The Immorality of Atheism
Text: Romans 1:28-32
I. Atheism is a religion of destruction
A. Its adherents try to destroy the belief system of any contrary belief system
1. It demands proof from others while believing that giving no proof of its own is somehow “proof”
2. As an example, “Prove there is a God” is never met with proof that God cannot exist. An atheist is convinced that he doesn’t have to offer proof, he only desires to tear down others.
II. The Bible teaches that atheism is an immoral system
A. In Romans 1:28-32 is a list of chaotic behavior that comes from a foundation where the knowledge of God is rejected
B. Psalms 14 - To say there is no God leads to corruption, disgusting behavior, and nothing good.
C. In 1929 there was a debate between W. L. Oliphant, a preacher from the Oak Cliff Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas, and Charles Smith, president of the American Association of the Advancement of Atheism.
1. One of the propositions of the debate was whether atheism was beneficial and promoted morality better than any other system.
2. Mr. Oliphant pointed out the Mr. Smith spent his entire time trying to find flaws in Christianity, but was never able to state what good atheism did.
3. Further, he challenged “Mr. Smith to name any principle of morality that I cannot read in the Bible. Let him mention any virtue he may think of, and I will read it in this Book – the Christian’s standard of life.” [F. L. Rowe, Oliphant - Smith Debate, 1929]
4. Mr. Smith admitted he could not name one, but he claimed that it was because you could prove most anything by the Bible.
III. The morality of Christian teaching - just a sample
A. Avoid hatred - Matthew 5:21-22
B. Reconcile - Matthew 5:24
C. Love enemies - Matthew 5:44
D. Don’t lust - Matthew 5:28
E. Avoid worry - Matthew 6:25, 29
F. No unfair judgments - Matthew 7:1-2
G. Examine self first - Matthew 7:3-5
H. Seek to forgive - Mark 11:25
I. Humility - Luke 14:11
J. Truth is the basis of freedom - John 8:32
K. Benevolence - Acts 20:35
L. Affection and unselfishness - Romans 12:10
M. Righteous behavior - Romans 12:17
N. No personal vengeance - Romans 12:18-19
O. Respect for government - Romans 13:1-7
P. Thrift and industry - Ephesians 4:28
Q. Equality of men - James 2:1-4
R. As Paul noted, no one is against the product of Christianity - Galatians 5:22-23
IV. The morality of Christian followers
A. Are there people who claim to be Christians who act immorally? Most certainly.
B. Have there been evil done in the name of Christianity? Most certainly
C. Witch Trials
1. The Salem witch trials, which took place in 1692 for about a year. It lead to 150 people put in imprison and 16 people put to death. If you add in the people killed prior to 1692, though not officially a part of the Salem witch hunts, there was an additional 19 people killed. A total of 35 deaths. A few years later, in 1697 the judge in those trials confessed his guilt in ordering those deaths and imprisonments. It was a shameful act, that eventually was rectified as best as could be done.
2. Europe was worse, estimates are that 30,000 people were killed for practicing witchcraft over a 300 year period. [http://www.newscholars.com/papers/Killing,%20Christianity,%20and%20Atheism.pdf]
1. There were several inquisitions that covered a 500 year period. Records are poor at best, but the best estimates are that about 6,000 people were killed in that 500 year period. The most famous, the Spanish Inquisition lead to the deaths of about 2,000 people.
2. These eventually lead to formal admission of guilt by Catholic leaders and a repudiation of what was done.
E. The Crusades
1. Again, there are no statistics and the estimates vary widely depending on the motives of the ones giving the numbers.
2. It lasted about 200 years. One estimate is between 58,000 and 133,000 people died in the battles. [http://www.newscholars.com/papers/Killing,%20Christianity,%20and%20Atheism.pdf]
F. One historian estimates that 133 million people were killed in wars prior to 1900. And 128 million have been killed since then. [R. J. Rummel, Death by Government,
1. 62 million by the Soviets
2. 35 million by Communist China
3. 21 million by the Nazis
4. 10 million by The Depraved Nationalist Regime (China)
5. 6 million by Japan’s military
6. 2 million by the Khmer Rouge State
7. 1.9 million by Turkey’s genocidal purges
8. 1.7 million by Vietnamese War
G. More people were killed by governments supporting atheism than any religious based war. Notice that Christianity was not behind these mega-deaths.
H. The conclusion is that Christianity, while not able to completely stop atrocities, puts on major breaks against mass killings.
V. A thought to consider
A. It’s late at night and you are walking down the streets of a major city. You see a a group of 10 young men coming toward you. How would you feel? A bit nervous, scared?
1. What if you then noticed they were carrying Bibles because they just came out of a study?
2. Suddenly relieved? Why?
B. There is something about Christian teaching that brings better behavior out of people - Matthew 7:12