I have found this interesting blog called Listverse that includes a variety of lists ranging from “10 Rock Bands You Either Hate or Love” to “10 Places You’d Never Want to Visit.” Some of the lists are more interesting than others. Sometimes each item on the list includes a lengthy explanation, other times it is just a list without commentary. Recently I came across the list “Top 15 Quotes by Famous Atheists” and was intrigued to see what those who deny that God exists would have to say. Two of the quotes got me thinking. One was by Ernest Hemingway: “All thinking men are atheists.”
I believe this quote is just insulting because there are a great many thinking men and women who nonetheless (or maybe because they think) put their trust in God and believe that He exists. Two men in particular come to mind, both of whom were at one time atheists but through a process of thoughtfully reviewing the evidence and arguments for and against the existence of God converted to Christianity.
The first is one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis. Now anyone who suggests that C.S. Lewis was not a thinking man has no understanding of his contribution to the field of literature and theology. He was brilliant and well-respected. His conversion from atheism to Christianity came when he was in his mid-30s, and was followed by a distinguished career as a professor and scholar at both Oxford and Cambridge. He wrote a great number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, that are still in print today, 47 years after his death.
The second is Lee Strobel, who wrote The Case for Christ. Strobel, an investigative reporter for The Chicago Tribune and has a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School. He was a diehard atheist when his wife converted to Christianity. Her conversion annoyed him so much he set out to prove to her that the claims of the Bible were not true. He interviewed numerous scholars and reviewed every bit of evidence he could find. In the end, he was convinced of just the opposite: that the claims of Christianity were true. The Case for Christ recounts the process he went through to reach that conclusion.
The other quote from the Listverse list was by Gloria Steinem: “It’s an incredible con job when you think about it, to believe something now in exchange for something after death. Even corporations with their reward systems don’t try to make it posthumous.” I thought the inclusion of these two quotes on the same list was a bit ironic, because clearly Gloria Steinem did not really think about the claims of Christianity when she made this statement. It is obvious that she has not even read the Bible, because if she had she would understand that it is not a con job at all.
Christianity is not just a bargain for Heaven. It is not merely an offer of paradise when we die in exchange for doing what is right now. Rather, true Christianity (what C.S. Lewis calls Mere Christianity) is about being transformed here and now by the power of the Holy Spirit of God. It does include a promise of an eternity in the presence of God in Heaven, but it is so much more than that. It is about being changed from a selfish, hardened sinner into a selfless, loving child of God. It is about knowing God and being in relationship with Him daily, allowing Him to change us into something greater than we could ever be on our own. It is about being in community with others who trust in Him. It is about finding the Ultimate source of strength, peace, joy, patience, and self-control in the universe.
Many thinking men and women have seen through the con job Satan has offered to the world and found the truth that God exists and that He loves His creation with a love that is greater than all the treasure in the world. As Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” May God bless the thinking man.