In order to eliminate atheism for good, I would have to fix all that is wrong with christianity. I think that if christians did "only" what Jesus did, that there would be a lot less outspoken and angry atheists. As I read the Bible, I don't see Jesus preaching a message of judgement and condemnation. I see Jesus helping people and telling others to help people. I see Jesus showing God's love to people. In fact, the only time I see Jesus speaking harsh at all, was when He was criticizing the pharisees. They were so convinced that they had "earned" their way to heaven and Jesus warned them that they were in danger of God's wrath. He even went as far as to tell them that, not only were they not getting into heaven, but those they had deemed unworthy of heaven "would" be in heaven.
Anyway, I want to take an atheist argument about atheism and turn it around on christians. Atheists have told me that atheism is NOT a belief. They state that "not" playing checkers isn't a belief, so atheism isn't either. I decided to take it a step further and ask the question "why isn't NOT playing a checkers a belief?" And I think it has to do with the attitude of the people who DO play checkers rather than those who don't. Let me explain.
In checkers you have rules. In checkers there are certain ways that you do things and certain ways you don't. People who play checkers are sometimes very passionate and enthusiastic about playing checkers. They have big tournaments with prizes, and they are a real big deal to these "checkers players." But people who play checkers don't criticize other people who play checkers. There are several different versions of checkers and people don't go around saying that their version of checkers is the "right" one and everyone else is wrong. Checkers players don't make fun of chess players and proclaim that chess players are wrong. As I stated earlier, checkers players have rules that they play by, but they don't freak out if someone doesn't like their rules. They just choose to not play with them. Checkers players don't run for political office and then try to force other people to play checkers; by "their" rules. Checkers players don't try to pass laws based on their rules and belief that checkers is fun. They don't try to force people to play checkers, who don't want to play checkers.
But what if they did? What if people who played checkers did all the things I listed above? I can assure you that people would rise up against them. People who didn't want to play checkers would proclaim their right to "not" play checkers and not be judged for it. These people would most likely organize themselves and look for political attention to create awareness of their persecution. They would write blogs about it being ok, to not like checkers. They would proclaim that not everybody wants to play checkers and they have the right to decide that for themselves. They might even create a logo for themselves, and before you know it, they would have a "movement" going. A movement that was fighting for the rights and freedom to NOT play checkers.
Of course, I am painting a ridiculous and exaggerated comparison. But am I? What if christians never did the things that I talked about checkers players doing? What if all christians were known for, was helping people in need. What if christians never preached about how bad people were, or how they were "sinners" and needed to repent so they didn't spend forever in hell? Why can't christians do that? Jesus didn't come with a message of hell, fire, and brimstone. He talked about heaven. He talked about His Father. He talked about forgiving your enemy. Don't get me wrong, He talked about the dangers of sin. He talked about being a good person. And I don't think atheists have a problem with that message. They would agree that we need to be good people. They would agree that there are consequences for being bad. What I never saw Jesus do, was point out to someone how bad they were. How they were a "sinner" who needed to change their wicked ways or they would spend eternity in hell.
He did speak like that on about 3 occasions. He spoke like that to the pharisees. The so called "religious experts." The one's who proclaimed that "they" had it all figured out. Jesus very clearly informed them, that they absolutely did NOT have it figured out.
I am not saying that we don't have to be saved from our sins because we do. We all do things that are wrong, from time to time. But that is not the point of heaven. God is not about "avoiding" hell. He is about having a relationship with. When I converted to christianity, it wasn't because someone told me what a horrible sinner I was. Someone took the time to share God with me. And that message was about love, mercy, and grace. Had he sat me down and told me about my sin, and how wicked I was, I probably would have walked away and would still be an atheist today. Or at the very least, a strong agnostic. But I was lucky. Someone who cared about me, taught me about mercy and grace and the rest grew from that perspective.