A New Atheism




Scripture

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
(1 Corinthians 15:12 NASB)
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
(1 Corinthians 15:13 NASB)
If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.
(1 Corinthians 15:32 NASB)
But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.
(1 Corinthians 15:54 NASB)
“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”
(1 Corinthians 15:55 NASB)
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
(1 Corinthians 15:56 NASB)
but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57 NASB)

Observation

 

Paul reached out to the people in Corinth who did not want to believe in the whole story of Jesus Christ. Yes, maybe he existed and he was probably a good man, but that's as far as some wanted to go. But how in the world could anyone preach Christ, if they did not preach Christ resurrected? For Paul this was the crux of the whole matter. The story of Christ, was not the story of Christ if you did not include the resurrection, for the resurrection was what changed the entire course of human history. Christ was the first to be resurrected, but that was to lead the way for everyone else.

He challenged the folks, asking them if they believed in this resurrection. If they didn't, why not just eat, drink and have a huge party because once they die, that's it! There's nothing more to life. But for the follower of Christ there is an entirely different end-of-life scenario. The perishable human body becomes imperishable, mortality becomes immortality. Death, that terrible cloud of darkness which lingers over those left behind is swallowed up in the victory of Jesus Christ, for his resurrection changes everything.

Application

 

A group of about 20,000 Atheists gathered in Washington, DC last weekend. They were there to protest, because they are uniting together, almost becoming their own "atheistic religion" with their own set of demands. Interestingly a reporter wandered among them and tried to have them explain their thoughts on life after death. Not unlike people in Paul's day, they have no faith or belief in anything after death, and so their responses were almost straight from this passage. Let's eat, drink, be merry for tomorrow we die! In other words, do all we can to have fun here on earth because when we die it's all over. There is no faith in the future -- or in Christ. They are materialists and only have faith in the things that they can see and understand.

Interestingly in Paul's day there were atheists as well -- they were known as Christians! The Christians were the ones who were radically changing society and did not believe in all the pagan gods. Because they did not believe in the pagan gods of the culture, they were called atheists. However, we all know that they did have an incredible faith and trust in God -- he was just a new God to all of them.

Today's atheists are a new brand for they truly do not believe in any god whatsoever. They sound like a rather sad lot of people. I believe there are multiple factors at work that have brought us to this point in society that so many people would be attracted away from Christianity (or any monotheistic religion) and drawn toward no belief whatsoever. How do we as God's children reach out and love these new atheists? I believe loving them is the key. Preaching AT them will anger them and drive them away. That's their perception of God already, but God is a loving God who is ever pursuing each and every single one of us. May we join with God in his mission on this earth and in Christ's love be ever pursuing the ones who are lost. They are the ones who do not realize that there is victory ahead -- a victory over sin and death and the grave, only to be found in Christ Jesus.

Prayer

 

Lord, please help me to pray for, love, and pursue the lost who could be find victory in you. Amen.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Advantage of Sanctification

When Jesus Fails to Meet our Expectations

Is Christ Actually in the Church?