The Faith Of Atheism
The problem is we don’t live in isolation. We have families, neighborhoods, cities, counties, states and countries. We belong to communities and as much as we try we can’t avoid the responsibility of being part of a community of people. That is unless you remove yourself totally from civilization. Few go to that extreme. Instead they build fences around their homes and walls around their lives. Yet, their actions, attitudes, and choices impact people beyond themselves. This interaction is the reason we establish laws. Without rules there is chaos and no one really wants to live in anarchy.
Rules raise an interesting dilemma. They are moral decisions. If I say it is wrong to kill I am making a moral statement. If I say it is wrong to steal unless you are really hungry I have still made a moral framework for people to live. Even saying that you cannot drive faster than 25 miles an hour creates a moral choice because there are consequences to breaking the rule or moral code. But then, really, who cares?
When I became Christian I quickly learned that actions have greater consequences than I could ever imagine. No, not going to hell. When I break the moral code, whether man’s or God’s, I grieve the heart of my Heavenly Father. This may not seem like a big deal, but my heavenly Father is the one who laid the consequences of my poor choices on His Son. Through faith in that action I no longer have to worry about suffering for my sin—Jesus did that for me. Rather I have to face the grieving heart of a father who wants the best for me. God never pushes, forces, or cajoles me to be obedient, but gently encourages and disciplines so that I will walk with Him and live in His blessing. I am happiest now walking with the Father then at any other time in my life.
The atheist doesn’t have to worry about pleasing God. That has a somewhat tempting sound to it. But then again it takes a lot of faith in the human condition to believe that man is capable of designing a culture where love, respect, justice, and forgiveness will stand the test of time. The opposite has been my experience. Left to themselves man will eat its young and abandon its elderly. OK, not eat their young, but abortion for the sake of convenience and “women’s reproductive rights” is pretty close.
The atheist might say the same for Christians. The church’s history is marked with its abuses of power. But that proves the point that man has a bent toward manipulating even the best that God has to offer. However, those infractions are not an indictment on God but on the human condition. When the church follows God the way that Jesus lived and taught it has contributed most to the world.
I am glad I am no longer ambivalent. I am focused, not on my own ability, but on Christ in me. I am thankful for the boundaries my Father has set to keep me safe. I am grateful that in Him there is life and hope. I feel more free now than in any other time in my life. I am free to live and love. It is my prayer that those I love most would no longer be ambivalent, but find the same hope and peace.