5 Beliefs Atheists and Christians Have in Common

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What are five things that both atheists and Christians have in common?  What are things that they both believe in?  What can Christians and atheists both agree on?

A Definition of Atheists

The word atheist is attaching an “a” to the word theist.  A theist is a person that believes in God so an atheist is one who doesn’t believe in God.  By attaching an “a” prefix to a word, the opposite of that word becomes true.  For example if someone is an atypical person, they are not a typical person.  If a person is said to be amoral, then they have no morals or not normal morals.  The atheist either denies or disbelieves that there is God or any supreme being for that matter.  God does not exist in their thinking even though it is impossible for them to prove it conclusively.  They often provide arguments from reasons of silence. One atheist told me that if there is a God then why is there evil.  I said since you are convinced that there is no God, guess what…there is still evil in your non-God world.  I told him that since he was convinced that there is no God and there is still evil in the world evil still exists.  You believe that there is no God but having no God has not eliminated evil in the world so evil must exist even if there is no God.  By the way, God did not create evil, He created beings with free will with the capacity to do both good and evil.  If they deny evil then do they also deny good?  Is murder not evil?  Is robbing a poor person not evil?  If good exists then so must evil.  Atheism is like Christianity in the sense that they are both faith-based beliefs.  The only difference is that Christians have historical and archeological evidence among other things.

A Definition of Christians

The word “Christian” is literally a little Christ or Christ-like.  A Christian by definition believes in Jesus Christ and they believe in His deity.  That is, they believe that Jesus is God and has always existed.  If a person does not believe that Jesus is divine and fully God and has existed for all eternity, then they cannot by definition call themselves a Christian.  They can call themselves “religious” or as belonging to a “religion” but not actually a Christian.  A Christian believes that Jesus is God as opposed to the Mormons.  Mormons for example believe that man can become God while Christians believe that God became Man…in the form of Jesus Christ.  Christians believe that God is eternal and that Jesus came and lived a sinless life, died for the redemption of those who would trust in Him, that they can be saved by faith alone in Christ alone and that their works are never meritorious enough to save them.  They also believe that Christ was resurrected from the dead, ascended into heaven, now sits at the right hand of the Father and is coming again to judge those who have rejected Him as Lord and Savior but He has already judged those who believe in Him as innocent by their faith in Him (2 Cor 5:21).  They will be with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven for all eternity while those who refuse to trust in Christ will be eternally separated from God for ages without end (Rev 20:11-15).

One thing that Christians agree on about their atheist friends, family, co-workers or even strangers is that God doesn’t want them to perish.

One thing that Christians agree on about their atheist friends, family, co-workers or even strangers is that God doesn’t want them to perish.

Five Things Atheists and Christians Agree On

Natural Selection

Natural Selection is one of those things that both Christians and atheists agree on.  There is sufficient evidence in nature that living organism can adapt and change within their species according to their environmental demands.  That is some birds may develop a longer beak to be able to feed on certain flowers or sources of insects.  They may grow longer beaks but they are still birds and have not changed into a new life form.  That is called microevolution but is better defined as natural selection.  Macroevolution is where one life form changes into a new, different one. That is where the atheist and Christian part ways.  Macroevolution occurs above the species level and creates not only new designs within the organism but new life forms.  Christians do not believe in this because they believe in the Creator.  There is also the roaring silence from the lack of evidence of transitory life forms which are not found anywhere in the fossil records. The Cambrian explosion is the best example of this.

For more on the Cambrian Explosion read: Why Christians need to know about the Cambrian Explosion

The Beginning Point of the Universe

Another point where atheists and Christians can agree upon is that the universe had a finite, singular, beginning point.  Some call it the Big Bang.  If you wound back and reversed the now expanding universe, everything would return to a single point in time and space.  Scientists believe that originally all the matter in the universe consisted of an extremely hot and dense singular point of matter.  This theory is the one that most consistently explains the observations of the past and present states of the universe and is the most widely accepted theory within the scientific community.

There are Objective Morals

Most atheists and Christians agree that murdering someone innocent is wrong.  There is a difference between murdering someone and killing someone.  A police officer is not murdering someone who is trying to kill innocent people.  He is trying to save the lives of bystanders and so he is killing a person who is trying to or has already murdered others who do not deserve to be killed.  Both sides also agree that certain objective moral behaviors are wrong like abusing, sexually molesting or rapping children.  It is also wrong to rob or torture people and to destroy private property.  These are what are called universal, objective morals and even though there are a small minority of isolated societies that do some of these things, the vast majority of humanity, both atheist and Christian, realize that these are wrong.  They are objectively wrong.

There is Objective Truth

Both atheists and Christians agree that postmodernism is wrong in the sense that some things are true regardless of beliefs or opinions.  For example, 2 + 2 will always equal 4.  That is a mathematical truth that is absolutely true and can never be considered as relatively true.  It is either true or false.  It cannot be both.  No one can rationalize objective truth away.  Imagine a 2nd grade teacher putting this problem up on the board and a student writing it down as 2 + 2 = 5.  The teacher tells the student, “Robert that is wrong.  2 + 2 is 4.”  The young student says, “Well that’s your opinion, to you it might be 4 but to me it’s 5 because that’s what I believe, therefore to me it’s 5 or any number I want.”  There are some in the world that actually believe that there are no absolutes.  One person actually told me once that “There are no absolutes!”  My response was, “Didn’t you just refute this by telling me that there are no absolutes and being absolute about it?  Are you absolutely sure of this?  If so, then you just validated that there are absolutes!”  Generally speaking both atheists and Christians believe in absolute truths.

There are Good People on Both Sides

Both atheists and Christians can agree that there are good people on both sides.  Many Christians and many atheists have done much good in the world.  Conversely, both sides have done bad things and so there are bad on both sides too.  A person being good doesn’t qualify them for heaven or doing something bad doesn’t necessarily send them to hell.  People can do all the good in the world and still not be good enough to go to heaven because they have to be perfect.  This is humanly impossible even though there is a way or actually The Way to become perfect through a Person (2 Cor 5:21; John 14:6).  A Christian can still sin but still make it into heaven if they confess their sins (1 John 1:9).  They understand that they are not sinless (Rom 7)…even though they do sin less!

Conclusion

One thing that Christians agree on about their atheist friends, family, co-workers or even strangers is that God doesn’t want them to perish.  He desires that all would be saved (2 Pet 3:9) and so do the great majority of Christians (Jude 1:22-23).  We know that God doesn’t take pleasure in the destruction of men or women who refuse to believe in Christ (Ezk 18:23).  My prayer is that we would love those who yet do not believe because it is God alone Who can open the hearts (Acts 16:14) but He does want us to participate in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ because how will they know and be saved if they do not hear (Rom 10:14).  Can we agree on that?

Another article  you might be interested in: Do Atheists Really Believe There is No God?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Danny October 30, 2013 at 8:13 am

Appreciate this sight and refer my FB friends & others to it all the time. That does not mean I agree totally all the time. But I have found in life that no one has it all right, including myself, but we trust in The One Who got it right and His Blood has got it covered.

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Jack Wellman October 30, 2013 at 11:04 am

Amen Danny. We may not agree on some things but the most important things are the most important as you mentioned the Blood of the Lamb of God. Thank you brother.

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Robert October 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Another fine article, Jack.
I loved the way you brought it all together with a presentation of the Gospel message…the most important message there is. God bless you, brother.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Jack Wellman October 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Thank you brother. I see your own recent apologetic work “7 Scientific Findings That Support Creationism Over Evolution:” has gotten over five hundred of “likes” and still growing. Your skill as a Christian apologist is amazingly great my friend. Thank you for all you do for the Kingdom.

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DocReits October 31, 2013 at 12:09 am

Hi Jack,

I always enjoy your articles.

You write:

“Both sides also agree that certain objective moral behaviors are wrong …These are what are called universal, objective morals and …. the vast majority of humanity, both atheist and Christian, realize that these are wrong. They are objectively wrong.”

I talk to atheists a lot and they are “smart atheists” in that they will not yield to stating that moral absolutes exist(which I believe you state here by suggesting the term “universal”).

As you know, if they agree to such a thing as moral absolutes(not relative) then there must exist a moral code (good, evil, rule book).

If there is a moral code then there must be a moral code giver. This leads directly to God which is anathema to their world view.

Feeling “caged”, unthinking atheists will most often attempt to escape their philosophical dilemma by arguing their epistemology from parents or society as the source of these morals.

These then are not “absolute” as it is open to debate between my parents or your parents or Jane Does parents who all might differ on their brand of morality. This is relative …hence, no “universal” morals.

I understand your broader point in the need to reach out to atheists, but you state, “Both atheists and Christians can agree that there are good people on both sides”. I can’t. Jack, did you mean there are atheists who can do good things? Agree… but no one “is” good., (Rom 3:12, Mk 10:18), except God.

I know….. “nit picker, nit picker”…;-) Thank you for always making me think!!

DocReits

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Jack Wellman October 31, 2013 at 9:37 am

As always Doc you discern where I erred. Well done friend. Only the Word of God is without error…me? No way! I should have said that there are atheists and belivers that do good things but really, there is none that are good, no not one and me included.

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Nicholas Rogers October 31, 2013 at 5:02 pm

A better title would have been “beliefs some Atheists and Christians have in common”…

Belief in an objective morality? I have an agnostic friend who admitted that he cannot believe that murdering babies is objectively wrong, simply put, he believes morality is a subjective construct of our evolution. And he is agnostic, in other words, not a hard core atheist.

I’m all for finding common grounds between individuals when common ground exists. In fact, I use that common ground to argue with them in ways which they can appreciate it.

That said, Atheists and Theists need to realize that as two groups, Atheism and Theism are two exclusive world views which have a drastically different perception of reality, at least when they are thought out to their logical extent.

You cannot go into an argument if you are on one side and your opponent is on the other and make any assumptions when the issue is belief or unbelief in God, precisely because God’s existence or lack of existence is so fundamental to every single aspect of our world.

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Jack Wellman October 31, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Yes sir, you are right. I know that Paul tried to find common ground among the Greeks even using their own poets on Mars Hill but I think that finding common ground where it can be found is better than seeing no possible commonality at all.

When I share the gospel, I am not afraid to talk to atheists, agnostics, or evolutionists. When I see them and speak to them, I just think back on my own life prior to Christ and realize, “there go I but by the grace of God.” I am no better than they are. I was no more worthy to be called a child of God than they are. The only reason that I have placed my trust in Christ is because He called me (John 6:44). My own flesh and blood didn’t make me realize who Christ was, it was the Father. Here is my answer for why He called me and not others…”I don’t know!” There was nothing worthy in me. I had no special abilities. I was not a sensitive, tender-hearted person who God thought, “Hey, he’d make a mighty fine Christian.” God did not look down from heaven and think, “We gotta save this one. He‘s something special.” No, not at all. I still consider myself unworthy. Incredibly, I went from disaster to pastor, from a state prison to being free at last, from a drug abuser to a gospel witness. I was the weakest link in my family, in my class in school, and at my places of work. I would have been the last one that I would have chosen.

Many people will deny that Jesus Christ ever existed. What I say is that time does not diminish truth and the fact is that Jesus Christ is the most written about Person in all of human history. Time will not destroy the fact that 2 + 2= 4 and it will still be 4 a million years from now. Why would time diminish the historicity of Jesus? Do you believe that George Washington lived? Or that Napoleon existed? How about Rome’s Nero? Aristotle? These people are taught in the history books as historical facts and they have exponentially less evidence about them than the volumimous evidence that Jesus Christ did and does exist. You could combine all of the evidence that has ever been written about all these others and still not have the historical evidence that Jesus did exist. I must remain humble though because I came to understand that we are not born with a knowledge of Jesus Christ but we are drawn to know Christ through the Father (John 6:44) and the fact of Jesus’ existence is outside of the realm of human understanding (Matt 16:17). I could not have known, the atheist can not know nor could anyone understand who Jesus is or that He exists by flesh and blood alone. That is why I pray for those who I witness to and ask God the Father to reveal Who Jesus is.

So the next time you see someone who is an unbeliever, think in your heart, “that could have been me.” Why did God call me and not them? I have no clue at all. That’s why I love witnessing to those who have no desire, no passion, and no hunger for God. Yes, even atheists…because…that was me! But today, here I am a believer, but only by the grace of God. I love atheists and agnostics and believe speaking to them on things we can agree on is better than seeing them as irreconcilable. I know that is not what you are saying Mr. Rogers and you and Doc made some great points and I can promise I will take them to heart.

We know that God desires none to perish and this song inspires me more every time I hear it:

Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one,
Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.

Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save.

Though they are slighting Him,
Still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly,
Plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.

Down in the human heart,
Crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart,
Wakened by kindness,
Chords that are broken will vibrate once more.

Rescue the perishing,
Duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way,
Patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/921#ixzz2jMKjwBgy

As for your agonistic friend which you said “Belief in an objective morality? I have an agnostic friend who admitted that he cannot believe that murdering babies is objectively wrong, simply put, he believes morality is a subjective construct of our evolution.” then ask him if he would care if someone robs him? Maybe the person was hungry? Maybe he was trying to feed his family. Then robbing is okay, right? To your friend this was wrong, but since there are no objective morals, to the robber or thief it is not wrong and who is your agnostic friend to judge this thief? That’s his opinion that stealing is wrong. See the slippery slope?

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Mr Anthony Cotton April 23, 2015 at 1:29 pm

That was a very good article Jack.
In the dictionary atheist says one who does not believe in God.
So if an atheist does not believe in a God he must believe in a God to deny He does not exist,and prove it!
Starting from the suppose big bang theory which I don`t believe in,because to me if their was a big bang it would cause chaos everything flying all over the place.
Example- If I threw a grenade into a sitting room,and I went in afterwards it would be in a right mess.
I believe that God created the universe because in our little part of the galaxy there is harmony.
The Sun is in the centre then Mercury then Earth which spins round,and it takes 24 hours to do that while it`s going round the Sun,and it takes a full year to go round the Sun.
Like wise all the other planets. So to me God did this.
God also provides a defence barrier any meteorite trying to hit Earth gets burned up,but not all the time because has you know Jack their is places that show you where an extremely large object has hit the Earth in America amongst other countries.
The Cambrian Explosion I would say it was God with most of the fossils are there has you mentioned in your article.
My uncle was not a gorilla that through time he became a human so why are their still monkeys,and gorillas it just dosn`t make sense.
God also made the universe that vast because He knew that man one day would invent powerful telescopes and probes to travel vast distances in space sending pictures back to Earth.
A guy on the internet said if we had a spaceship that would not run out of fuel or Oxygen,and travel in the same direction all the time we would eventually run out of stars.
It also would be pitch Black,and to me that`s Gods work.
I was on YouTube and I was amazed that Atheist`s practice Atheism and families are divided.
He was only a young man in his twenties,and he was really upset about it he just could not believe in a God.
So I take this has the devil`s work amongst music and other entertainment.

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Jack Wellman April 23, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Here’s why I don’t believe in atheists because they simply cannot exist. God doesn’t believe in atheists, obviously. read this my brother and tell me what you think: http://www.ovimagazine.com/art/2281

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Benjamin J Tidwell August 6, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Very well written article. Thank you!

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