Some atheists claim that the Bible is full of fairy tales that Christians have contrived in order to find order, purpose, and comfort in this life. But what about the fairy tales the atheists believe? And why do they think Christian beliefs are mere fables?
Remember that atheists believe that we were not created by a Being who has a purpose for us, but we were randomly generated by an cosmic accident despite impossible odds. We were not formed by a Being who imparted his own image into us, but our love for justice and order are freakish by-products of physical evolution.
What is an atheist to do? To find meaning in life, he makes it up. To find purpose in life, he fabricates one out of bits of longings and culture and stories around him.
He roundly criticizes and condemns another while having no objective basis from which to judge others, apart from the hodgepodge of values picked up from the culture that agree with his sensibilities and biases. If law and order is good for the culture and general well-being, then it is good, period, since that gives him a sense of safety and community. So his values are absorbed by his culture and upbringing. These “fairy tales” are worth believing because some form of stability is indeed created by them.
But this law and order is mixed. If they live in America, homosexuality is good. If they live among radical Muslims, homosexuality is evil. Which one is right to the atheist? How do they determine which value is objectively correct, that is, should apply to all peoples? Should they pick and choose whichever one is fair? What foundation do they have for fairness? Any choice they make will most likely offend someone in another culture. What is an atheist to do?
How do they know that evolution has finished with our intellectual development? Perhaps (from an atheist perspective) religious thought dominated the earlier centuries because they gave the best understanding and comfort then; now technology gives better understanding and help. Who is to say what we will be believing a thousand years from now, making our present thoughts arcane and childish to the people then? In other words, how does the atheist have confidence that the present line of thinking is really the correct one?
The Christian has an object source of right and wrong, of justice and fairness. Christians do not all agree among themselves, it is true, but it does not invalidate the source itself. Christians have often given horribly mixed impressions of that source of truth to the world because the world is mixed in with the truth, warping it in their lives. And the lives of many Christians have produced well-deserved derision from atheists who see that their lips and lives do not correspond to the truth they say they believe. The atheist has seen this disconnect and have concluded that the Bible stories are only imagination.
Christian, what does the world see when it reads your life? (Atheists don’t read the Bible; they read you.) Does it see more of the prevailing cultural mores lived through you than the heavenly life of dependence on God? Do we go to church and treat it more as a club meeting than a place to where God gathers his people to worship him, learn of him, and return to a world to turn it upside down with God’s purpose and grace filling us anew? When we do not apply the values of God in the Bible, then it is understandable why the atheist regards the stories as mere fairy tales. After all, reading fairy tales affect your life just as much, right?
Jesus called his disciples the light of the world; has that light gone out in your church and personal life? If that guiding life is Internet games and TV rather than the Word of God, the light has surely perished. In which case, what good is it being “right” when we will be judged with the atheist before God as unfaithful and undeserving of glory, honor, and an everlasting crown? Jesus did not come to start a club of people who go to church, but to be one with him and the Father, to be vessels of love through whom God may work to reconcile others to him.
Atheists have to make up a purpose, gathering bits and pieces from the culture and personal contemplation, in order to find comfort and sense of order. But God has given his own people a sense of purpose that transcends our culture and will endure long after the ages have left everything we cherish crumbled to dust. Do we cherish the same fairy tales as the atheist, or are we clinging to the grand purpose of the ages, dying to self and living for God to partner with Jesus in his plan for our lives?