Sunday, May 17, 2009
Dear Atheist, I am a Christian With No Apologies
Preface: This is not the original artist, but a nice guy named Tim off of YouTube. You’ll enjoy this version of Ray Boltz’ classic hit.
This weekend has been great. Satan has been attacking, but some of you have been kind enough to send me thoughts that will help the page only get better. I thank you guys for that.
However, I did get one letter that concerned me. I share it with you not to embarrass anyone, but to talk about a real issue that a lot of you face, people not wanting to hear the message of Christ or anything you have to say about it. I’ll briefly answer a couple of her other concerns, then I’ll get on to the issue of atheism and how to talk to anyone that may not share a Christian worldview.
Subject: I'm sorry
I'm going to have to delete you from my friends list. Im not sure why you added me, because all though I knew you back in the day, we didnt travel the same social circles and since you added me, you haven even said hello, so Im not sure if it is just a friend collection thing you are doing on facebook...
but the reason I am deleting you is Im growing tired of seeing your religious views and blog updates showing on my page.
That may sound mean or condescending and trust me it is not meant too... I just am tired of being pummeled to death with christian views. I dont smack people in the face with athiesm and I deserve the same respect.
I truly am sorry that you feel you have to delete me from our friendship here on Facebook. The reason I added you was that you and I went to high school together and while it’s true that we didn’t run in the same circle at the time, we shared several friends.
You hit a very important thing when you say that I didn’t say hello. It is a failing that I have had with the internet. I should thank every person that takes time out to even look at what I am doing. As far as collecting friends, that makes it sound like a video game and let me tell you that this is no game. Honestly, I believed that what I said in my blogs in the love of friendship was much more important than a little random hello. I’m sorry that it offended you.
When I add friends on Facebook, or any other community for that matter, I have no idea where some people stand. The only thing that I know for sure is where I stand. I am a Christian, unashamedly so. I agree that you deserve the same respect. I can say that I didn’t know much about atheism and really wish you had taken the time to talk to me about that view before we reached this spot. The last thing I want to do is offend, you or anyone else.
However, I hope that you don’t cut me off before you read the rest of this. I want to truly understand what exactly you believe, so if I am off in any way, please correct me.
Webster’s Dictionary has two definitions for atheism. The first is simply ungodliness or wickedness. The second definition is a disbelief in doctrine or that there is no deity. I believe what our conversation is more about is the second definition and not the first. What this definition tells me is that you believe there is no God or no doctrine controlling what we do while we’re here. I would assume that you do believe in the law. What I mean by this is local and federal laws.
The first thing this leads me to is a couple questions.
First, do you believe that this is the only life we have? That when we die, it’s over. No breathing, no ghosts, nothing? As a Christian, I’ll be honest. I would really struggle with that. After reading The Bible, I just can’t accept that this life is all there is. I believe in a Heaven, which also means that I believe in Hell.
That’s one of the many reasons I started One Man Revival. Let me tell you a story. When I was 18 years old, I had a friend named Steve. You might have known him, maybe not. He died in a drowning accident at Oral Lake in 1987. I wasn’t a Christian when he died, but that night he had come to me asking if we could go out. I had other plans. So did eight other friends of mine. He went out with three friends, but ended up hanging out with other people I never met. That night, they drank and decided to go out on the water and he died because the boat tipped over.
Six years later, I came to Christ. Something I’ve often wondered about in the 15 years since is where is my friend Steve. I pray that he’s in Heaven and I will see him again. I hope against hope that he isn’t in Hell. Sure, it would make my mind rest easier to think that there is no afterlife and therefore no Hell. I think you understand why. But it would also make my life and countless others a sham. That I can’t and will not accept. Life has to mean something and there has to be a destination after this life. I simply don’t accept that there is no one leading the way.
Genesis 1:1 tells us that, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” With your belief that there is no God, I ask you my next question, who or what formed everything. The potential answer I may hear is that it was a Big Bang. I simply don’t believe we are here by chance. We were made by a Creator. Genesis 1:26 explains this best, ‘Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the seas and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
I’ll share two final stories as to why I write the way I do. Chapter 4 of the book of Acts talks about Peter and John being arrested for healing people in Jerusalem. The rulers asked Peter in who’s name do they speak these truths and heal. In verse 10, they explain that “it is the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He (Jesus) is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” Verse 12 goes on: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
After debating what Peter and John did wrong, they realized they had nothing to hold them on. So in verse 18, the leaders tell them not to speak or teach in his name again. Peter’s response in verses 19-20 says it all, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
The final story is my own. In December 1992, I almost died in a diabetic coma. As I laid in that state, I didn’t get an “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment. All I saw was total darkness. Now you may debate with me that you might be correct in your no afterlife end then. But the rest of the story has changed me. It took me 16 months to accept that Christ was not only real, but real enough to save me from a burning lake of fire.
You may argue that I’m no one special. I am a stay at home dad that takes care of three children with nothing to do but cause trouble by shoving my beliefs down people’s throats. But I’ll share a couple verses that tell me different. Psalm 139:13-16 are the words of David, but they are also verses I cling to in my life because when no one, and I mean no one, would give this fat man the time of day, God did. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
So, I do not apologize over my love of a God that has saved me from Hell by loving me more than all the friends I could ever form on Facebook. The Great Commission is my order to share that love with everyone. I haven’t known you for a long time, but I do hope that you are able to forgive. I won’t ask that you read anymore of my blogs, or any at all since you’ve told me that you haven’t even bothered, but know that I have done all that I can to share that love with you. As KJ-52 says in one of his songs, I Won’t Ever Stop, for you, or anyone else. I will continue to pray for your eyes to be opened to see that God is real. You may laugh or scoff at that, but I will do that anyway. I hope that if you do choose to cease our little friendship on Facebook that you have a wonderful life.
Your friend in Christ,
So, I have shared my thoughts and what I have said to her. If you’d like to share other words in the comments, please do. If you are struggling with a decision to accept Christ as your Saviour, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise that I will return an email with encouragement on your path.
I love you guys!