Saturday, April 9, 2016

Belief and unbelief

There’s a lot of Christians out there, dogma’d to their teeth, who live and even think atheologically, and a lot of professed Atheists who are awesome theologians without realizing it. You have to ask an Atheist exactly which god he doesn't believe in, just as you have to ask (if you dare) a Christian exactly which god he does. Belief and unbelief are both tunnels that you may choose to live in permanently, or simply journey through in order to ‘get out alive.’ And while we’re in the tunnel, everyone knows it’s very dark, and no one can see too clearly. But if you really do want to ‘get out alive,’ no matter what you believe or disbelieve, you will.

Does this make personal faith or doctrinal religion pointless? No, not really, but it puts both in perspective, and deglorifies both, for nothing that pertains to this transitory life, even the means we make use of to go beyond it, is worthy of praise.

Only One is worthy, and His sovereignty without qualification unthrones all our self-salvation mechanisms. Whether you believe in Jesus Christ or not, His life and salvific work has an effect on you. In fact, He does not wait for you to recognize Him before He will save you. This may sound like doctrinal monergism, but it is not. The synergy that intertwines the human and Divine natures is so pervasive, so total, that from some vantage points, it may look like predestination, or some other human construct we can name. Yet He does nothing without us.

So, an Atheist can be saved? Isn’t that what some claim the Roman pope has recently opined?—that is, if popes can be said to ‘opine’. Normally they dogmatize, and keep the tracks of their holy predecessors covered. If Atheists can be saved, then what’s the point of believing, being a Christian, and putting up with all those religious obligations? Well, that’s a very good question believers need to ask themselves, because their answer may lead them to a more deliberate, more honest, posture. If he meant nothing else, perhaps the pope meant to draw to our attention not the fate of Atheists, but of ourselves. What is it we want? What is it we are working for?

‘For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’
(Matthew 6:21)

1 comment:

Gretchen Joanna said...

I like that idea of asking atheists what God they don't believe in. (And the question for believers, too.) If you have any anecdotes about answers you've heard to the questions, I'd love to read them. But perhaps the resulting discussions are long and complex!