Category Archives: Ichthus

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

Transliterated…
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.

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