In my last post, I talked about Jesus preparing a home for us in Heaven. But that’s not the end of the story.
There’s an idea posed by Christians that proclaim those without the knowledge of God’s love should actively pursue Him. I was reading a post by an Atheist on the issue of pursuing God. He posted an example with a fictional conversation between him and a Theist. In the conversation, the Theist says, “You need to believe in God. This is so vital that if you do not, an eternity of pain awaits.”
The problem with this belief, that the unbeliever should be seeking God, is the image of God it presents. It pictures a God who sits on His throne, looking down upon us and demanding we seek and worship Him. In reply, the Atheist says, “Well, I didn’t ask to be born. Are you saying that despite this I still have to spend my life searching for a God because, if I don’t, I will be punished?”
“Yes,” says the Theist.
“He created me! Why is it my duty to find him?” The Atheist has every right to think this, as it is a false perception of a loving God.
“That’s just the way it goes,” says the Theist. No, this is not the way it goes.
I was reading a post by a proclaimed Atheist turned Christian about the idea of Christ’s pursuit (link here). In it, she asks, “What is it about Atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don’t believe even exists?” She continues with how she saw Christians, “I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people…to help them realize their hope was completely ill-founded.” From the outside, it seems this is the entire motive: to help Christians see the truth. However, she then gave another motive, “As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise.” Her reason for the motive? “Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life.”
Why was it so hard for her to stay away from the question of God’s existence? When we Theists argue that God is the one to be sought, we limit God’s love and reach. The woman continues with, “I didn’t realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us. It was as if I couldn’t escape thinking about the possibility of God.” This raises a possibility we theists haven’t yet thought of: Atheism is a part of God’s plan to pursue His children. When we fight and argue against Atheists, we’re only cementing the view of a false god that condemns those who don’t believe and who causes the unspeakable pain in the world.
Atheism hasn’t surprised God. It’s not a new concept that has shocked Him. As said, it could be argued that it has been His plan all along to rid the world of this false view of Him and to make a way of His true nature and image. A God who loves and treasures His children as a father does His own. When one turns away, He leaves all behind in pursuit to bring His child home.
The woman mentioned before continues, “The day I chose to acknowledge God’s existence, my prayer began with, ‘Ok, you win…’ It might be that the underlying reason Atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.” She concludes with, “I too had no expectations other than rightfully admitting God’s existence. Yet over the following several months, I became amazed by His love for me.”
The experience isn’t exclusive to her either. Malcolm Muggeridge, a socialist and philosophical author, wrote, “I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued.” C.S. Lewis said he remembered, “…night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.” C.S. Lewis then went on to write the book titled, Surprised by Joy, as a result of knowing God.
In the end, maybe it’s time we stopped demanding those in the dark to seek the light and instead allowed God to shine purely in us, bringing the light to them by the way of love.