Whenever the term ‘atheist’ is brought up, the immediate thought is someone who denies the existence of God. Most evangelical efforts to counter the prevalent form of atheism found modern academia and culture begin with this basic idea. Atheism says there is no God. Christianity attempts to prove there is. The problem with this approach is that the modern intellectual culture is not so direct and clear.
The late Christopher Hitchens was an unapologetic atheist and often engaged Christians in direct debate. While he would find a much more receptive audience in the modern mind than a Christian apologist, that modern audience would not openly subscribe to atheism, though they welcome its application through the secular state.
Instead of openly saying “God does not exist,” modern thought takes a non-committal stance. Stephen Hawking has provided what is close to an open declaration of what the modern mind holds. He states “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.”
What the modern mind is holding in academia and pushing into the culture is not the declaration that there is no God, but that God is not necessary.
In a previous article, I wrote:
Within Evolution, it is reasonable to conclude that if the fundamental process that brought man into existence, and has brought man to his current place in the world, did so without need for a supernatural agent then man can safely get along without a supernatural agent. Man is not dependent on God. He may exist, but such existence, while comforting and meaningful, is ultimately irrelevant. [Emphasis mine]
This allows a man to live as an atheist, but speak as theist. His has no need for God, but is free to invoke Him when needed. He can go to church, participate in the rituals, and be completely free to deny the very meaning of those rituals.
Christians who seek to evangelize the modern world with movies like “God is Not Dead” will find themselves wasting their time. The non-committed mind of modernity believes itself both religious and good, without need of conversion to God, but also without need of God. Modernity believes itself both Christian and atheist without declaring either. They have no need to hear God’s Son or see His church here on earth, but both are pronounced welcomed in public.
However, while it speaks in safe, ambiguous language, modernity is through its actions decidedly atheistic and hostile to Christianity.