Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thinking About Disbelievers (or is it Unbelievers?)

A couple of days ago I posted an atheist joke. You see, I have had atheists on my mind lately, and I am not sure how to segue into the topic. I thought maybe a little light hearted humour would work, but, instead, it has given me nightmares that B-Bub, Jolly Atheist, and Skeptimal found it and were deeply hurt and offended because they thought I was a theist who would be respectful to them, but apparently am not.
My interest in atheists (not atheism, btw) begin a few months ago. A man by the name of P.Z. Meyers desecrated a consecrated host on his blog. Catholics (like myself), believe that the host, once it becomes consecrated, is actually the body of Jesus. Let's just say I did not take it lightly in my heart. I was very angry. I think I actually found myself hating him, until, during prayer, the voice of Jesus spoke to my heart (He did not speak to me audibly. I don't doubt that He speaks to some audibly, but usually, I feel His voice rather than hear it, so voice might not be the right word, but I am going to use it anyway. If you know a better word, let me know. ). His voice said to me "Pray for P.Z. Meyers, don't hate him." I actually told Jesus that I can't help but hate P.Z. after what he did to Jesus. Jesus's voice (in my heart), said "Helen, I forgave him for what he did 2000 years ago, right from the cross, just as I forgave you then, too. Pray that P.Z. Meyers will also receive my Grace."
So, long story short (okay, maybe too late) I have been praying for P.Z. Meyers. Off and on. I am not quite as obedient as I ought to be, but I have been better since finding the blog of The Raving Theist.. His URL is still, since, up until recently, he was an atheist.
I am so glad that I found his blog! So many atheists comment on his sight! I usually don't answer in his comment section, unless I can either keep it light, or am moved by the Spirit. Most of the time, the Holy Spirit is not giving me the words to answer, so I sit back and read how He told others to respond. Sometimes it gets heated, and I am not sure if a line has been crossed, but that is not what I mean to be getting at...
Many of the atheists claim to be trying to appeal to reason, but they sound so broken hearted. So many seem to be denying God because His people have hurt them.......Anyway, it seems that while not so long ago I was blaming hubris for why atheists don't believe in God, and now I have come to the conclusion that it was my own hubris causing me to lack compassion for the atheists. My faith is not unreasonable, though it is beyond reason....."Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 . Some unbelieving commenters can quote that verse as well as us, but they see it as a demand to be unreasonable rather than to move beyond reason. The ability to move beyond is a gift from God, and I ought to be praying for unbelievers to receive that gift.
So, I am grateful to The Raving Theist (formerly known as The Raving Atheist). From reading his unbelieving commenters, I now can sincerely pray for P.Z. Meyers, as well as people whose arguments have moved me to tears (for them). I wonder what God is thinking when he hears me say "God bless The Jolly Atheist, Unspeakably Violent Jane, B-bub (you know I can't call him by his chosen moniker), Skeptimal, and P.Z. Meyers....Help them to believe in and receive your grace. Please lead people into their lives who will lead them to you...". I have to say, it feels kind of funny to pray for people by their moniker instead of their name. I know God knows who they are, but do you think He finds the situation as funny as I find "How many atheists does it take to change a lightbulb...."? I mean, when He said in Isaiah "I have called you by name, you are mine..." , I know he didn't call anyone by the names I have listed, except maybe P.Z.
Oh well, I can't seem to end this any better than I started it. Have a great day! God bless you (and P.Z, and The Jolly Atheist, and B-bub, and Unspeakably Violent Jane, and Skeptimal....)


Annie K said...

Truly spoken from your passionate heart. ;)

Ryan B said...

That's cool Helen. In two weeks, a group of us from Campus Crusade are going to be having a potluck dinner with the Cal Poly Brights (The agnostic or atheist club). I think that this will be a good time to share the gospel with them while also forming bonds and friendships with people and loving. It should be pretty neat.

I'll check out the Raving Theist's blog.

Beth said...

Hmmmm...I find it very sad when others have been hurt by God's people and as a result, blame God or don't believe in him altogether. It doesn't make a whole lot of logical sense to respond like that (God's people still aren't perfect! That doesn't excuse sin, I know, but it's true.), but it happens a lot. I would be very dark and broken-hearted if I didn't know Jesus. Ok. Not sure that made sense...but thanks for sharing this with us, Helen!
And I think the potluck with the atheist/agnostic club is a pretty sweet idea, Ryan. I'll pray it goes well.

Helen said...

Ryan, I will pray for the Cal Poly Brights to eventually see the light.

Beth, I know what you mean. It is sad that they don't want to know Jesus because they have judged Him by those who follow Him, and find us lacking. But then, compared to Him, of course we are lacking. I guess that is one of the reasons for good a living testimony to Him.

katdish said...

I think Francis Chan said something about how much better it would be if people had a beef with God and not the church. While many atheists claim logical reasons and scientific evidence to support their unbelief, once you begin to peel away the layers, it often goes back to some painful experience (often with Christians) that lead to their disbelief. You are on the right track, Helen. Keep praying. I will, too.

sherri said...

A new friend I've met who is not a Christian quoted Gandhi, "I like your Christ, I don't like your Christians. Your Christians are not like your Christ."

I think that is a sad, but very true statement all too often.

We need to listen closely to their reasons for not believing. We would learn so much.

AGain, I will say read Matthew and see how Jesus related to the those who were turned away by the pious religious leaders. Lots of great lessons there.

We need to remember who we are representing.