Friday, April 26, 2013

A BENEFIT OF BEING AN ATHEIST

ON THURSDAY NIGHT OF THIS WEEK I attended a debate on the campus of the University of California in Santa Cruz.The topic, "Does ethics need a foundation in God?" It was a debate between my brother-in-Christ, Dr. Peter Payne of the international ministry to graduate students: The Institute for Credible Christianity. Dr. Payne debated a young atheist on the topic and if I were to give points most, if not all, would go to Dr. Payne.

I was saddened by some of the responses of Dr. Payne's opponent for they often bordered on immature slander of anyone of faith, Christian or other.

As I was running this afternoon through the beauty of God's handiwork at Henry Cowell State Park I mused the debate's discussion from the night before. Suddenly I was stuck but two thoughts, the first was a deep sense to pray for the young atheist debater and second, and this was the one that really grabbed me, I realized that there is a great benefit to being an atheist.

That benefit is that you will never have to suffer the grief and pain that comes from having someone blaspheme your god. Since you don't believe in any deity you never have to suffer the stab to the chest feeling that comes when someone purposefully takes cheap shots at the God who not only gives your life meaning, but who is your life.

So, I guess being an atheist has its benefits. But, truth be known, I would rather suffer the pain that came when I heard my God and Savior treated with only foolish mockery by a man who cared more for himself than the true feelings of another person and their beliefs. Seriously, I hurt for this young man and in some sense Jesus' words on the cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do," rang truer in my heart today.

I personally do not hold that all religious roads lead to the same place, but I also hold to treating those I may disagree with, with respect and compassion. Something which this young atheist seem to say is inherent in humankind, thus there is no need for ethics to have a foundation in God, and yet his responses from time to time seemed anything but caring.

Oh well, I am just a simple-minded pastor, who chooses to believe in a God who is there, and who has entered our history to save the likes of sinners like me. Yes, atheism may have a benefit, but truthfully friends, I sticking with the truth I know, by faith I have, in a God whose grace knows no bounds. I will be willing to suffer the pain when my God is cheapen to less than trash, and maybe in doing so understand in a small portion what my Savior suffered for me.

And for our young atheist...well, Father forgive him for he knows not what he does.

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