In a new 3 minute video Greg Koukl, Christian apologist from “Stand to Reason”, answers the question “Are atheists just suppressing the truth in unrighteousness?” by replying: “No duh!”
Fortunately, Koukl then proceeds to explain why he believes this is a “No duh!” question based on the standard Rebellion Thesis reading of Romans 1 (i.e. all atheists are in rebellion against God). And like seemingly all the Christian apologists and theologians who defend that reading, Koukl seems oblivious to the fact that his argument turns every failure to believe in God’s existence and nature with maximal conviction into an immoral instance of rebellion.
Think, for example, of fifteen year old Emil whose family was just massacred in a home invasion gone awry. As tears roll down his cheeks, Emil looks to heaven and cries out “God, are you really there? Do you really care?”
According to Koukl’s reading of Romans 1, the evidence of God is plain, clear, and overwhelming. And Emil’s failure to recognize it as such is borne of his own sinful rebellion. Koukl gives the analogy of trying to hold a beach ball under water. Just as it is nearly impossible to hold the ball beneath the surface, so it is nearly impossible to restrain the overwhelming evidence for God’s existence and nature. That is how hard Koukl believes a person has to work to retain any doubt against the overwhelming presence of God.
So is Emil in rebellion against God? By Koukl’s reasoning, the answer should be “No duh!” After all, God’s existence and nature are manifestly clear. It is only Emil’s sinful rebellion against God that allows him to question that which is so obviously true.
Interestingly, I don’t find Jesus addressing atheism in his public ministry (no surprise there since atheism as we understand it was unknown in the ancient world). But he certainly said a lot about the failure to apply to yourself and your belief community the same standards you apply to others. So Koukl is free to say “No duh! Atheists are in rebellion against God!” But if he does, he also needs to say, “No duh! Emil is in rebellion against God!”
In short, before you start condemning the sin of doubt outside the Christian church, you should begin by condemning the sin of doubt within the Christian church.