Why are some Christians threatened by Atheists?

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  1. M. T. Dremer profile image87
    M. T. Dremerposted 10 years ago

    Why are some Christians threatened by Atheists?

    Atheists are not a particularly large or unified group, so why is there this impression (in religious media and discussion groups) that atheists are a threat? Usually it comes in the form of questions like "why are atheists so mean?" or "why do they hate god/christians?". Are we a scapegoat or are we a physical representation of their doubts that must be squashed out to justify their beliefs? I'm not trying to be confrontational with this question, I just can't see atheists as a threat to anybody, so it confuses me to see them painted as villains.

  2. Georgie Lowery profile image92
    Georgie Loweryposted 10 years ago

    As an atheist, the only thing I'm really a threat to is Doritos.

    Seriously, though, for one - people are distrustful of things they don't, can't or won't understand. We also sometimes feel threatened by things that are so majorly different from us. I think what some folks are really thinking when they ask those questions you mentioned is "What is wrong with atheists that they can't or won't believe?"

    There's nothing wrong with me (when it comes to my choice to be an atheist), but there are lots of folks who automatically think I'm evil or bad or I'm going to do something awful to them or they're going to burn in a fiery pit for associating with me. Whatever.

    I think you may have something with "Are we a scapegoat or are we a physical representation of their doubts that must be squashed out to justify their beliefs?" Because I don't believe, I am a threat (maybe subconsciously) to their basic belief system. Or, maybe I'm just confusing because some religious people can't fathom why people like me can't accept faith/God(s)/religion in general.

    I'm finding that "atheist" is more of a dirty word than ever - I guess some folks just want somebody to hate. In my experience, I'd be more inclined to ask "Why are some Christians so mean to me?"

    1. M. T. Dremer profile image87
      M. T. Dremerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I think all adults have doubts in their faith so, in that regard, atheists are kind of an enigma. Christians in particular might wonder how we got out, or why we felt the need to. Religion is a fascinating subject when we can take a step back from it

  3. duffsmom profile image61
    duffsmomposted 10 years ago

    You wrote:  Are we a scapegoat or are we a physical representation of their doubts that must be squashed out to justify their beliefs?

    Written like that it does sound confrontational. 

    I can only speak for myself.  Atheists don't threaten me. I think what bothers me is when "some" atheists approach religion with the spoken attitude that we (meaning Christians) are obviously delusional or foolish to have our beliefs.  I would never say that to an atheist. I might disagree with what they do or do not believe but by no means would I confront them or intimate they are foolish for their beliefs. I have not walked a mile in their shoes so I will simply agree to disagree with their stand.

    1. M. T. Dremer profile image87
      M. T. Dremerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      You're right, I think I did word it more controversially than I intended. And there are certainly some atheists who take it too far. Thank you for your thoughtful response.

  4. Lady Guinevere profile image71
    Lady Guinevereposted 10 years ago

    I am not an atheist and I have Christians threaten me.

    1. M. T. Dremer profile image87
      M. T. Dremerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I'm sorry you have had that experience. Harassment from any group is entirely counter-productive.

  5. chef-de-jour profile image96
    chef-de-jourposted 10 years ago

    As an atheist, but not a devout one, I do find it a little odd that individuals following the ways of someone like Jesus Christ can feel threatened by a fellow human who has no belief in an omnipotent or any other kind of overseeing God. Atheists are not by default anti-Christian? But then, looking at it logically, isn't one of the tenets of Christianity 'If you are not with me, you are against me?'. Which kind of makes the situation black and white and a tad puzzling.
    So, whilst I'm certain the vast majority of Christians are peace loving, tolerant personalities, a statement like the one above could confuse those who naturally tend to be a little zealous, and this zealousness occasionally projects onto the innocent atheist!? The majority of atheists in my experience are in no way anti-Christian, so the perceived threat is hollow.

    1. Georgie Lowery profile image92
      Georgie Loweryposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I think a lot of people do confuse atheist and anti-theists. All anti-theists are atheists, but not all atheists are anti-theists. It's like a twisted logic problem.

    2. M. T. Dremer profile image87
      M. T. Dremerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I think with religion, the rejection of those outside their group is present to some degree because it's a survival mechanism. Atheists might have it to some degree, but Georgie is right that there is a confusion between anti-theists and atheists.

    3. Billie Kelpin profile image86
      Billie Kelpinposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      EXACTLY, Chef-de-jour.  I worked with two dear colleagues who were atheists, and yet their actions toward others were precisely as Christ taught.  Some of the atheists I know are extremely "Christian" in the world and I try to be among them.

  6. TerryK81 profile image62
    TerryK81posted 10 years ago

    A true Christian will not be threatened by those who deny the very existence and power of God; if they are feeling threatened, then they need to get with God and pray very earnestly for strengthening of faith, and also how to handle that situation.
    No offense, but these atheists? Are they even SURE that they are atheists? Because this seems more like evolutionists here. Evolutionists deny God period. They believe we evolved from primates or some big bang? No one evolved. life, cells, blood clots, the human eye and brain, memory, universal morality concept....far too great for a magical boom. Besides, they claim an explosion, then we happened to appear by chance. where'd the energy and matter for that to happen come from? For even a brain to evolve and have the functions we know it has, how did evolution know what a brain looked like and that it needed one and whathow it worked and to go on your shoulders and inside your cranium?
    Atheists sadly are very skeptical. Why is it that people can believe in santa claus (not the fake at the mall, but the "supposed" real one) who is not real and they have never seen, but yet they cannot believe in God whom they have not seen physically either, but clearly He exists.

    1. Georgie Lowery profile image92
      Georgie Loweryposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Terry, I don't think Santa Clause is a good analogy. He's just for kids. There really aren't any sane adults waiting for him to come down the chimney on Christmas. At least I hope not, or I've been doing it wrong for 41 years!

    2. M. T. Dremer profile image87
      M. T. Dremerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I think one could be both an atheist and an evolutionist. But in terms like the human eye and the brain, we cannot assume that they are perfect as they are now. An eagle's eye is better than a human eye, so we are far from perfect machines.

    3. TerryK81 profile image62
      TerryK81posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      maybe. but in the same, people mention him to their kids, knowing he isnt real. And there are some big kids out there lol

    4. CynthiAnn profile image61
      CynthiAnnposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Terry, I think your first paragraph gave a good answer to what you think of the question. I personally do not think the rest of your response was necessary to the question asked. It's also not always clear to people that God exists.

  7. followthestray profile image90
    followthestrayposted 10 years ago

    The first thing I thought about when I read this question was Kanye West & Jay-Z's song "No Church in the Wild," in particular Frank Ocean's Hook:

    Human beings in a mob.
    What's a mob to a king?
    What's a king to a God?
    What's a God to a non-believer,
    who don't believe in anything?

    I think in those few lines you have your answers.  While faith and spirituality can be powerful tools for people to live fulfilling and joyful lives--religion has been historically used as a means to control people.  Some Christians are threatened by Atheists because in a game of rock, paper, scissors Christians are the rock and Atheists are the paper.  They can't beat them, they can't control them, they can't make them see things as they do. 

    If it isn't the need for control and domination then it comes to the age old fear of hating anything that's different.  Perhaps some Christians believe that Atheists are the ones who hate them and attack out of defensiveness (and visa versa).  Perhaps the aggression comes from simply not understanding. 

    In addition to that, for true Christians, the fear may not be of Atheists themselves--but rather what Christians believes will be the fate of all people who do not accept Christ.  They fear that those who are not saved will be sent to Hell when they die, where their soul cannot be redeemed.  Whether or not Atheists believe it, doesn't change that Christians really do believe this and are passionate about saving as many souls as they can. 

    So, in short, Christians are threatened by 3 general things when it comes to Atheists; (1) Atheists cannot be controlled, (2) Christians do not understand Atheists and/or feel Atheists do not understand or respect them, (3) Christians fear for the salvation of Atheists' souls.

    1. M. T. Dremer profile image87
      M. T. Dremerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Well said; thank you for your thoughts.

  8. CynthiAnn profile image61
    CynthiAnnposted 10 years ago

    I attended Indiana Wesleyan University during my college years and I actually never once heard anyone around there claim that atheists are a threat to Christianity. I am a Christ-follower and I believe fullheartedly each and every person (whether Christian or not) has a purpose in this life. As humans, we all should treat each other with the same respect as we would like treated. Sure, Paul does throw caution to the wind about who you hang around with, but that is more in reference of making sure you are able to resist the temptations of what you know to be "sin" or wrong. I mean, Jesus surrounded Himself around prostitutes and others that the church viewed as unholy, so we should also treat those whom we may not share the same morals or beliefs with the same love and respect we would share with our own.
    It goes the same for any "religion" or system of beliefs. Most people start out with basic preconceptions of the different religions they do not themselves follow. If they do not take the initiative to dive deeper into theology and religion to learn more about each, those initial preconceptions play a big part on how people react in social settings. When people feel "threatened" by another religion (or viewpoint) it is because they feel insecure with their own.
    However, people may find atheism a threat because in a crowded room a person that does not believe in anything may be more likely to pull a gun and shoot everyone than someone that believes that leading a peaceful, good life will give them a ticket to forever in paradise. Then of course you have terrorists that kill others for the sake of their religion, so I would say those people are a bigger threat than anyone else.

    1. M. T. Dremer profile image87
      M. T. Dremerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      You're right; people most likely to feel threatened are those insecure in their own beliefs. However I would argue against the idea that a nonbeliever is more dangerous. Pulling a trigger comes from radical beliefs, not a lack of them.

    2. CynthiAnn profile image61
      CynthiAnnposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I personally don't think that someone without a belief system is more dangerous. "Some" people may though, I've heard it insinuated before.  Really the most dangerous people are the ones that have a lack of respect for life, others, and themselves.

  9. Ceegen profile image68
    Ceegenposted 10 years ago

    I'm not threatened by atheists, I just can't understand how atheists can reject a God who literally died for our sins, so we can more easily be forgiven.

    1. CynthiAnn profile image61
      CynthiAnnposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      If you turn that around though, some people can't understand how we Christians base our entire beliefs on Faith and Hope rather than something "tangible".

    2. M. T. Dremer profile image87
      M. T. Dremerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      One cannot reject what one cannot see. You're not rejecting Zeus just because you don't believe in him.

    3. Ceegen profile image68
      Ceegenposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      But it's our fault. We can't blame anyone but ourselves for the mess we're in. I think that alone speaks volumes, that in the entire history of humankind we've only learned how to better kill each other.

      Sad, really.

  10. cat on a soapbox profile image96
    cat on a soapboxposted 10 years ago

    I am no more threatened by Atheists than Atheists are threatened by Christians.

  11. Billie Kelpin profile image86
    Billie Kelpinposted 10 years ago

    Sometimes I sense that "believers" seem more "sad" for us than threatened.  My friends especially would like me to have the peace they have. I don't want that peace.  I think they might feel as if they have a gift to offer that we are refusing, and if we only UNDERSTOOD that gift, we would want to accept it. What many Christians don't realize is that many of us have FIRM backgrounds in Christianity and can't actually view many of their positions, especially in politics, as Christ-like. I don't really know what I am.  I think Secular Humanist would best describe me or perhaps my own term, "Apathetic"  For example, I really don't want to spend time and am apathetic about deciphering meaning from a book written thousands of years ago and which has been and will be translated ad infinitum.  It seems a pointless pursuit to me and one that God, if there is one, would frown upon.)  As a former sign language interpreter, there were always terms I struggled to portray exactly.  Take merely one term as an example: "take it for granted".  I found those four little words very difficult to translate accurately. Yet we read the Bible in English and assume the translations are "the word of God."  I can't even relate to an old movie from the 50's and I lived during that time! Those of us who have been steeped, and I mean steeped in Doctrine and have a firm religious foundation from which to step off are often agnostic or atheist or skeptics. Sometimes it seems as if Christians feel they've just discovered something that we never knew about and want to share it with us - actually a lovely sentiment, but unwarranted. For me, as I've said before on hubpages, I would feel COMPLETELY arrogant to state that I VAGUELY understand the origins and workings of the Universe, let alone who God might be. Carl Sagan didn't even proclaim a knowledge of what is actually at play in our world.  I DO know my non-beliefs separate me from my friends just like many of my other characteristics.  But it's all ok. Fortunately we live in a free society where are divergent views are accepted.  I think at the most, rather than feel threatened, my Christian friends feel disconnected with me because of my non-beliefs, and in that way too, I too feel disconnected from them.  I think the secret and lesson learned from this question is that we have to arrange to spend time with those who "get us" (like on hubpages smile but also to respect, honor, and spend time with those who don't.

    1. M. T. Dremer profile image87
      M. T. Dremerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      There is definitely a lot we have yet to understand about the universe. Thank you for the thoughtful answer.

  12. skye2day profile image69
    skye2dayposted 10 years ago

    I do not really think Christians in a whole are threatened by the atheist. For myself I just know that there is no way possible for the atheist to understand what I share. Because they are not born again of the Spirit they do not see nor hear. So no matter how we try to explain or what scripture we may use there is a misunderstanding on the part of the atheist. It is like clanging symbols in the background they do not hear and most do not want too.  They think we are all self righteous when we share the truth there is eternity. We just do not go poof out of here. We perish in hell if we deny Jesus Christ. I did not write this it is written. Prophecy has come to pass we are in the end of times.  Christians are commissioned to preach the gospel. The atheist does not understand nor will they unless they confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and repent of sin. Only then can the Spirit of God manifest in them and point to the revelation of Jesus Christ. You must remember we all had to come by faith to Jesus Christ. How could they not see God in everything?  The Christian understands the atheist because we had to make a personal decision for Jesus. We were not always saved. We know what it was like and what it is like now.

    I like the answer above. Christians sometimes seem sad. This is true and heartbreaking because we are the most empowered people on planet earth. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Many Christians are saved but stop there and do not walk out salvation.  God so wants to bless his children but many Christians are ignorant of all his amazing gifts and promises.  There are over 3000 in the bible. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. I feel like the most blessed woman in the world.

    If I venture into a forum I usually exit quickly because the conversations usually turns into a bunch of gibberish.  What is the use. If a seed is planted awesome. I am grateful a seed was planted in my life. I know where I am going when I die and I know my God is faithful and true and will provide all my needs. I am not intimidated it just seems a waste of breath. Nothing gets accomplished. Oh the atheist can be a stubborn lot. Similar to  the children in Israel. As much as God showed them he was real. They spit at him and shunned him. May God help the atheist. Jesus does not want anyone to perish. The atheist refuses to believe that we do go to one side of the gulf or the other when we die heaven or hell.
    God Bless You. Skye


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