Monday, February 15, 2016

What's the Score

As I was driving back home from Augusta, Georgia, there was some discussion on the radio about the plight of Christians in the US now.  Obviously, Christians have been marginalized in the public square in a big way. Whether it’s a failure of believers and the Church to make a more persuasive and winsome argument for the cause of Christ and supremacy of the Christian worldview, or it’s the dumbing-down of the American public to such a degree that they can’t recognize it, I don’t know. 

What I do know is that Justice Robert Bork aptly titled his nearly ten-year old book about our Nation (and western culture’s) downward trajectory, “Slouching Toward Gomorrah.”  If it were written today, it would have to be titled, “Running Toward Gomorrah.”  The left could at least claim credit for improving our posture and aerobic activity.  Maybe credit for our increased pace rightly belongs to Michelle’s “Let’s Move” campaign.  The last thing we’d want is to be late for our own funeral.

I just don’t understand why atheists are so mad at Christians.  I can understand why Muslims don’t like Christians; after all, Christians don’t support multiple wives, oppose stoning adulterers and homosexuals, and don’t favor the killing of those that leave the faith.  What I don’t understand is why atheists care if “simpleminded” Christians worship or promote a mythical non-existent entity? 

 At least God has a longer pedigree than the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy.  Surely, they should be more upset about those two relative newcomers.  They don’t even have a best-selling book written about them.  Just what has that non-existent Entity ever done to atheists?  Voltaire must have surely had the atheist in mind when he said, "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”  The angry atheist requires a God to rail against like Obama needs a straw man to advance his specious arguments.

Just this week, there was a news report about Juan Mendez, an Arizona atheist Democratic state Representative being barred from offering a prayer at the beginning of their legislative sessions.  Yep, the atheist wanted to offer a prayer but was denied because, get this, “he was informed in a memo issued by Republican House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro to all state representatives that no one will be allowed to lead the traditional prayer unless they intend on calling on a deity.”  Holy cow that’s rich.

According to Montenegro's memorandum, "Prayer, as commonly understood and in the long-honored tradition of the Arizona House of Representatives, is a solemn request for guidance and help from God.”

Talk about unfair.  Why shouldn’t the atheist be allowed (or aloud) to talk to someone who doesn’t exist.  After all, it’s no different from Obama, as he leads from behind, leaning over his shoulder to talk to all his followers.

So just what’s motivating these “whacky and misguided” Christians wanting to share the Good News that Jesus Christ died for sinners.  Perhaps it’s because they want people to avoid an eternity in Hell, or, conversely, enjoy an eternity in Heaven.  Imagine, paradise purchased by a Savior on a cross.  Paradise without a suicide vest - could it really be that easy?

To quote John Lennon, “Imagine there's no heaven.   It's easy if you try. No hell below us  Above us only sky… It isn't hard to do.  Nothing to kill or die for.  And no religion too.”  Yep, imagine that.

The reason I think the nonexistent God bothers the atheist so much – He stands as an invisible reminder to their innate knowledge that he’ll judge them one day.  Christ followers are the visible image of the invisible God.  A story recounted in today’s Our Daily Bread devotional gives some additional insight into how this annoying reminder works:

“At his son’s wedding reception, my friend Bob offered advice and encouragement to the newlyweds.  In his speech, he told of a football coach in a nearby town who, when his team lost a game, kept the losing score on the scoreboard all week to remind the team of their failure.  While that may be a good football strategy, Bob wisely advised, it’s a terrible strategy in marriage.  When your spouse upsets you or fails you in some way, don’t keep drawing attention to the failure. Turn off the scoreboard.”

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  

What’s the final score -- sinner to winner – thanks be to God!


Francis W. Porretto said...

-- I just don’t understand why atheists are so mad at Christians. --

Time was, this baffled me, too. More recently, I've come to believe that in the great preponderance of cases, the principal reason is envy.

Christianity is the religion of faith, hope, and charity:
-- Faith in the benevolence of God;
-- Hope for eternal life in his nearness;
-- Charity toward those he places in our path, as brothers in the quest for salvation.

These are not "mere" virtues. Consciously and sincerely embraced, they illuminate the holder from within. They make him more than he would otherwise be -- and it shows. The atheist, who for whatever reason lacks the gift of faith, cannot hope for what we do. When he does charity -- and make no mistake; many an atheist is as charitable as any Christian -- it's out of duty or sympathy rather than spiritual fellowship.

Some atheists just can't handle it, so they take refuge in spitefulness toward Christians. They denigrate our intelligence. They deride our characters as "weak." Many will accuse us of being charitable "for our own sake," rather than out of the spiritual bond a sincere Christian feels with those who suffer through no fault of their own. I've had militant atheists attack me on all three of those fronts.

My usual response is "So what does your faith do for you?"

The sputtering response is "I don't have a faith! I don't need one!"

At that point I usually smile knowingly and depart. I imagine you could tell me where the conversation would go from there.

Ron Olson said...

God bless you Colonel and Mr. P. said...

My usual response is "So what does your faith do for you?"

Classic! Thanks Fran. That made me laugh. Great point!