Devout Faithlessness

Devout Faithlessness
Vol: 19 Issue: 26 Friday, February 26, 2016

The new Billy Graham of unbelief is Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and author of the number one best-selling book on religion called ”The God Delusion.”

That isn’t a typo. Dawkins is the author of Publisher’s Weekly’s best-seller in the RELIGION category for his book arguing that belief in God is delusionary.

Dawkins, a professor at Oxford University, whose first literary success was a book called “The Selfish Gene”, wrote in “The God Delusion”:

“I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented. . .”

Given that statement, it is amusing that Dawkins’ number one indictment against believers is ‘religious intolerance.’

Another prominent atheist, Sam Harris, is the author of a new book entitled “Letter to a Christian Nation” in which Harris equates Christianity with slavery, which he says was once acceptable, but is now looked upon with horror.

Thus, he argues, shall it be when the world awakens from its religious delusion to discover that there is no God. According to Harris’ previous book, “The End of Faith” belief in God is responsible for many of life’s tragedies.

Thanks to books like these and the formation of groups like the “Rational Reaction Squad” and “The Secular Coalition for America”, atheism is becoming the hottest new religion on the world scene.

Why do I call atheism a religion? Well, it meets all the tests for religion. It worships a supreme being [man]. It is faith-based. An atheist is one who has complete faith in the absence of a Creator God.

It is incumbent upon the tenets of his religious faith that he spread his gospel of unbelief with the same fervor as any old-time fundamentalist preacher.

The Rational Response Squad, for example, has issued a ‘blasphemy challenge’ via the video website, “YouTube”. Their “blasphemy challenge” calls on young nonbelievers to create videos in which they renounce belief in the “sky God of Christianity” and upload it on the site.

In return they’ll receive a free documentary DVD, “The God Who Wasn’t There,” which includes interviews with Dawkins, Harris, and others. RRS is also publicizing its campaign on 25 popular teen websites.

And it consigns those who adhere to a different religion than secular humanism or atheism to a kind of secular ‘hell’ reserved for the superstitious where they are ostracized and belittled for their beliefs.

RSS co-founder Brian Sapient told the Christian Science Monitor that the purpose of the ‘blasphemy challenge’ was to “strike up more of a conversation about religion, and this was a way for people to show their nonbelief and encourage others to come out.”

The ‘blasphemy challenge’, according to Sapient, has garnered some 490 entries so far, while the trailer for their DVD, “The God Who Wasn’t There” has been previewed some 85,000 times.

Sapient insists that “you don’t really respect people unless you speak up when you think their beliefs are wrong.”

It’s OK with him, he adds, if religious people try to convince him they are right. He enjoys the debate.

Assessment:

At this point, I have to ask the obvious question — why? What difference can it make to an atheist that somebody else believes in a ‘mythical’ God? If there is no heaven, why would an atheist care if he isn’t going?

If there is no hell and no soul, why would an atheist find eternal damnation in a mythical place for a part of them they do not believe exists ‘intolerant’?

If there is no reward beyond the trials and tribulations of this life, then why bother trying to spread their doctrine of devout faithlessness to young people?

And, finally, if there is no hope of eternity, no certainty of accountability, and no moral absolutes regarding right and wrong, why such devotion to spreading the Gospel of Bad News?

The answer, according to the website, “About Atheism”, is because atheists had “bad religious experiences when growing up, bad religious experiences currently, and a sense of unease over the involvement of religion in problems going on today.”

Of course, that isn’t an answer. Christians have had bad experiences growing up, bad religious experiences today, and share a sense of unease over the involvement of religion in problems today.

But that isn’t why Christians share the Gospel. They share the Gospel for the same reason they would awaken a homeowner in the middle of the night to tell him his house is on fire. So that he can take action to save himself from the flames.

Why do atheists spread their gospel? I’ve yet to find an answer to that question that doesn’t scream intolerance. Which would be ok with me, if they didn’t pretend that their intolerance was born out of MY intolerance.

I don’t care if atheists don’t agree with me. I cheerfully admit I don’t agree with them. But I wouldn’t debate an atheist for the mere sake of debate. I will be happy to discuss my beliefs with them, should they want to know, but I’ve long since abandoned any interest in ‘convincing’ an unbeliever that I am ‘right’ and they are ‘wrong’.

The Bible lays out the formula for salvation. One is called by the Father to the Son, and is convicted by the Holy Spirit. The formula for faith is expressed thusly:

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

As Christians, our job is to;

“Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1st Peter 3:15)

It is NOT my job to force-feed that reason to those who don’t want to hear it. If they don’t want to hear the Gospel, Jesus gives us a formula for THAT, too.

“And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” (Luke 9:5)

Jesus says that salvation is a holy thing that He likened to a fine pearl. If you were to offer someone, say, a brand-new car, no strings attached, and they refused the offer, would you continue to pressure them to take it? Or would you offer it to someone who wanted or needed it?

Jesus cautioned the Church,

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7:6)

It would be fair to say that most atheists have been offered the pearl of salvation. If one reads their literature, they almost always claim to have once been a Christian until they discovered they had ‘been lied’ to by religious leaders.

Some time back, I was baited by an atheist into an email debate on atheism vs. Christianity. Being somewhat naive, I responded to a few of his questions, hoping that maybe I was the one God would use to lead this person to Christ.

His responses were insulting, demeaning, condescending, arrogant and nasty. When I informed him that I no longer wished to continue the debate, he ran an all-out campaign on his website in which he claimed he had vanquished me in the debate.

He published my responses out of context and used them to build his own reputation as a ‘debater’ on my unwillingness to join him in the gutter.

I offered him the pearl of great price, and, as the Lord predicted, he trampled it underfoot before turning on me to ‘rend’ me. In the end, it wasn’t about the Gospel, but about who ‘won’ the debate.

Nobody won. I looked like an idiot, and he not only went away content in his unbelief, but used my good intentions to discredit the message I was trying to convey. It was an ugly exchange that taught me a valuable lesson.

Debating is a contest of skill in which the presentation of ideas is more important than the ideas themselves. It edifies the debaters, not the message they are debating. The winner gets ‘bragging rights’ whether he sways his opponent or not. It’s about pride. Not about truth.

The same can be said for the endless debates within the Church over minor points of doctrine, like the timing of the Rapture. I believe the Bible clearly indicates a pre-trib Rapture. I also believe a pre-trib Rapture is a key to understanding the outline of Bible prophecy.

John writes to the Church;

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1st John 4:4)

“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1st John 5:5)

But during the Tribulation, John says of the beast,

“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” (Revelation 11:7)

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation 13:7)

Without a pre-trib Rapture, this would present a clear contradiction. I cannot be ‘overcome’, says the Scriptures, because He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world.

But if I am here during the Tribulation, then I can be overcome by the beast. Where did ‘He that was in me’ go?

Still, the timing of the Rapture is a minor point of doctrine because it plays no bearing on whether or not someone is truly saved. It merely aids in understanding the difference between the Church Age and the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” and answers the charge that the Bible contradicts itself.

So I don’t engage in hostile debate on that subject anymore than I would engage in a hostile debate an atheist. If I win the argument with another believer, that believer is just as saved as if I had lost. Again, since nobody wins anything of any eternal importance, it is an exercise in pride.

The Scriptures say,

“. . . Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5)

The Scripture warns of the last days,

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)

Debating the existence of God with an atheist is like debating the circumference of the earth with a member of the Flat Earth Society. Before you can discuss the circumference, one must first establish the earth is round.

Proving the earth is round destroys the other’s argument and no debate is necessary. But without first agreeing that the earth is round, no further debate is possible.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But SHUN PROFANE AND VAIN BABBLINGS : for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker. . .” (2nd Timothy 2:15-17a)

“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” (2nd Timothy 2:23)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 4, 2007.

Featured Commentary: The Church’s One State Solution ~ Alf Cengia

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