Category Archives: Rebellion

Atheists: Don’t Fear God’s Intervention | Fear His Non-Intervention

God’s wrath as revealed in Romans 1 is not so much about intervention with some cataclysmic event of judgment, but about God’s non-intervention. God who honors human freewill, will eventually hand people over to their chosen path or belief or sexual preferences or lifestyles. He allows you to have your addictions, your worldviews, your atheism and the emptiness that comes with it. Pay attention to the three italicized phrases in verses 24, 26, and 28 of Romans 1.

Romans 1:24 says “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.

Three times Paul underscores the non-intervention of God. God doesn’t zap with wrath or bully them into doing things His way. He simply lets them have what they want in full measure.

The ultimate wrath of God is when you are so belligerent and stubborn, that God says, “OK, have it your way.” God gives you over to your beliefs or non-belief (in the case of atheism), hoping that the emptiness of it all will turn you back to Him. Many people fear the intervention of God and His punishment. But our greatest concern is the non-intervention of God and living with the life that will inevitably result from such a path taken.

A philospher once opined that when we reject truth and God, we will do one of two things: we will play god over our lives and we will live for the gratification of our senses.

We all have tried living life this way, but especially the atheist. The atheists plays god (by asserting there is no God) and having removed God and any higher purpose for living life associated with this belief, they live for the gratification of their senses. And God says, “You can do it. I’ll give you what you want.” God doesn’t have to punish us or the atheist. The pleasures that we live for punish us. Our sins punish us.

Our problem (not just atheists, but all of us) is that we want independence, total freedom from any deity, even if that deity loves us and we find Him and his ways abhorrent and objectionable. Therefore, we start playing God. You say, “I don’t want anybody telling me what’s right and what’s wrong, I want to decide what’s right and what’s wrong. I want to call my own shots. I want to make my own rules. I want to put myself at the center of the universe. I want to be my own boss, live my own way, and if it feels good, do it. I don’t want anybody telling me what to do with my life.” That’s called playing God and wanting to be at the center of my universe.

When the bottom falls out, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, relationally—what often happens is that God just has to step back and let us feel the full impact of our own stupid decisions. “You want to be God? O.K. You be God.” And He’ll just step back and let you be God (Romans 1) because God always honors free will. It’s not something that He enjoys in some kind of sadistic way. He just lets you have what you want. He allows you to be god and to have your pleasures.

Be careful about persisting for something that you think you want. The worst thing that could happen is that God just might give you over to it and you and I will have to live with the consequences of our own decisions.

And to my atheist friends: if you don’t want God in your life, you can have it your way. God will allow you to do it. But in the end, when your views have been pushed to their logical conclusions and life has been shattered by your non-belief, it will be one time in your life when you will wish that you never got what you wanted.

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Filed under Addiction, Atheism, Atheist, Christian Worldview, Free Will, Rebellion, Sexual Addiction, Theism

“Are Atheists Sent to Hell?” – No, But They Choose It Anyway

I will not deal with the nature of hell (do we eventually go into non-being?) or the duration of hell (is it eternal punishing as in conscious torment or is it eternal punishment as in consequences that last forever?) – even though I have my beliefs on these issues.

Hell is described in many different ways in order to wake us up to its reality (blackest darkness – Jude 13; everlasting destruction – 2 Thessalonians 1:9; weeping and gnashing of teeth – Matthew 8:12).

But the plea of those in hell is not so much “God, let me out, let me out, let me out.” Rather, it is “God, you get out! Leave me alone, you cosmic Sadist.” Hell is a place where people have barricaded themselves in, in order to keep God out. So hell then is a courtesy for those who insist that they want no part of forgiveness, no part of God. Hell is simply the only place left to go for those who will not accept their acceptance by grace. They are successful rebels to the very end.

Lewis held that there are two kinds of people in the world: (I’m paraphrasing) those who say to God “Thy will be done.” And those to whom God will finally say, “Thy will be done.” If you really want to walk away from life eternal and barricade me out, I have made you with free-will and will honor your choice. Hell is the greatest monument to human freedom and the choices we make. Love cannot be forced. Hell exists because love and grace can be refused.

Having tried to win them, God will ultimately say to some, “All right, have it your way.” This is not cruel or unloving at all. It’s the ultimate expression of a self-limited God who refuses to violate free will.

So yes, to the person who refuses to believe in God, acknowledge him as God, and surrender to His love, and persists in these views throughout an entire lifetime – hell is, in effect, chosen.

George MacDonald talks about the “one principle of hell” in one of his sermons written decades ago. “The one principle of hell is: ‘I am my own. I am my own king and my own subject. I am the center from which go out my thoughts. I am the object and end of my thoughts… My own glory is…my chief care… My kingdom is comprised of as many as I can bring to acknowledge my greatness over them… It is my right to have what I desire.’ (Truth in Jesus)”

But always remember when you are in any discussion on hell, that Christ says, “You can go to hell if you want, but it’s over my dead body that you’ll do it.” Love…true love…

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Filed under Atheism, Atheist, Christian Worldview, Deconversion, Free Will, Hell, Rebellion

Says the Atheist “More information” Says the Theist “I Surrender”

The atheist will often assert, “I don’t have enough information. I need more and better evidence before I can believe in God.” But what the Bible so clearly teaches is that our biggest problem is not a “to know” problem. Our biggest problem is that we want independence, total freedom from any deity, even if that deity loves us.

Singer/songwriter Randy Stonehill in the late 70’s, early 80’s, portrayed rebellion as a marionette who, hoping to be free, cuts its own strings. The song is “Puppet Strings.” We all know that such action doesn’t result in freedom – rather it leaves just a pile on the floor. Like the marionettes who reach up and cut the strings that enable and direct them, we lay crumpled and broken on the stage of life. No, God doesn’t manipulate our every move. That’s not Stonehills point. His point is that we cut ourselves off from the One who gives life meaning, value, and hope, thinking that independence from Him is true freedom. (Randy Rowland talks about his in his book, Sins We Love)

Rebellion is like that. Rebellion doesn’t want to be dependent on anyone, be superior to everyone, and accountable to no one. Believing that we are unloved, that there is no larger story, that life is a bunch of random events strewn together, we refuse to engage a rationalistic life in an atheistic system. Nothing can truly be understood; nothing really matters in the end. All human activity is about a quest for power over others, we believe. Conceding these points, we then free ourselves of any responsibility to do something with our lives. Since life doesn’t really matter and God doesn’t really seem to care, I’ll light a joint, or pour a shot of whiskey, or go have a fling, or sleep away my life, or make myself dizzy on video games – whatever it takes to escape all the meaninglessness that I feel. We cut the strings.

“We are all foolish puppets who are desiring to be kings; now lie bended, fully crippled after cutting all our strings.” In verse three of Puppet Strings, Stonehill sings “But God said I’ll forgive you; I will face you man-to-man and win your love again. O how could there be possibly a greater gift of love than dying for a friend.”

The theist is one who surrenders to love. “I surrender.”

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Filed under Atheism, Christian Worldview, Free Will, Rebellion, Theism, Worldview

God and the “gods” Aren’t Angry Anymore!

God is righteous and holy, pure and undefiled. To stay consistent with Who He is, He must stand against, and even punish sin and rebellion. He is a righteous Judge. He will not compromise with evil.

To be honest with you, I wouldn’t want the universe run by someone who wasn’t perfectly holy and perfectly just. Would you want a universe where crime went unpunished? Would you want a world where if someone abused a family member they would never be brought to justice? Would you want a world where evil reigned unopposed and unchecked? No way! God has to punish sin, because if He doesn’t, He lets all creation be sabotaged.

God is also deeply in love with us, His creation. Of course, we are not pure and undefiled. We are broken, impure, and rebellious. However, if he simply just writes our offence off with no basis for doing so, there is no justice. He is unfair. On the other hand, if He passed judgment on to us, as our Creator and heavenly Father, he would compromise His love. This is God’s dilemma. What is He to do?

Well, He could let us try to work our own way back to Him, but we’d never be able to do it. We’re not good enough. Or, option two: He could pay the penalty Himself.

The Gospel teaches us that God himself in the person of Jesus, took off His robes, draped himself in human flesh, and became the payment for our sin, and died in our behalf. God’s justice was satisfied and his love fulfilled, but it came at an incredible price. This is the Gospel, “the Good News.” It explains how a holy God could declare a believing, but rebellious sinner righteous and fit for heaven while still in his/her sinning, broken, and unholy state. The only requirement is that you believe and receive this incredible gift, and when you do, all of Christ’s righteousness is credited to your account.

The Gospel allows us to say with full confidence that God is not angry with you. That’s why it’s Good News! His anger was poured out over 2,000 years ago when Jesus died on the cross.

Get over the notion of an angry God. Too many of us have a misguided view of God. God is seen as some ticked-off deity that longs to cut off the damned and hopeless. The Gospel explains how God can go on loving you and still be consistent with Who He is.

You ask: “What must I do to keep God from being angry with me?” I would answer: “Nothing, because it’s already been done.” You ask: “How do I find God?” I question: “How do you miss Him?”

You must let God love you now, and live in light of His sacrificial love. God (and the gods) aren’t angry anymore! True love… true love…

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Filed under Atheism, Christianity, Forgiveness, God, Gospel, Jesus Christ, Rebellion, Sacred Romance

There Are No Atheists – Just Idolaters

Idolater
NOUN:
One who worships idols.
One who blindly or excessively admires or adores another.

There are no atheists, just idolaters. Humans will worship something; the imprint for worship is stamped on every heart. For atheists, they have no one to worship but themselves, excessively admiring and adoring themselves. This is not a new idea. Paul talked about it in the book of Acts, chapter 17.

The Athenians were using all of these philosophies and religions as much to hide from God as to find Him. They were looking for reasons to be an intellectually and spiritually fulfilled rebel. But Paul is still tender…

“Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you,” says Paul.

Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

There’s this inner void in our hearts. We grope for things to fill it. It’s not the wanting and the reaching however that’s wrong. God has been ripped from our hearts. A glitch is wired into the system of every heart. We are born not just rebels, but rebels who are reaching out for something. So the groping, reaching, and grasping – these are not the problem: it’s what we grope, reach, and grasp for instead of God that is the problem. Reaching for true purpose, peace, and joy is what you should be doing. We mustn’t be ashamed of the reaching.

The Bible teaches us that God is a hidden God. But He has given you clues you can follow, pieces of the puzzle. If we had no clues or pieces, we would never find God. But God has given us just enough evidence so that those who want Him can have him. Those who want to follow the clues will find Him. Reach out to Him.

Some question: if there is a God, why does he allow people to live in open defiance of Him? The answer: Love and mercy. He made us. We belong to Him. But He will not make us love Him back. He asks us to repent – to change our mind about who is God. For those who refuse to change their mind, He will eventually give the rebellious what they want – total separation from Him. It’s a form of judgment – giving them what they want; it’s called hell in the Bible.

Says Paul Acts 17:31: For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” 32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others (NIV).

Among the many things that could be said about what Dr. Luke, the author of this book records here, it certainly underscores the fact that we are rebels without a cause. In fact, we will even make a shrine to an “unknown god” rather than bow to the God who has so graciously created us, loved us, redeemed us, and who restores us. We are rebels without a cause and this is expressed in the form of idolatry.

Paul makes a similar point in a letter he wrote to people who lived in Rome. The letter is called Romans, but it reads like a book on theology. Listen to his words:

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

God has revealed Himself in what He has made. If you never hear a sermon or read the Bible, you can still discover a lot about God by looking at what He has made – clues that lead you to Him. Look at the clues long enough and they begin to look back at you in the form of a God who made you and your world. Look closely at your world and God will whisper to you what He’s like. Mountains, lakes, oceans, clouds, wind, rain, people, and sunshine’s warmth strike a deep chord, “Yes, there is a God.”

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

The ancients knew God but they suppressed it by their wickedness and rebellion.

22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

How could we do this? Paul does not preach against atheism; he’s preaches against idolatry. The implication is that everyone will worship some kind of deity. If you refuse that point, you yourself are your own deity. To say that you are an atheist (one who does not believe in God) does not mean that you believe in nothing; it means you are liable to believe in anything – anything can and will become your god. We’ll fall in love with animals and nature because we have fallen out of love with God. We will even fall in love with ourselves.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

In my opinion, the greatest tragedy of all is to surrender ourselves so totally to our gods, that God eventually gives us up to it. It becomes our lord and master. It consumes us. We wind up used, wasted and discarded by the very thing that has charmed us.

25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

If we deny our rebellion, self-deceit sets in. I rule over my own life. No one will tell me how to live my life. But still we are hardwired for worship. So even in our rebellious state, we reach out to worship and bond with something.

Among the many things that could be said about what Paul wrote, it once again underscores the fact that we are rebels without a cause. In fact, we will go to such extremes that we will worship just about anything, so long as it’s not the one true God. We are rebels without a cause. We are not just imperfect people who need growth, but we are rebels who need to lay down our arms, idolaters who need to tear down our shrines.

These words from the Bible reveal that our fallen hearts are self-asserting, God-defying, and self-deifying. Self-worship is the religion of our time. We are a rebel race. We have bought into the notion that the serpent suggested to Eve, “God is holding out on you.” Take control of your own life. Arrange for the life you want. If God is holding out on you, then you hold out on God. And whatever you do, keep God out of your life.

There are no atheists – just idolaters.

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Filed under Agnosticism, Atheism, God, Idolatry, Rebellion, Sin

A Faulty View of God and De-Conversion

I spent some time exploring a blog recently dedicated to those who have “de-converted” from Christianity to atheism or some other belief system. As I explored the site, one thing became apparent. These individuals have a faulty view of God.

What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us (A.W. Tozer). This tells us what kind of God we believe in. Most nonreligious people are rejecting a god that they don’t even understand. And if they did, they would probably call a truce and stop fighting against Him so much.

It sounds to me that the kind of God they want is a “genie” they can rub or a “vending machine” they can deposit a prayer into and have Him to dispense their fix. It’s God in their image and it distorts who He is. God is very particular in how we think about Him, describe Him, and define Him. We want a god who is safe, nice, pampering, just so long as he keeps his distance. Provide, don’t intrude. Protect, never demand. Care, but don’t judge or meddle in my business. Don’t crowd me. And if you don’t do as I ask, then I’ll stop believing in you and this will be my way of getting back at you. This is what I sense over at the De-Conversion blog.

A former chaplain at Harvard, George Buttrick, recalls that students would often come into his office and declare, “I don’t believe in God.” The wise chaplain would then reply, “Sit down and tell me what kind of God you don’t believe in. I probably don’t believe in that God either.” See, if I can declare that God doesn’t exist or that he is like one of so many misguided concepts of God, then it relieves me from the responsibility of being one of His creations and wrestling with the hurt of life. These misled images and concepts of god have become our idols. And we have become our own gods.

So where do we get the right picture of God? After George Buttrick would ask his Harvard students that question, then he would go on to talk about Jesus, the corrective to all of our assumptions about God. “He is the aperture through which the immensity and magnificence of God can be begun to be seen (J.B. Phillips, 85).”

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Filed under Atheism, Christian Worldview, Christianity, Conversion, Deconversion, God, Jesus Christ, Rebellion

Why are there so many Atheism Blogs?

Why are there so many atheism blogs? I saw recently how one guy collects them all in one place so you can “feed” on a life without God, literally hundreds of blog links, enough reading for several years.

My question is: Why? Why this persistent, diligent pursuit to prove or convince themselves and others that there is no God. Something I read some time ago seems to address this question.

Charles Colson tells about Irina Ratushinskaya, a young girl in the Soviet Union years ago. She was trained in Communist schools and indoctrinated in atheism. She said she could never figure out why her teachers all pitched such a furious battle against someone they said didn’t exist. “God doesn’t exist.” Irina began to question: “Can’t they tell they are giving themselves away? Adults tell you there are no gremlins or ghosts. They tell you once or twice, and that’s it. But with God, they tell you over and over again. So He must exist – and He must be very powerful for them to fear Him so greatly.”

You see, something inside is telling the atheistic bloggers – God really does exist. Rather than yield to his love, the atheist will convince himself/herself that God doesn’t exist and in so doing, proves that he in fact does exist, but that they are unwilling to acknowledge it. The sheer volume of atheistic blogs testify to the existence of one they refuse to acknowledge due to mulish pride.

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Filed under Agnosticism, Atheism, Christian Worldview, Fool, God, Pride, Rebellion, Religion, Spiritual Life