So just what is an atheist? The dictionary defines an atheist as “a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.” I know many people who claim to be atheists, and I am sure you do as well. But is there really such a thing? And I am talking about fully functioning adults here, not infants or the mentally challenged.
In Romans 1:18-23 Pauls tells us that
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
This passage claims that there is a knowledge of God, made known through creation to everyone; there is no one who does not have this revelation. There is no one alive today, or throughout history, who can rightly claim that they have no knowledge of God, although many do make the claim. But what do people do with this knowledge? According to Paul, many suppress that knowledge of God resulting in futile thinking and foolishness. They claim to be wise, but have become fools; replacing the creator with a god of their own choosing. That god might be self or another person, it might be science, it might be nature, it might be hedonistic pleasure, it might even be philanthropist service to others. But what all these have in common is that they are idols and serve only to replace the suppressed truth about God that we all have.
Now if you are reading this, and claim to be an atheist, I know that you are protesting my lack of belief in your claim. And indeed I do not believe that you really lack belief in a creator. What is labeled today as atheism is not really a lack of belief in God or gods; it is simply a suppression of the truth; a truth that you do know but have suppressed and chosen to ignore because, for one reason or another, it is inconvenient. Allow God to speak to you through his creation. It is the first step toward true wisdom.