Friday, August 1, 2008

Are You Threatening Me?

A few weeks ago, I was browsing some atheist blogs when I came upon an atheist who was typically furious at God for not existing. It was the usual story of pain and suffering and of profound disappointment with a God who wasn’t there to help her in her time of need. In her post she stated:
a) Hell does not exist and
b) If there is a hell, God is “100% loving” so He’ll make sure that I won’t go to hell.

Remember, as an atheist this 100% loving God is the same God that she doesn’t believe in. Talk about jumping on your horse and riding off in all directions at once.

So I used some verses from the Bible that showed where she was mistaken. When I “warned” her as to what the Bible actually says, she just freaked. She accused me of threatening her and of being mean spirited. She said I was thinking that I was better than other people and of being self-righteous. All the bile and vicious comments just came spewing out of her. Christopher Hitchens would have been proud. And I’m thinking, ‘What’s up with that?’ I mean, she was the one who brought it up. She was the one who was misrepresenting what Jesus says on the subject. All I did was try to warn her.

So my question is, Why do atheists react like that? Why do they feel so threatened when they hear verses from the Bible that talk about a place they say doesn’t exist and a Being they say is no more real than an invisible teapot? Don’t get me wrong. I understand that anger and rage is the default setting for atheists. It fits perfectly for their belief system. In fact if an atheist was happy and hopeful, THAT is what would need an explanation. And what you would find if you encountered a happy and hopeful atheist is that that person was borrowing meaning and hope and purpose from Christian thought. I for one find that more than a little ironic.

Anyhow to make my point, watch what happens when I compare everyday warnings with the verses that I gave to that person. Make sure that you read each of them all the way through.

“The rip tide is really fierce today. Stay on the beach.”

Jesus said, “Those who believe and are baptized will be saved but those who refuse to believe will be condemned.”Mark 16:16

“Anti freeze is poison. Don’t drink it.”

Jesus said, “Unless you are born again, you can never get into the kingdom of heaven.” There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust Him to save them. But those who don’t trust Him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God. John 1:12,13

“Stay off the ice, it’s too thin.”

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3

“Those tires are really worn. You’d better get them replaced as soon as possible.”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in Him stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18

“The levee is about to break. Leave the area immediately.”

Jesus said, “I say emphatically that anyone who listens to My message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life and will NEVER be damned for his sins. He has crossed from death into life.” John 5:24

“There’s a man in the washroom loading a gun. Get out of here.”

“For my Father’s will is that every one who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”John 6:40

“If the river keeps rising at this rate, the road will be washed out by tomorrow. I suggest you get your belongings together and get out of here now.”

Jesus said, “For unless you believe that I am the Son of God, the Messiah, you will die in your sins.”John 8:24

“Don’t go into the pen. That horse kicks and bites.”

Jesus said, "I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

“It’s really easy to overdose on that. I’d try a different pain medication if I were you.”

“In this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who trusts in Him is freed from all guilt and declared righteous.” Acts 13:38,39

“She’s been divorced four times. You can do a lot better.”

“Our acquittal is not based on our good deeds, it is based on what Christ has done and our faith in Him. So it is we are saved, by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do.” Romans 3:27,28 -

“There are loads of scorpions and rattle snakes up in that dry creek bed. Check carefully before you sit down anywhere.”

“Because they were trying to be saved by keeping the law and being good instead of by depending on faith, they have stumbled over that great stumbling stone, Jesus.” Romans 9:32

“The avalanche risk is really high today. Make sure you stay within the marked boundaries.”

“It was through reading the Bible that I came to realize that I could never find God’s favour by trying and failing to obey the law. I came to realize that acceptance with God comes by believing in Christ.” Galatians 2:19

“There are credible warnings of attack. All tourists are advised to leave.”

“The Lord Jesus will bring judgement on those who do not wish to know God and those who reject His plan to save them through our Lord Jesus Christ. They will be punished in everlasting hell, forever separated from the Lord, never to see the glory of His power.” 1st Thessalonians 1:8,9 -

These are the verses that I left for this woman to peruse. She was wrong in her understanding of what the Bible (a book she says is fiction) says on the subject and I did her the favour of correcting her misperceptions.

If you are an atheist you will have no trouble identifying which statements feel like threats and which feel like helpful warnings. The effect will be immediate and palpable. The rage that you live with on a daily basis will double in intensity just by reading the Bible verses telling you how to avoid hell. Again, the question that needs to be asked is, Why? Why such a difference?

Whether the warning is about floods, scorpions, mean horses or hell, the intent is identical every comment. The intent is to warn of danger. One part of the comment describes the problem and another part lays out the recommended action to be taken. It’s simple. It’s clear. All they are is just warnings. So why do atheists consistently view Biblical “warnings” as threats? After all:

. The Bible is a book you describe as poor fiction
. It talks about a Being that you don’t believe in,
. It tells about a place you reject as real
. You don’t believe in sin.
. You don’t see yourself as needing salvation.
. You actually think that you’re quite a good person.

So what the heck is the matter with you that you get all worked up when hearing some verses from the Bible that you claim has nothing to do with you or your life?

Are you that weak and pitiful? Are you that fragile? Can you not stand to hear thoughts that differ from your own? And why the heck do you even bring it up in the first place? Don’t you have better things to think about than someone else’s fantasy? Why do you obsess on fiction as though it’s real life? Your frantic response to what the Bible says seems completely illogical, unreasonable, immature and down right pathetic.

Jesus warns us about Hell and He tells us IN DETAIL how to avoid going there.

To see that as a threat is beyond ridiculous. To read a warning on how to avoid a place you say is pure fantasy should make no more difference to you than reading a warning to avoid a terrorist threat in Bali when you have never been to Bali, you don’t know anyone who lives in Bali and you have no intention of ever going to Bali.

Yes I know. This is a peri menopausal woman. and Yes I know, she doesn't want me to fix the problem. She just wants me to listen. But for a 46 year old woman to feel intimidated by someone talking about hell, which she says she doesn’t believe in is just as strange as her getting all worked up because someone tells her that santa isn’t going to bring her any presents this year because she hasn’t been a good girl.

So, we're off to the lake. Good night and good luck.

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