It is Holy Week for Christians all over the globe. I remember growing up that most of the local channels would only have religious programmes during this time of year i.e. pre-cable TV era. In that tradition of bringing the Gospel, I’d like continue it but now using a different media.
I saw the following quote re-posted by a high school mentor from one of the church signs found in social networks.
“God prefers kind atheists over hateful Christians.”
In my reply, I noted that this premise is false. So, allow me explain the logic behind such reasoning. Let me start on the hateful Christian clause. At first glance, this should be a no-brainer right? One part of the greatest commandment expounded by Jesus is our “love for our neighbor.” So, is hate bad? Not necessarily, if you have the proper context. Remember the phrase,
“Hate the Sin, not the Sinner.”
Thus, not all anger and hate are unjust. If you abhor something that is evil, wouldn’t you correct it? The only problem is most of us don’t exercise the virtues of prudence, and temperance or self-control, some of the gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit.
In comparison, a hate-filled person is someone who only nourishes anger to fill his heart rather than focusing on correcting others. This leads some to extremist behaviour which results into “irrational” violence, or false claims of holy wars. Again, take note of the irrational word since there are justified wars to eradicate pagan religion throughout history as illustrated in the Old Testament. Worship of other than the “One True God” is an abomination as mentioned in the first commandment.
This leads us to the second point, the kind atheists. By definition, atheists denies the existence of a deity or god. And we can clearly see how the Bible has repeatedly mentioned such subject,
*[[Psa 14:1]] ISV* Fools say to themselves, “There is no God.” They are corrupt and commit evil deeds; not one of them practices what is good.
This message is repeated exactly in Psalm 53. Granted that we can’t assume that atheists don’t perform any kind deed or acts. An oxymoron to above’s passage from the Bible. Shouldn’t that merit something in God’s justice? Let us note that there is no salvation other than Christ Jesus. What does that mean? It means that we cannot “merit” our way to the kingdom of heaven through our kind acts. It should be our belief and our love for the “One True God” on why we perform good deeds in the first place.
*[[Gal 2:16]] ISV* yet we know that a person is not justified by doing what the Law requires, but rather by the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah. We, too, have believed in the Messiah Jesus so that we might be justified by the faithfulness of the Messiah and not by doing what the Law requires, for no human being will be justified by doing what the Law requires.”
Denying God and his very existence is an unkind act since it doesn’t acknowledge the love that God has shown to us. Fortunately, God is a “just” Father since He is willing to accept those who would repent of their ways and their unbelief. Although, I cannot claim God’s will, the premise of the original quote is God’s preference from one over another. Hopefully, I was able to illustrate that neither makes sense if we consult the Bible’s teachings.
In conclusion, I’d rather re-phrase such church sign into the following,
“God prefers a REPENTANT atheist over a HATE-FILLED Christian.”
Is it nit-picking or being legalistic? Is it bashing another religion’s views since it came from another denomination? No, my take is that the original quote tries to soften Christian belief and confuses people that he/she can just be good and be on his own path. Something that a human-centered religion likes to promote.
Can you be kind and socially responsible but deny the existence of your maker? If you can acknowledge your earthly parents, how much more should we recognize the one who brought life to this universe?