This is the first of 24 posts for the season of advent, on the theme of idolatry . Over the last year, I have heard and read several people commenting, the debate is not so much about atheism as about idolatry. I haven't seen any sustained argument to this effect and so my aim is to explore it in some depth over the advent season. I do not mean atheism and idolatry are alternatives. What I am getting at is the debate about faith has been set by atheists: on their terms it is about the existence of God.
Does the title imply I think atheism is idolatrous? Only insofar as everyone is prone to idolatry. My point is that idolatry is as much a problem for atheists as it is for everyone (including Christians - oh yes) and they need to be able to show how they will dispense with their idols in much the same way as they expect Christians to dispense with theirs.
If they can show they have the resources to do this as atheists, they will deserve to be taken much more seriously by Christians than they are. Like many Christians I do not believe in the things atheists claim I believe in and that is why I find it hard to take atheism seriously. An atheism that takes idolatry seriously would be a much more serious sparring partner.
Why do this in advent? I want to take this issue slowly, reflectively, step by step. Advent is traditionally a season of fasting and contemplation. These posts will be my attempt at the latter. In addition we will find as we get into the topic plenty of seasonal relevance.