Atheism, Inclusivism and Christianity

An interesting squabble was stirred up a few days ago on New Year’s Eve when singer Cee Lo Green sang the John Lennon song “Imagine” on NBC’s holiday broadcast.  The humanist anthem, embraced by non-believers because of its urge for listeners to cast off belief in heaven, includes the lyric, “Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.”

However, Mr. Green took an opposite approach when he sang the song on the New Year’s program, adopting the lyrics, “Nothing to kill or die for, and all religion’s true.”  His reinterpretation of the song was quickly greeted with criticism by American Atheist members who say Mr. Green “perverted” the lyrics and “completely distort[ed] the meaning and significance of the powerful song.”

From a biblical perspective, I would respectfully say to both sides of this argument that you both are tragically wrong.

In fact, while reading about this dispute over the Lennon song, I could not help but think of a great quote by the late theologian Francis Schaeffer, who said: “Truth always carries with it confrontation.  Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, nevertheless.  If our reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong.”

And so, as Christians, we must say to the atheist and to those worshipping a diversity of beliefs that there is only one true and living God.  Recall that when Jesus conversed with the woman at the well in John chapter 4, she spoke of the Messiah.  He replied, “I that speak unto thee am he” (verse 26).  That message must be at the forefront of all we do and say when we are communicating with non-believers.

Our world has become such a haze of spirituality and total disbelief.  As I have pointed out before, so many people have no idea who Jesus is.  As such, they do not even have an understanding of the One in whom they do not believe.  Many are devout in believing nothing, while others are sincere in trying to piece together a patchwork of beliefs.  All the while, the one true God stands before them with open arms.

I am reminded of a passage in “John MacArthur’s The Ultimate Priority, which says, “As Christians we accept one foundational truth – God – and everything else makes sense.  An atheist denies God and has to accept incredible explanations for everything else.  It takes more faith to deny God than to believe in Him.”

That leaves Christians with the same responsibility that the Apostle Paul spoke of in Romans 1:16.  That passage reads, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”  And like Paul, we must be wise in our faith and use the wisdom of Christ who is within us to call people unto Him.

Paul wrote these great words in Acts at a time when the persecution of believers was transpiring and much religious confusing was taking place within the culture, similar to today.  In our world, people continue to believe many things, my friends.  They hope to find peace and a reason for being, but they are ignoring the very One who can fill the empty hole in their souls.  They thirst but do not find the Living Water of Jesus Christ.

Let us not be ashamed to call out to all — no matter what they believe — to a faith in Jesus Christ, the Living Savior who calls all men unto Himself.