This post is adapted from Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word by Voddie Baucham.
Believe No One Who Calls Himself an Atheist
If what Paul says in Romans 1, is true, there is ultimately no such thing as an atheist. Anyone who calls himself one is wrong on at least three fronts.
First, someone who claims to be an atheist is suppressing the truth he knows. According to Romans 1, “What can be known about God is plain to them” (v. 19), and their denial is an expression of the fact that they are among those “men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (v. 18). Therefore, whatever they believe about themselves, the God who made them says otherwise, and we must believe God rather than man.
Second, anyone who claims to be an atheist is contradicting the God of truth. It is one thing for a person to be wrong about himself. It is quite another thing for him to be in disagreement with what God says about him. God says every man knows. Therefore, anyone who says he doesn’t know is calling God a liar. It’s a bit like a man arguing with his mother about what day he was born. Only in this case, it’s not his mother, but his inerrant, infallible, Creator.
Third, anyone who claims to be an atheist is ignoring his greatest need, and his only hope for its fulfillment. Man’s greatest and ultimate need is God. Apart from God, man is incomplete. Moreover, he is utterly incapable of achieving or attaining what he lacks. This is what drove Solomon to write, “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” (Eccles. 2:11). This is the state of every person apart from God.