Let’s begin with an outlandish claim: Christians are atheists. We want to add to the new generation of atheists that have arrived on the scene, i.e. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, et al, a new and unique category of atheistic persons: Christians. How can such a claim be substantiated? Aren’t Christians supposed to be theists? That depends on your definition of theism and atheism. Christians are theists if you mean by that term a belief in a creator, sovereign God who is personally involved in creation. However, if you’re counting on Christians resting their faith on ‘all things that are not god’ then Christians can rightly be labeled atheists. In other words, there are some things Christians do not believe in. The claim that Christians are atheists is not new, however.

The argument for Christianity on the basis of a specific definition of atheism finds it roots in the second century. In fact, it was used by one of the first Christian apologists of the church, Justin Martyr (A.D 100 – A.D. 165). Let me explain. One of the charges against the early church was that Christians were atheists because ‘they did not believe in the gods of the time.’ Christians rejected belief in the pantheon of gods of the ancient world in favor of belief in the One, True God. When Justin Martyr was making his defense of Christianity before the Roman Emperor, Titus Aelius Adrianus Antonius Pius Augustus Caesar (b. AD 86 – d. 161) who ruled Rome from AD 138 – 161, he used a novel form of the atheistic argument that captured the essence of Christianity in succinct terms.

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