It’s true: The Christmas story is humanly strange. A young Palestinian virgin miraculously conceives a boy-child whose Father is God, the Creator of the universe. This boy-child is born in ironic ignominy, yet heralded by a miracle star and angelic hosts, greeted by shepherds and Persian astrologers, and hunted by a homicidally paranoid king.
The strangeness continues through Jesus’s sinless life, miraculous public ministry, his betrayal and horrible crucifixion, and then his resurrection from the dead. This is followed by his ascension after he affirms his promise to return and commissions his small band of followers to preach his gospel throughout the world. His followers carry out this commission and launch the most influential and multi-ethnic religious faith the world has ever seen.
Christianity forms a coherent belief system, but it admittedly sounds foolish to non-believers (1 Corinthians 1:23–25). And atheists are like, seriously?
Atheists Believe Strange Things Too
But to be fair, atheists also embrace wildly far-fetched, strange beliefs of their own.
To be an atheist is almost certainly to be a materialist (i.e. only matter and laws that govern matter exist). And materialists also believe in a miraculous conception and birth — of the universe. They eschew the term “miraculous,” since miracles “don’t happen.” But call it what you wish, they believe at some point in the ancient past the universe (or universes) was born without a parent(s). This wasn’t merely a virgin birth — the universe gave birth to itself, completely unintentionally.
Perhaps the universe was born from nothing, which is quite a thing to believe. In the beginning, Nothing created the heavens and the earth. However many billions of years you tack on to it, the impossibility of existence coming from non-existence does not become more possible. Such a doctrine makes the incarnation tame in comparison.
Atheists often point to the existence of evil as a conundrum for Christians. But the existence of existence is a bigger conundrum for atheists. The origin of evil presents God-sized questions. But still, nothing producing something is far more improbable than something going bad.
Atheists might cry foul. There could have been something that existed that caused the universal Genesis which they just don’t know about yet. Okay, so some non-intelligent, non-living thing eternally existed and somehow unintentionally exploded into everything that exists resulting in our contemplating this right now. That too is quite a thing to believe. If that doesn’t sound at least as improbable as God existing and undertaking the plan of human redemption that we call Christianity, we really haven’t thought it through.
Christianity and Atheism: Choose Your Strangeness