Is Atheism an Ancient Belief?

by Ken Ham

Is atheism “one of the world’s oldest beliefs”? Well, that’s what a new book from Cambridge professor Tim Whitmarsh teaches. According to his research, atheism was prevalent among ancient Greeks living long before Christ and the birth of Christianity. Should these ancient atheistic beliefs surprise us?


Not at all. Atheism probably dates way back before the Greeks. It’s likely atheism existed in the world before the Flood of Noah—after all, the entire population except Noah and his family rejected God’s Word. We’re told that the generation of the Flood was incredibly wicked so that “every intent of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Clearly, if they hadn’t already completely forgotten about God, they certainly weren’t acting as if He existed or as if He were was paying attention to their evil deeds.

And the idea of humanism, often closely associated with atheism, goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden! Humanism is the belief that man is supreme; basically, that he’s his own god. Sound familiar?

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:4–5)

People have wanted to be their own god since Adam and Eve! So it’s no surprise that people have been rejecting God, suppressing their knowledge of Him, and creating gods in their own image all throughout history. The first sin was the sin of trying to be like God and rebelling against Him in the process! Six thousand years later, nothing has changed. People all over the world still reject God, wanting to live in rebellion against Him by being or having their own god. Atheism is the religion that’s by and large imposed on generations of kids in the public education system.

But thankfully our God is merciful to all, including those who ignore Him and say He doesn’t exist. Through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, He offers forgiveness and salvation as a free gift. To be saved, “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, [and] you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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