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It is not unusual for me to have the opportunity to have a discussion on various social media platforms with people who claim to be Atheists. These discussions are rarely, in most people’s view, actual discussions about religion. The closest they come is when one of them begins to attack the Bible or the Christian faith in general. Most of the discussions are actually on topics related to current events; such as abortion, sexual morality, climate change, evolution, and other topics of that sort.
In almost every case, the discussions begin by dealing with some political issue; that is, some topic that, on the surface, isn’t generally considered a religious topic at all. But the truth is, every one of those discussions are about religion – even if it doesn’t seem like it.
The reason for the confusion is that most people have a preconceived idea of what constitutes religion, and politics is not included in that definition. For most people, religion is looked at as some form of organized system of faith and worship. But that is not a good definition – or is, at the very least, incomplete. Religion is, in its essence, a faith system, and there are religions that exist without an organized system of doctrine and worship. Atheism is one of those systems. As a naturalistic faith, religious expression takes on an entirely different form than the commonly held preconceived ideas.
Politics is a religious expression in Naturalism. In Atheism, the most foundational tenet of faith is the belief that the natural universe is all that exists, and that man is nothing more than a natural animal with a highly evolved brain. As such, Atheists believe that there is no God, or any such thing as objective morality. Thus, human beings have to make up morality for themselves. There is no empirical basis for this belief (which Naturalism actually requires), so this foundational dogma must be believed by faith.
So, when Naturalists begin talking about various political issues based on their naturalistic philosophy, they are making religious pronouncements. They are expressing their moral beliefs based on their naturalistic faith.
Christians are sometimes discouraged from pushing back against political pronouncements that express non-Christian or anti-Christian beliefs. In fact, they are sometimes even chided for discussing politics at all; all this based on the idea that we should be talking about and sharing our faith, rather than talking politics. But when talking to an Atheist, political conversations are faith conversations. And sometimes in order to bridge the gap between naturalistic faith and Christian faith, it is necessary to start where they are. We just have to be careful not to forget to bridge the gap.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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