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It seems like atheists will go to pretty extreme lengths to combat the words of a God they don’t even believe exists. A recent article from the Religion News Service reports, “Atheists use a popular Bible app to evangelize about unbelief.” The article contains interviews with a number of young atheists who have chosen to use YouVersion, one of the most popular apps around, as a way of trying to shake the faith of Christians.
Now, YouVersion offers over 700 translations of the Bible for free in its app, in an effort to encourage biblical literacy worldwide. The article states, “But Lauren, a 22-year-old chemistry major from Colorado, is not interested in the app’s mission to deepen faith and biblical literacy. A newly minted atheist, she uses her YouVersion Bible app to try to persuade people away from the Christianity she grew up in.”
And, unsurprisingly, these atheists are focusing on supposed contradictions in the Bible to make their points. Lauren, the atheist quoted above, states, “Reading the full story with all its contradictions and violence and sexism, it should make you think, ‘Is this really what I believe in?’”
On the Answers in Genesis website, you will find a variety of articles addressing many supposed Bible contradictions. And in our online store, we offer two entire books on the issue of alleged contradictions in Scripture.
Sadly, atheists like Lauren haven’t approached Scripture with the desire to have these problems resolved by believers who are equipped to answer such claims. No, instead they have come with a bias against God and His Word, and they desire to damage the faith that others have in God. These skeptics are intentionally searching for supposed problems in Scripture—so they can spread more disbelief.
For example, Lauren explains that marriage is a “pet issue,” so she intentionally targets people who post on social media sites that marriage is between one man and one woman. Lauren attempts to use instances of polygamy in the Bible to somehow prove that the Bible is contradictory on the issue of marriage. But she can only do this by taking Scripture out of context.
Other atheists try to use the many translations on YouVersion to show that there are supposedly many variations of the biblical text: “The biggest thing for me is seeing how much the version will change the meaning of passage [sic]. It can make a pretty big difference in how you interpret it.” While it’s true that there are many different translations of the Bible, there’s a big difference between a literal translation and a paraphrase of Scripture. A literal translation provides the same meaning today that people would have understood when the Bible was written, whereas a paraphrase is someone else’s rewording of Scripture into everyday English. Bible scholars typically look for literal translations, not paraphrases.
But are these atheists interested in the answers to their objections? I would submit that many of them aren’t. One well-known atheist was quoted as saying that one of the “beautiful side effects” of free Bible apps is that “nothing makes you an atheist faster than reading the Bible.” But really, Romans chapter 1 teaches that they know there is a God, and that their disbelief is a willful suppression of the truth.
What’s more important and hopeful is that many secularists are reading the Word of God, including the atheist community, as a result of free apps like YouVersion. And remember these Scriptures:
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)Actually, it’s great that they are reading the Word of God!
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
I urge you to pray for these atheists that they would read and believe the gospel of Christ today, and pray for those Christians that these atheists interact with, that they would be strengthened in their faith and would be emboldened to share the gospel.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This blog post was written with the assistance of Steve Golden.