|Believers can become too upset over the existence of atheists (no God)
and agnostics (which God.)
Don’t look at things so literally. There is more than meets the eye in
this. Yes, many of these are evident, but that doesn’t mean they are outside of grace.
An active atheist denying God is like a fish who has taken the bait on the hook and is fighting, tugging and pulling at it. The hooked fish tugs at the reality that is pulling it. The fish fights by pulling against the pull. If an active atheist were really unaware of God, there would be very little atheist activity. A strong and active negativity betrays something pulling at a rooted solidity. In denial is our affirmation seen. Remember Shakespeare’s line: The lady doth protest too much methinks.
Let us recall in the Hindu “Gita,” as Krishna says: In the way a person comes to Me, I go out to that person. (my translation.) This shows us true spiritual wisdom. If a person comes to God fighting, hot and hostile, then God may go out to that person in the same way. This is God adapting.
As Christians we may not think this always happens in every relationship, but we have seen enough to recognize it can and does happen at times. God’s greatness is such that He works back through the attitude that greeted Him. If we greet God hostilely, then through a hostile and an argumentative relationship, we learn of God. God often adapts to meet us on whatever means we will venture out on. An atheist will not venture out of faith, but he may venture out on argument. And through argument, he learns about faith.
Of course it would be nicer if everyone ventured out to God on love, but a person made angry by the unfairness or ugliness in life will not reach out to God in love. The angry person reaching out does so by argument, not love. Therefore when an angry person reaches out to God, let us remember that person starts where he is: with anger. It is a good thing and God meets him there.
I have seen on rare occasions a mean people in a mean church trying to glorify God in a mean way, but love is not kept down and love begins to peep through and then go about. Why is this odd? Where else would a mean person start than in a mean church? But God meets sinners where they are. I have seen them grow in spirituality, be blessed by grace over the years! But where else would a mean person venture out to God than to a mean church. I mean we often begin by reaching out from inside the mirrored minds of sin within us that hold us back from Christ.
We should not say when we meet atheists that God is not working with them. God is working on then in a different way. Believe me God can be learned about through talking of the God you are denying. Let us compare this to the use of medicines. If sweet tasting medicine is not necessarily effective, then a bad tasting medicine may cure. God can meet us where we are with what we need but that need not be a church we would like or on a venture we would take. People are differently made but Christ claims them wherever.
People at different stages and phases of grace need different things. Nor can we say that because it is not a church, grace is not allowed there. Grace is everywhere, only we may not be aware of it. Let us instead remember; God adapts to us. If this were not the case, how could Jesus Christ become flesh. God adapted to us. In the way we go to God, in human flesh, God became Christ and came to us. God adapted to us as Christ and in the form we go to Him, God came to us.
Now it was very wise of Krishna and spiritually true of him to express in the Hindu faith the great principle of the Christian Incarnation when God adapts to humans and becomes flesh. We see a teaching example of the adaptation of God to mankind in both religions. Whether it makes Hindus equal to Christianity in doctrinal wholeness, I doubt, but it certainly makes them respectable. How much we should remember there is very much of grace in all religions!. We should not be hating those with whom we share some common profound insights of grace. We should be appreciating those things we have in common. This does not mean we should forget the differences, but magnify what we have in common to be positive about.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.