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The Most Dangerous Atheism

The difference that a witnessing belief in God makes may show in our recognition that there are no perfect people. It may show in the fact that we often find ourselves outside ourselves and our petty, individual concerns. It may show in our concern for Christian love and responsibility rather than efficiency when tackling issues like poverty, immigration, and the environment.

Though witnessing belief has the courage to stand up for its beliefs, it doesn't mistake Christian courage for political confrontation. Even when the first requires the second, a Christian should remember that they are not the same. If we bear witness of God's existence and love, then we strive to do so in a way that others can hear and see our witness.

We avoid, where possible, doing things that will make our witness fall on deaf ears and strike blind eyes. In our discussions with others, we do not strive to win; we strive for our witness to be heard, trusting that God can win what needs to be won.

Today we live in a world in which passive atheism holds sway, with the result that active atheism has become more prominent. But we make a mistake if we think that the active atheism we see is the problem with which we must deal. The real threat is passive atheism, and only the fullness of Christian witness, not political activism or evangelizing by itself, will be enough to counter that threat.

3/7/2012 5:00:00 AM
James Faulconer
About James Faulconer
James Faulconer is a Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding at Brigham Young University, where he has taught philosophy since 1975.