Christians wear crosses; Jews wear the Star of David. What do atheists wear to show the world their (non)beliefs? You’ve probably seen the atheist fish symbol: a fish with legs and the word “evolve” where “Jesus” goes. Its maker, EvolveFish, now employs six people and does $500,000 a year in sales. They market jewelry, door mats, caps, t-shirts, buttons, tie clasps, mints, and even adhesive bandages. Their “Get Out of Hell Free” cards are perhaps the most controversial item they sell. Others atheists are wearing jewelry with the capital “A,” “happy humanist” logos, and the like.
Why this proliferation of atheist jewelry?
Because the number of atheists in America is escalating. More than 25 percent of those born after 1981 are nonreligious, the highest percentage of any generation in American history. (Only eight percent of those born before 1945 have no religious affiliation.) And more than 15 million Americans describe themselves as “convinced atheists.” That’s more than the number of Methodists, nearly twice the number of Lutherans, and nearly four times the number of Presbyterians in our country.
Our culture is becoming increasingly antagonistic to biblical faith. For instance, last week an atheist group demanded the immediate removal of the World War I Peace Cross in Maryland. The memorial has stood for nearly a century, honoring those from the local county who lost their lives in the Great War. Public prayers continue to be subjected to legal challenges. Churches which try to build are facing greater opposition from zoning regulators than ever before.
I strongly affirm the separation of church and state, but not faith and state. George Washington’s 1796 “Farewell Address,” which has been read to the Senate every year since 1896, states: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” John Adams claimed that “our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.” Alexis de Tocqueville noted in 1835 that “freedom sees in religion the companion of its struggles and its triumphs, the cradle of its infancy, the divine source of its rights.”
It is therefore vital that Christians stand publicly for Christ, whatever the cost. If atheists can wear jewelry proclaiming their non-faith, what can we do today to tell our fallen culture that we follow Jesus? We can love others as he loves us (John 13:35); we can display the “fruit of the Spirit” in our words and actions (Galatians 5:22-23); we can announce and explain the gospel at every appropriate opportunity (cf. Acts 4:8-12). God’s reward for our courage will exceed its cost: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).
If you were put on trial for being a Christian, how would those who know you testify?