Romans 1:21 – In Defense of the Faith
The new atheists in American culture do not merely lack belief in God, they oppose belief in God. Their tone is angry and their language is extremely inflammatory. The temptation for the Christian in interacting with a new atheist is to match his/her tone and rhetoric.
Romans 1:21 may be of great help in keeping the Christian from speaking in a manner that does not reflect the grace of God. When we see that the atheist speaks from a mind of futility and darkened understanding, we may be much more compassionate toward the atheist. We begin to see that the anger he/she displays is the manifestation of mankind’s need for the gospel.
Romans 1:18 says that God’s wrath is revealed against mankind because humanity suppresses the truth of God’s existence and nature. Verse 21 says that futility of mind and darkness of heart is the result of suppressing the truth. Another way to say it is that God expresses his wrath for humanity’s suppression of the truth by numbing the heart and mind to the truth. Because of mankind’s suppression of the truth, God has darkened the understanding of people so that they cannot discern the truth.
The interesting thing about the atheists’ arguments is that they oppose faith on grounds of lack of evidence and rational thought. Are not these functions of the very faculties addressed in Romans 1:18-21? They cannot see the evidence for God’s existence because the truth has been suppressed. Their thoughts are darkened such that their logic and rationalism are distorted and skewed. The anger and language of the new atheists is actually evidence of the truth of Scripture. Each inflammatory statement is further evidence of the truth the Bible speaks of humanity’s ills. Every angry word is a greater manifestation of their need for the God who said, “Let there be light,” to shine into the darkness of their hearts and illuminate the truth once again.