A Large Red Atheist “A” and the “Ichthus”

ichthusThere’s a trend now among atheists to “come out” with their atheism by wearing t-shirts and displaying a large red “A” on their blogs or websites (reminiscient of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter I guess). I suggest a better symbol, under which to parade a more substantial worldview.

Well known among archeological discoveries is the repeated “fish” symbol.

Its popularity among Christians many centuries ago was due to the five Greek letters that make it up, each of which stands for a Greek word confessing their Christian belief and identity. The Greek letters are…
I – iota
X – chi
H – theta
Y – upsilon (with breathing mark)
S – sigma

I Greek word “Iesous” which means “Jesus”
CH Greek word “Christos” which means “Christ”
TH Greek word “Theos” which means “God”
U Greek word “Uios” which means “Son”
S Greek word “Soter” which means “Savior”

Icthus is the Greek word for “fish,” and Christians saw each of its letters standing for a word, i.e., Iesous Christos Theou Huios Soter, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”

That was a succinct and very definite expression of Christian conviction, emanating from the earliest days of the church (Green, Michael, Who Is This Jesus? 120,121).

In the early days of Christianity, Christians were often persecuted for their faith. In order to ascertain who was “friend” or “foe”, a Christian would draw only half of the ichthus (fish symbol). If the person they were talking to drew the other half to complete the ichthus, they could usually be sure that they were talking to a friend. The fish also came to stand for a belief system that answered the deeper questions of life with Christ at the very center of this belief system. And His authority over death makes this a living symbol.

As for the large red atheist “A”, it stands for nothing. There is no one to whom it points; no worldview that can answer life’s deeper questions is represented by it; and it merely stands for anything that is anti-Christian.

Instead of “coming out” with an empty atheist “A”, stick with the “ichthus”, a symbol pregnant with meaning, power, and a Person who said, “I am the truth” and who offers you an opportunity to “come in” for relationship rather than “come out” for a false sense of pseudo-community with people who happen to have an “A” on their shirt or blog.



Filed under Atheism, Christianity, Ichthus, Jesus Christ, Uncategorized

6 responses to “A Large Red Atheist “A” and the “Ichthus”

  1. What abject silliness you have written in this entry, labelling Atheists as a mere ‘pseudo-community’ (minority, certainly, but there are more Atheists then Jewish people within the United States of America and there are certainly Jewish communities) and even going so far (stretching logical thinking to breaking point) as claiming the Red A is “anti-Christian”.

    The A may mean nothing to you but it may mean more to Atheists who are sick and tired of such derogatory entries as this. But then, I doubt you even considered that.

    Personally, I’m a fan of that evolutionary walking fish symbol since it has that comedic element to it.

  2. I prefer the Humanist “Happy Human”.

  3. You cite the Scarlet Letter but then conclude that the scarlet “A” has no meaning. Inconsistent.

    You claim that atheism is anti-Christian when in reality it’s simply a refutation of religious hypotheses. For example, atheists refute that an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and benevolent god or gods is, was or ever will be present. Just because Christianity happens to fall in that category doesn’t give you license to narrowly tailor atheism as some kind of crusade. Atheists aren’t positing any hypotheses. We simply refute existing ones. Should we call Christians anti-Islam, anti-Hindu or anti-Taoist? It’s preposterous.

    You treat atheism as a belief system when it’s simply no more than a community of very different individuals whose common understanding is that all current religious concepts are either untestable, unfounded or negligibly probable.

  4. But atheism’s large red “A” is a crusade and atheism is a worldview. I’ve argued this until I’m blue in the face. When you assert “There is no God” you assert many things. It is not a simple assertion without repercussion. Once you understand this, then perhaps you will want to rethink your atheism.


  5. Question: Why are you linking to blog entries you’ve made to try to back up your (erroneous) claims when the very comments of that entry show you to be really rather wrong?

  6. Pingback: What We Cannot NOT Know - The Witness of Deep Conscience « Spiritual Questions Blog

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