that God grants everlasting life to those who keep on believing in Jesus Christ and His works.
Summary: Atheism, like the rest of fallen humanity, has a faulty view of salvation.