One Less God

Justin Johnson

Who hasn’t heard this atheist cliché in response to Joe Christian:

“I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one less god than you do.”

It is a puzzle to me why anyone would repeat this, since it is either a statement of something so obviously elementary, or a conclusion so erroneous that it halts productive conversation.

Nevertheless, it still gets good traction even by well-known atheists. The Bible says fools can be expected to say foolish things (Psalm 14:1).

What is Obvious

It is obvious to everyone that the atheist (someone who does not believe in any god), believes in one less god than the mono-theist (someone who believes in one god). After all, we all learned in elementary that 1-1 = 0.

However, this is something hardly in contention. In fact, it is agreed upon by all who can count. If atheism were belief in fewer gods then everyone would be atheist, since everyone disbelieves at least one conception of God (even pantheists reject a personal god). This makes the term meaningless.

However, all of this is a distraction and irrelevant to the real issue separating Bible believing Christians and the atheist – is there one God or none god.

One or None

The statement claims that going from one God to no god is merely a matter of degree, like going from 10 gods to one God. This is simply not so.

The reason that Christians reject other gods is not the same reason that the atheists do. Atheists reject all gods, because they reject the existence of any god, even the one who made them. Christians reject other gods, because the Bible reveals the one true God.

Discerning between whether something exists at all, is different than discerning whether something is right and true. Saying, “Jupiter is not God”, is not the same as saying, “there are no gods”. The former is a comparison to the one true God, while the latter makes no comparison.

Here’s an example. If everyone in my church claimed to be President Obama, they would all be wrong. They would all be false Obamas. There is only one President Obama. However, that we all can properly identify President Obama against the lookalikes and copycats, does not prevent us from believing that President Obama exists. Yet this is what the atheist declares when he says he believes in one less Obama than you.

In fact, knowing the one real Obama is how the false ones can be identified as false. Since the atheist claims not to know God, there is no way of knowing any god is true. Strangely, this gives the atheist more reason to blindly believe in Santa Claus, Zeus, Thor, or the flying spaghetti monster than any Christian. They do not know which is real, so they are all legitimate possibilities when considering any god at all. This is why the atheist thinks the Christian god is no different than the others. Not knowing the true God means Jehovah is no different Baal.

In this way, the atheist sounds like a single woman who has not met the right man, and as a result jumps to the hopeless error that men don’t exist. That is silly, and so are atheists. There is a true God, atheists just do not know him.

Christians Who Think Like Atheists

Atheists are not the only ones to make this mistake in thinking. Christians who have never been taught to rightly divide the scriptures get frustrated at trying to understand the Bible. With so many interpretations, who is right?

It is not uncommon for the Christian confused about the Bible to throw their hands in the air and claim that the Bible cannot be understood and that there is no truth at all.

When someone learns how to rightly divide the Bible, and begins to understand it, they realize how much wrong teaching there is in the world. Rejecting a million wrong teachings is not a rejection of truth, it is a greater understanding of it.

Understanding the Bible rightly divided will help you discern truth from error and right from wrong. Denying false gods and false teachings does not mean Christians deny truth, it means they can discern truth and become stronger Christians.

The lack of strong Bible believing rightly dividing Christians is what creates atheists who deny all claims to know truth. I contend that the Christian who does not rightly divide and the atheist are both in the same boat; neither knows how to discern right and wrong from scripture.

One God, One Truth, One Bible Rightly Divided

When a scientist rejects false science, it does not make him a denier of all science, but a denier of wrong science. There is a big difference. If more evolutionists grasped this there would be less claims that creationists reject all science (Bill Nye), but many evolutionists are either atheists or Christians who fail to rightly divide… go figure.

If there is a right answer, there is only one, no more and no less. There are millions of wrong answers.

If there is a right God, there must be only one, no more and no less. There are millions of false gods.

Believing in one less God than the Christian is a denial of what is true and right. This is the big predicament for the atheist. How do they know what is right?

There is one God; there is one truth. There is one Lord Jesus Christ who is the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9). There is one Bible which is God’s word, and it must be rightly divided.

A failure to discern what is right will lead to a rejection of it. For the atheist, believing in one less god than the Christian monotheist makes all the difference in the world.

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Published: July 9, 2016
Last Modified: September 1, 2018
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