The Rise of Atheism in America

The Rise of Atheism in America August 26, 2021

A number of years ago, Encyclopedia Britannica published a 55-volume series entitled The Great Books of the Western World. This series presented the most important ideas that scholars and intellectuals have considered and investigated over the course of recorded history. The longest essay was on God.

When noted philosopher, author, and co-editor of the series, Mortimer Adler, was asked the reason behind this, he replied, “It is because more consequences for life follow from that one issue than from any other.”

I believe Dr. Adler’s assessment is spot on.

The major issues of life are understood with the greatest clarity only after the question of God’s existence is placed in its proper context.

Everyone has a certain perspective on how life works. It is the lens through which we see life. It is what most people call a “worldview.” When we are born, we begin to try and understand how life works. Over time, we formulate a philosophy of life, a worldview, and this worldview influences how we see ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we live our lives.

Armand Nicholi, a Harvard psychiatrist and the author of The Question of God says that our worldview informs our personal, social, and political lives. It helps us understand our purpose. Further, he said that our worldview determines our ethics, our values, and our capacity for happiness. It helps us answer the big questions of life: How did I get here? How am I to live? Where do I find meaning in life? What is my ultimate destiny? Basically, Nicholi is telling us that our worldview is more telling than perhaps any other aspect of our lives.

Another way to understand our worldview is to see it as a map, a mental map that helps navigate life effectively. As author Nancy Pearcey says,

“…we need some creed to live by; some map by which we chart our course.”

This is worldview.

In forming our worldviews, Dr. Nicholi says that we make one of two assumptions about life. The first is that we live in a godless universe; we are a product of nature that has evolved over time. This is a secular worldview that emphasizes scientific knowledge and its motto is “What do science and nature have to say?”

The second assumption is that there is a supernatural intelligence who gives the universe order and life meaning. This is a spiritual worldview that is rooted in Biblical revelations. It places emphasis on spiritual truth and wisdom and its motto is: “What does God have to say about this?”

I have concluded that every person has an opinion on God and spiritual reality, even if it is a belief that He is non-existent. We all have a faith view of reality and it trickles down into our lives and influences the choices we make.

All our reasoning proceeds from this belief

Author Tim Keller says:

“How we relate to God is the foundation of our thinking, because it determines the way we view the world. Whether you believe God exists or not, this belief is the foundation in which all of your reasoning proceeds. For instance, if you do not believe that God exists, it is a belief taken by faith and it becomes your faith view of reality. Whether you realize it or not, all your reasoning proceeds from this belief. You end up screening out all that does not fit with this view of life.”

Your worldview will ultimately explain where life originated, what life means, and what we are supposed to be doing with the years we are given. What I hope to accomplish in this book comes from the words of English mathematician John Lennox who says:

“What divides us is . . . our worldviews. No one wants to base their life on a delusion, but which is the
delusion? Christianity or atheism?”

To learn more about the evidence for God that I’m referring to, I invite you to read my book Reflections on the Existence of God. The book lays out, in short essays, much of the evidence for the existence of God that is available. We should seek to take the evidence offered and use it to make reasonable conclusions. What you will find is, as the evidence accumulates, it enables us to come to confident conclusions about God. Who He is. And, that He truly is.

About Richard E. Simmons III
Richard E. Simmons III is the founding director of The Center for Executive Leadership, a faith-based ministry in Birmingham, Alabama focused on counseling businessmen and professionals, which he started in 2001. His newest book, an Amazon best-seller, is Reflections on the Existence of God - a series of short essays seeking to answer life’s most enduring question: Does God exist? When he’s not spending time with his wife Holly and their three children, Richard enjoys teaching, counseling, writing, or speaking to men’s groups across the country. Follow Richard on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Tune in to Richard’s Reliable Truth Podcast on your favorite podcast app. You can read more about the author here.

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