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Sunday, December 04, 2011

The god Atheists don’t believe in…

During the recent Spring floods on the Mississippi River, when they blew the levy at Bird’s Point in Southeast Missouri, I read the comments about the event. One person, who claimed to be an atheist, wrote “What good does it do to pray to god? He is the one who sent the flood?” His point was that Christians are obviously confused about their science and theology.

That’s really bad science and, if possible, even worse theology. Anyone who understands weather knows God did not send the flood. It was a major weather event and many of us think it was made worse by human intervention—but why would we blame God for that? On the other hand and contrary to our atheist or agnostic commentor, praying for the people affected by the flood makes perfect sense for those of us who believe in the Creator God who showed his love to us in Christ Jesus and continues to show it with his loving care and companionship.

It seems to me that atheists reject the same false gods that we Christians don’t believe in either. If they knew the God we know, the One who created the heavens and the earth, and who came to earth as the Creator among his creation, in order to redeem us from the sin into which we have fallen, they would find it much easier to believe in Him. If God were like how most atheist and agnostics describe him, I wouldn’t believe in him either and I certainly wouldn’t love him.

The reason Jesus came was to help us know what God is really like. Many times the Old Testament concepts people had about God were a sort of mixture of paganism and primitive thought made firm and unyielding because those same people made them into laws, and tried to force their ideas on the people around them. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now—at least it doesn’t work to make the world a better place. But when Jesus came, we got an entirely different view of God.

Looking at Old Testament Israelites through the eyes of Jesus we can see that God’s original plan was for his people to save the world rather than conquer it, but they never seemed to understand. Jesus introduced radical new ideas like turning the other cheek and walking the second mile—ideas that were totally beyond human comprehension. If Jesus hadn’t come to demonstrate how they worked, we never would have understood them. Doing them is so much more difficult than talking about them. We needed someone, not just a teaching, but a person—Jesus, to show us how to live out such a new and different concept.

Our task as the people of God is to be Jesus to the people we meet who have never met him. We need to turn the other cheek and walk the second mile and find all sorts of ways to show people that we value them. When they grasp the fact that we really do care, we have opened the doorway of their hearts to know God, the source of all such unconditional love. We know from the Word of God that God is love. It is the nature of his being. He loves everyone, everywhere and he loves this beautiful world and universe he created. His goal is not to cast us into a devil’s hell, but to redeem us from Satan’s entrapment. He is on our side! He wants to help! That’s what Jesus came to teach us, but even the teachings of Jesus are not enough for many people—they need someone to show them how such ideas work in the everyday stress of life.

Our job is to surrender our bodies to the Spirit of God so he can reveal his unconditional love in as many ways as possible to a world of people who cannot even comprehend a God like that. However, if they can see Jesus in us, they will see God in him and by thus working together with God we can help him transform the world into a place where the unconditional love of God is shared openly across cultures and beyond human barriers, breaking down walls that divide us and helping all people on earth to live together as loving and beloved siblings in the marvelous family of God!

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . . and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

1 comment:

John said...

"Our task as the people of God is to be Jesus to the people we meet who have never met him."

I think this is often times lost on many Christians.