A close Christian friend of mine and I were speaking on the telephone this morning. She confided in me that she had become deeply concerned that her male partner, who has demonstrated deep care and commitment to her, is an avowed atheist. She asked me to help her understand this, and if she should be concerned. She knows I am not a Christian, per se. She also knows I can out-Christian any Christian or apologist. And I do mean any. For this reason, she trusts me rather deeply on questions of discernment.
Here are my (off the top of my head) answers.
First, imagine a man who actually does believe in something, but is unwilling to believe anything like the common people, who demand that he state and concretize his beliefs so ridiculously that he simply adopts this as a defense against constantly ambient spiritual stupidity. He does not actually have a committed position, but has to project one, because he is constantly undergoing conversion attempts and faith-checks everywhere he goes. Most of those conducting these have the spiritual intelligence of… a drunk rhinoceros, so… he adopts atheism as a simple defense against this entire bulwark of raging public ignorance. He is a better man than most Christians or Muslims, but he does not call himself anything except an atheist. This actually releases him from most of the unbearable dialogues with idiocy that the average ‘believer’ will table as forcible and true.
Second, imagine you are a father. You have twins — James and Jack! You are overjoyed, and you are also devoutly, conservatively, evangelically Christian. Maybe you are even Pentecostal. Here’s what happens as they grow up. James becomes an avowed atheist. Jack becomes a Pentecostal Christian Minister. This is where things get a bit confusing.
James, it turns out, is the model of a noble, holy man. He is adoring, attentive, kind, wise, selfless, and profoundly, intelligently heroic. He lives simply, and does not cache enormous wealth. He has a small home and a single electric car. He is temperate, and cannot be tempted by power, fame, promises of spiritual gifts, or almost anything else. Ever. Everywhere he goes he is a beacon to those around him, a comfort, an ally, and even a protector. In fact, almost no one has any criticisms of him except, perhaps, that he is too willing to overlook abuse or mistreatment. He is beloved by friends, family and strangers alike. He is, effectively, what we would otherwise call a Saint. But he is an atheist. He has read and understands the Bible, and has many fascinating perspectives and ideas about it. But he does not discuss them with his family because it is inconsiderate and confusing for nearly everyone involved. Lastly, he is not terribly wealthy, proud, famous or popular beyond his own circle of intimate friends and colleagues.
Jack, on the other hand, is wildly popular. He has a following of 450,000 people. He has 15 homes and 35 cars. He is a millionaire, and has a television show. And he is demonic. He absolutely clings to Christ as his personal advocate and reason for being, and knows scripture backwards and forwards. He is a rhetorical hit-man, and can sling a Bible passage like a howitzer. But he, although married with 8 children, is a horrible man. He beats his wife and children. He rapes people in his congregation… spiritually, financially, and intellectually. Sometimes physically. He cannot be corrected, and is absolutely assured of his righteousness in Christ/God. He is, in short, absolutely evil. But he is Christian, and avows this. And he is a preacher, too… so he has accomplishes the Biblical admonition of being fruitful with his sacred investment… according to… him alone. People who actually know him, despise him. This includes his wife and children. Even you. But people who do not know him, worship and idolize him.
And he is your one Christian child.
Now, as a Christian father? Which one would fulfill your hopes for their souls more? Which one might you prefer to spend time with? Which one would make you feel you had accomplished something as a parent, or as a Christian?
What if you were GOD. Not the Christian God… but an actually intelligent God?
What if you were the Christian God?
What if you were Christ, himself?
The answer is simple: James is holy. Jack? He is a parasitic mimic.
And Third: Suppose you are a Christian preacher or Christ himself. You encounter an atheist. You want to warn them, but you then realize something important: only God can know how much atheism is required in this person’s lifeso that they can, later, finally undergo the second birth and spiritual conversion. But how will you (you are not God, remember) discern when the proper moment is for them to emerge from their atheism (which most are actually born with, no? ) into their Christianity?
Since you cannot know God’s ‘plan’ for this person ( or anyone else ), why would you believe that you know –when in their life or situations- they should convert to belief? How would you tell whether or not it was absolutely crucial to their salvation that they, like everyone (nearly or truly) continue to spend more time without belief, so that later, that pressure would become the catalyst that accomplishes their perfect conversion?
As you cannot know the answer to this: you are playing God. And in God’s name. And condemning or threatening people who you know nothing about the actual spiritual condition of, since only God’s perspective is timeless, and yours is absolutely bound to temporality. By presuming you can tell who should and should not be Christian, and when this should happen you have usurped God’s position, stupidly,recklessly, and lethally. This is a mortal sin.
Never, ever, make this sin.
Answer: Your lover is at least as holy as you. Possibly more. Be careful about using incredibly ignorant standards… for anything at all… but especially?
For evaluating people you adore, and who adore you.
#Christ #Christianity #Islam #faith #atheism #intelligence #peace #Christmas #war #hate #ignorance #question