I wanted to write to thank you for posting testimonies of atheists on your site, filed under ‘the good’. (http://www.richarddawkins.net/letters/good). I read through most of the first page of entries in your latest group (as of 7 Oct.), and it helped me see a consistency that I’ve noted in the ideology of other non-believers as well that has great value as an apologetic tool. There is overall a parallel to the thinking described in the first chapter of Romans:
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
24 Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
What was interesting to me about those who wrote was that, in terms of the faiths they claimed to once follow, none of them seemed to have ever grasped the truth of the Gospel according the the Bible. Many of the writers tell of their background in Roman Catholicism. Held to strictly, RC doctrine posits the works of an individual as a basis for salvation rather than faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9), which is a different gospel than that of Jesus Christ revealed in the Bible. In one letter, Philip Matthews attended a “liberal” Roman Catholic school, saying he always took evolution as fact and the Genesis creation account as metaphorical. Numerous research indicates that believers who abandon faith and church typically do not have a good grasp on the fundamentals, particularly the historicity of Genesis. If Genesis is “metaphorical at best”, not only are we left with evolutionary fallacy and human speculation about origins, but there is no reality of sin and our need for a Savior. Another letter (anonymous, dated 31 Aug) is from a man attributing his atheism to an “unable god” in the face of the death he witnessed in Iraq, which is a short-sighted view of the God described in Scripture and again denies the reality of sin.
Most of the ‘deconverts’ tell of early years in some type of faith in God, affirming that a general knowledge of our Creator is innate, but this truth is “suppressed” (Rom. 1:18) in exchange for man’s own ideas. Many talk about a gradual conversion and clarity in their new atheism, which Rom. 1:22, 23, 25 describes as “Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man… They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator…” It’s likely that many atheists, all of whom are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27) and born with a sense of God and His moral law (Rom. 2:15), are lured away by “empty philosophy” (Col. 2:8), and, lacking a view of God’s word as true and authoritative, abandon objective truth altogether. Instead, atheists worship created things. In every ‘deconversion’ letter I read, their god became you, and their Bible, The God Delusion. Thanks to God’s word, this is no surprise for Christians.
I am grateful for these formulaic accounts of the suppression of truth and denial of our Creator warned about in the Bible. It has served to affirm my own faith.