Thursday, July 14, 2011

Atheism Gives Liberation

One atheist triumphantly described his atheism in this manner:

• To become “converted” … to atheism is, indeed, inspiring. It’s extremely liberating to realize that there is no Big Guy in the sky watching over your every move (particularly, for reasons that are not at all clear, the moves you make in the privacy of your own bedroom).

I told him that I appreciated his openness in this matter. It was illuminating. Often, after I would share my testimony of liberation, atheists would counter that they too had been liberated after rejecting the notion of a God! I found this troubling and didn’t know how to respond. However, I’ve subsequently learned that liberation means entirely different things for different people. For the Christian, liberation is from sin and all its many effects; for the atheist, liberation is from the hated, watching God, as Jesus stated:

• “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.” (John 7:7)

God is hated and then rejected because He reveals the truth about us. This is something that we ordinarily find intolerable:

• This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (John 3:19-21)

We either hate the light and want freedom from the light, or we love the light, because we have found consolation and forgiveness in the light. Those who hate the light will also hate those who stand in the light:

• If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. (John 15:18-20).

Perhaps this will help me to accept the fact that Christ will be hated, along with those who love Him, and that only a small number will come to Him, truly? Slowly?

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