Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Arrogance Of Christians Is Astounding

That is a relatively common sentiment on Atheist blogs. One often reads something like -

“How arrogant of Christians to think that a planet, let alone a universe was created just for people.”

Actually, I’d have to agree - If that is what Christians believed and If that is what the Bible taught. Neither assumption is correct.

The problem is, almost everything that atheists say or think shows their ignorance about the Bible and about their Creator. The Bible, which Jesus taught is a revelation from God, to us, about God and His plan for the cosmos teaches the following:
#1. The Cosmos was not created for us. It was created for God.

#2. We, humans, were not created for us and for our pleasure. We were created for God.

#3. God does not love us because we’re good. God loves us because He is good.

#4. God does not love us because we have value. We have value because God loves us.

Now, if those statements sound to someone like grounds for arrogance in human beings, I’m not sure what it would take to change that person’s mind. Nevertheless, I think it can be explained further this way. When I was a kid, my dad used to take me to farm auctions. He rarely bought anything, but he liked to go. Something that is common at these auctions is what’s called the “junk wagon.” This is an area or platform or in some cases a literal wagon or flat-deck that contains stuff that most people would just throw out. Because it’s an auction, it’s put out to see if someone else might actually be willing to pay for it. On it’s own, this stuff is worth next to nothing. Let two or more people want the same thing however, and any given item can take on astonishing value.

For whatever reason, God values us. For whatever reason, He loves us. It might not make sense to others, but it makes sense to God. Is an item from the junk wagon arrogant because someone wants it? Of course not.

Another example. On a shelf in one of the bookcases in my office, I have an Orange. It’s not just any orange. It’s a “Christmas” Orange from 1984. Obviously this Orange didn’t get eaten in 1984. And, instead of rotting, this stupid thing just dried up and kinda fossilised. My wife asks why I keep it, but I happen to think it’s kind of interesting. An object that is completely worthless to everyone else in the universe, has value to me.

For whatever reason, God values us. For whatever reason, God loves us. It might not make sense to others but it makes sense to God. Is this particular orange, out of billions of oranges arrogant because I want it? Of course not.

Another example. Two homeless people are walking down the street. Both are extremely hungry. They come to the door of a shelter that is serving lunch. One of them goes in and is filled with delicious food. The other chooses to remain on the street and churn with anger because of his hunger. When the first person comes out of the shelter, he sighs, rubs his stomach and says, "Ah, that was good."

The second person scowls and hisses like Christopher Hitchens, "You think you're better than me? You arrogant toad!"

For whatever reason, God values us. For whatever reason, God loves us. It might not make sense to others but it makes sense to God. Is the first man arrogant because he was wise enough to accept the offer of free food?

One last example. Three men are being crucified. Two are criminals. One is Jesus. All are just minutes from death. One of them curses Jesus. The other one says, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus replies to the one who is forgiven, "Today, you will be with me in paradise."

Is the forgiven criminal arrogant or grateful? Is the cursing criminal intelligent or a fool?

It doesn’t matter why God loves us. The reality is, He does love us. Accepting that love is not a symptom of arrogance. Only a certain type of person would think that it does.

I’m amazed that my wife of 36 years knows the absolute worst about me and she still loves me. Rather than protest that love, I accept it and enjoy it. I consider myself to be a lucky man. I don’t deserve her love but I’m tremendously grateful for it.

Jesus loves me. And He doesn’t just know all the bad stuff that I’ve done. He knows all the shameful thoughts that I have today, and all the wrong things that I’m going to do in the future. Yet, knowing this, perhaps because of this, He still loves me enough to die for me. He loves me not because of any intrinsic value that I possess, but because of who He is. God is Love. In fact He is so loving that the very same salvation that has been offered to me is offered to all atheists as well. Now, the Bible says that I’d be a fool to turn away from that kind of love, and I agree. I mean, if I relish a fraction of God’s love as it’s presented to me through my wife, why would I turn my back on the real deal? I accepted God's love 28 years ago. Since then every year has been better than the year before and I see no evidence that this trend will not continue. That’s not arrogance, that’s gratefulness.
. Just as liars suspect dishonesty in others

. Just as thieves are always on guard about having their stuff stolen

. Just as violent people see the potential for violence all around them

. Just as people who struggle with an unfaithful soul suspect their partners of being unfaithful

. So it is that the most arrogant among us imagine arrogance to be present in those for whom they have the least tolerance; the humble, the meek, the forgiven.

17 comments:

PersonalFailure said...

Whether you admit it or not, the idea that god created the entire universe just so we could worship him is the height of arrogance. It puts our worship at the pinnacle of all things, making us more important than anything else in the universe. Not dolphins, not deer, not stars or quarks, us.

That is arrogance.

It's also the most singularly weird story every told. What do you get for the omnipotent, omniscient being that, by definition, already is everything? Something to worship it. Bizarre.

Zzzst said...

This is a cut and paste job, so I'm gonna cut and paste a response from last time.

Glen20 said...

Another example. Two homeless people are walking down the street. Both are extremely hungry. They come to the invisible door of a invisible shelter that is serving lunch. There are people talking about hundreds of other invisible shelters and how to get into them. These people's stories are often different and they are all impossible to verify. If fact these invisible shelters may not even exist! One of them goes in and can never return to tell anyone about what's happened.

The other chooses to remain on the street and churn with anger because of his hunger. Then the owner of the invisible shelter THROWS HIM INTO A LAKE OF FIRE to suffer forever. And it's the homeless persons fault
!

Makarios said...

Z - I'm not surprised that you'd think Glen's answer was brilliant. You two "think" alike.

PF - I had to go buy my kid some new skates so I didn't finish. The thing is, it's part of unredeemed human nature to be afraid of God, to think the worst of God, to expect that He does not have our best interests in mind.

That's why people think, "If I become a Christian, I'll have to give up all the fun stuff." "If I become a Christian, God will ask me to do things I don't want to do."

I can't remember who wrote it, and this is a paraphrase but it was described accurately this way,

"I came crawling to You, across the desert of my life, with a cup hoping for a drop of water.

If I'd known You then as I know you now, I'd have come running with a bucket in each hand."

Our Creator longs to give us an abundant and full life. Only we can prevent that from happening.

Zzzst said...

I'm not surprised that you'd think Glen's answer was brilliant.

Brilliant? Where did I say that? But I think I could do a good Glenn20 impression.

...to think the worst of God, to expect that He does not have our best interests in mind.

(Glen20 voice) According to Christianity, this YWYH guy created a giant lake of fire to torture people who don't do what he says. So forgive us if we don't believe this space monster has our best interests in mind.

Makarios said...

. . . entire universe just so we could worship him is the height of arrogance."

That, I'm afraid is a flawed interpretation. I know that you can't see it any differently from where you're standing, but you're making an interpretation based on only partial informaton.

Being in an intimate, healed and forgiven relationship with our Creator, worshipping our Creator is when we are most fully alive.

Our Creator who loves us wants us to be most fully alive. He is trying to be good to us and the most good He can give to us is Himself.

Again, from where you're standing you simply CANNOT make any sense of what you are seeing.

It makes sense, from where you're standing that asking for worship must be arrogance.

The problem is, it's a mistaken interpretation. And it's a mistaken intepretation because you don't have all the information.

Makarios said...

According to Christianity, God paid the price of His own wrath so that no one needs to be separated from Him for eternity. No one. Not you or Glen or Ginx or PF. No one, needs to be separated from eternal good.

In fact, in order to spend eternity in a lake of fire, you will have to step over Jesus dead body to ge there.

So forgive me for not understanding why you would choose a lake of fire instead of living in an eternal kingdom that is free from the evil and suffering that we now experience on earth.

Zzzst said...

According to Christianity, God paid the price of His own wrath so that no one needs to be separated from Him for eternity.

Problem solved. Hell is closed. God got the human sacrifice of himself so now he doesn't have to be angry about the problem he created. No reason for anyone to ever bring up this god again.

Makarios said...

So why do you reject it Z?

An eternity free from evil and suffering if being offered to you free of charge yet you reject that offer.

I don't get it.

Zzzst said...

What offer?
Hasn't God's lust for blood and death already been satisfied by killing himself?

Makarios said...

You still have to accept the offer Z, in order to receive it. Yes the price has been paid, but you still have to reach out your hand to make it yours. Why won't you do that? I'm trying to understand.

Zzzst said...

Besides the fact that it's all imaginary?
And it's up to us to save ourselves from Yahweh's lust for blood?

One day I was at the beach and a man was drowning. The lifesavers were trying to drag him in but he refused to be rescued. They overpowered him and pulled him to the shore. It was for his own good.

Makarios said...

Mmm, I'll bet, you'd love to live in a world where you were forced to worship God. Why can't you simply do it on your own? Why do you reject what logic would say is the best thing for you?

Zzzst said...

Besides the fact that it's all imaginary?

Makarios said...

"Besides the fact that it's all imaginary?"

Well, that's interesting. Of course it fits the inconsistent pattern so typical of atheists.

If we're talking about hell, and God allowing people the freedom to choose to reject Him, then God is a monster, a blood-thirsty monster.

If we're talking about heaven and God's sacrifice to make possible your spending eternity in paradise, then it all becomes imaginary.

Zzzst said...

If your god YHWH was real, of course he would be a monster. Read the Bible.

Zzzst said...

Accept me or I'll torture you. It's a monstrous concept. Who made this hell place anyway?

West said...

The GOD of the Bible (YHWH) made hell. HE has chosen to save some. HE choose these people at the start of time. If you have not been chosen, you can not be saved. Ever. It's called election. You don't believe because GOD wants you to burn.
Sucks to be you.