Thursday, July 8, 2010
An Open Letter to an Atheist
You have consistently integrated your critiques with inappropriate personal jabs. While they are never pleasant, I want to reassure you that they don’t upset me. This is not to say that I’m convinced that your jabs are all absurd. Rather, I am painfully aware that many distasteful tendencies dwell within my heart and compete for their day in the sun.
Instead, I’ve come to appreciate that my weaknesses have become my strengths (2 Cor. 12:9-10). It is my weaknesses – failures, inadequacies, insecurities – that remind me how blessed I am having a God who loves me beyond anything I can understand (Eph. 3:16-19) and forgives and cleanses me of all my sins and ugliness (1 John 1:8-9).
I need no longer feel ashamed of myself and can accept myself for who I am – and it ain’t always very pretty – because I know that He accepts me and will never leave me. This means that I need not return insult for insult. Nor need I become defensive, because my life is no longer about me but about my Savior. Say what you want about me, however true your attacks might be. It just makes me adore Him more!
Of course, you don’t believe any of this. You believe that my God is just a matter of self-delusion, but I would ask you to consider something. Denial of reality and self-delusions always come at a high price. First of all, flights into unreality are alienating, not only from the truth, but also from ourselves and others, with whom we can only relate meaningfully if we share the same reality. Denial also condemns us to internal conflict, having to continuing fight against the dis-confirming internal evidence that indicts our delusions.
In contrast to this dim assessment of the costs of dwelling in unreality, studies have found that those who believe as I rate themselves as happier and better-adjusted than atheists. (We can observe the same thing when we compare the experience of atheistic/communistic countries with those countries which have emerged from a Christian womb. Delusions seriously interfere with sound management and problem solving, yet the Christian West has led the way in so many ways. How would you explain this?