If you were to go on YouTube or Facebook, you would see a largely atheist presence. Go on any YouTube video about Christianity or atheism, and you will find the most vile attacks on Christianity from atheists. They seem to outnumber Christians comments. I’ve even seen a video once (it’s taken down by now, I think), where a vicious atheist claims victory, only by the sheer numbers of pro-atheist comments he’s seen on his own videos and the number of likes his videos have received. But are these a good gauge of the influence of Christianity vs. the influence of atheism? What is the reality?
According to a recent Gallup poll I looked up to research this post, 77% of the US identified as Christian (despite our current President saying that we “are no longer a Christian nation”), while 2.4% say they are atheist. Something seems wrong to me. The atheists are often saying that their arguments are winning, that Christians are leaving churches in droves. They say that in a matter of time, Christianity will be outmoded by atheist philosophy. I disagree. They are still a small segment of the population, and they can push us out of the “public square” all they like. Many other hostile groups have tried the same, and instead of Christianity dwindling, it has thrived.
So, why is it different online? Why do we appear to see a trend towards atheism? To be honest, I think the “trend” is a myth. I think what’s really going on is that these people see the advantage of the anonymity that the Internet gives them. They can say things they wouldn’t dare say in public. You can troll all you like. No one will hunt you down.
Some atheists, however, will acknowledge that they are in the minority and say they are being oppressed, that they must accept Christianity in order to conform. If you are saying this as an American, that doesn’t work. That is a lie. The US constitution gives you the right to choose any religion you please, even none at all. (Personally, I believe the words of Rush’s song “Free Will”: “If you choose not to decide/You still have made a choice”.) Atheism is a system of beliefs, even with the absence of a deity.) Just because you are not the majority does not mean you are oppressed. No one is forcing you to become a Christian. In fact, Christian doctrine forbids forcing its beliefs on others. God is love. As Saint Paul points out in Corinthians, Love does not force itself on others. It is freely given, and freely accepted. If you truly wish to experience oppression by religion and be forced to accept a faith you do not wish to practice, go to any Islamic country. ISIS, for instance, is violently forcing Christians to believe the Islamic faith or face death. I am sure there are atheists who are suffering the same fate. That is the difference between being outnumbered (but still free to choose not to believe in God) and being oppressed into belief.
Now, please understand. I am not acting like the atheist I described at the beginning of this article. I am not saying that we Christians have won. We have not won until the Devil’s forces have been defeated. I do not seek victory against the atheist. That is not my fight. But I wish some militant atheists would stop acting as though they are winning the Internet and Christians are not welcome. The Internet should be a free exchange of ideas, both religious and secular. We should act in that fashion.