It seems that whenever I watch Christians debating against evolution, there is the requisite tangent equating evolution with atheism and then the claim that “no true atheist” exists because Romans 1:18-21 denies their existence:
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Yet, is the context of Roman 1:21 referring to atheists under any modern definition of the word atheist?
After all, Romans 1 continues:
22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.Amen.
I don’t personally know any atheists who worship "images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles"—which sound like idols of the graven image sort, although a Young Earth Creationist associate once told me that natural history museums filled with exhibits showing ancient “cave men” and ancient beasts are exactly those kinds of images. He told me that museums are pagan shrines where evolutionists can go to worship “evolution and millions of years.” Some YEC bloggers go so far as to say that Darwin is the object of worship at such fossil-filled museums, and that the artists’ recreations of extinct creatures are exactly what the Apostle Paul had in mind in Romans 1.
What say ye? Does Romans 1:18-21 refer to modern day atheists (regardless of whether one tosses in the evolution jabs?)
Also, when taking all scripture into account, does every atheist know that God the Creator exists? Even after we make the extra effort to distinguish the agnostic atheist from the gnostic atheist, is every atheist a liar? Does a careful look at everything around us in the universe make “honest atheism” impossible? Should anybody be telling atheists that they only pretend to lack evidence of God’s existence?
[POSTSCRIPT: I asked an assistant to keyboard this question on my behalf. I may not be available for elaborating further but I will be reading your posts with active interest.]