Antitheists, Not Atheists
“Atheism” – derived from Greek “a”, meaning “without”, and “theos”, meaning “God” – is the rejection of belief in the existence of deity. Ostensibly, atheists simply disbelieve in God, which is bad enough, for it is written, “The unbelieving… shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
Many self-proclaimed atheists, however, do not carry on as though God is not real. Rather, those who identify as atheists are often, in fact, antitheists or contratheists. They are against God. They oppose Him actively. Ray Comfort explained it well: “Atheists don’t hate fairies, leprechauns, or unicorns because they don’t exist. It is impossible to hate something that doesn't exist. Atheists… hate God because He does exist”.
Believers are compelled to lead unbelievers to God because Jesus commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Paul summarized his sense of obligation, saying, “Necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1st Corinthians 9:16). The gravity of this task is manifest: “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2nd Corinthians 5:11). Christians desire the conversion of nonbelievers in order to spare them their doom. Atheists have no such motivation to convince Christians to abandon faith. Rejecting the very notion of eternity, they cannot fear what will ultimately become of those with whom they disagree. Yet, some self-described atheists are willing to engage Christians in public debate with formally declared propositions. Many more would rather troll churches and Christians on the internet, mocking faith. “A proud and haughty man — ‘Scoffer’ is his name; he acts with arrogant pride” (Proverbs 21:24). They present themselves as superior in intellect, but offer nothing wholesome or beneficial with which to replace trust in the Divine. “A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, but knowledge is easy to him who understands” (Proverbs 14:6).
If they were true atheists, merely disbelieving God, they would care nothing at all about others’ convictions. They do care, though. They are threatened by faith, and, therefore, hate the God of heaven. Thus, they cannot accurately be regarded as atheists. They are antitheists.