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How Anger Fuels Atheistic Arrogance

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By Dan Delzell, Special to CP
October 17, 2011|2:10 pm

The majority of people in the world believe there is a God. Many of them don’t yet know Him personally through faith in Jesus, but they nevertheless accept the fact that He exists. Atheists, on the other hand, act like their subjective opinion on the matter carries the weight of a Papal Edict. They believe their enlightened wisdom is infallible. In that sense, atheists collectively represent “the papacy" for unbelievers. In their estimation, they are at the highest level among non-Christians.

Natural man is very proud of himself. His achievements and knowledge are exceptionally impressive to him. The extreme example of this attitude is atheism. It represents the proudest of the proud. There is no room in atheistic thought for a contrary viewpoint. Atheists like to think of themselves as being open-minded, but they are in fact among the most close-minded people on the planet. Their faith necessitates a closed mind. They would not be able to hang on to their faith if they allowed their mind to become open.

Natural man gets angry very easily. It doesn’t take much to set him off. This inclination begins to display itself very early in life. When natural man embraces atheism, you often end up with a ticking time bomb. The seething anger lies just beneath the surface for many atheists. Even for those “sophisticated atheists” who are able to put up a good front for the public, their “inner workings” are usually filled with rage against God and Christians.

In that sense, atheists unwittingly help to prove the truth of Christianity by their hatred for it. Jesus told his disciples, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18) Real Christians don’t hate atheists. Real Christians love atheists. That is the supernatural grace of God at work in the life of a believer. Real atheists, on the other hand, have an inner hatred for Christ that gets directed at believers. That is the natural result of man rejecting God as His Creator. Hundreds of millions of people have been slaughtered by dictators who hate God and hate their own "perception" of religion. Their perception destroys them and those around them.

The warm embrace with atheism begins for some in college as an enjoyable intellectual exercise. This “intellectual fornication” combined with an “anti-religious buzz” produces a spiritual high for the user. It feels good in the heart of natural man to rebel against parents, religious leaders, and especially God. It is very stimulating because intellectual pride puffs a person up. It makes him feel important in the grand scheme of things. We all want to feel important.

What begins as an enjoyable exercise often turns into a crusade. It is not enough for many atheists to espouse their worldview and harbor deep-seated feelings of anger and arrogance. They want to make others just as arrogant and angry. It is the nature of the beast. It lusts for the defilement of those who are impressionable and especially of those who have some measure of faith in God’s supernatural power. The greatest anger is reserved for those who believe in Jesus as Savior and in the Bible as God’s inerrant Word.

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In contrast, Christian faith produces the opposite of arrogance and anger within the human heart. It produces true humility and a deep love and compassion for others. Christians cannot take credit for these admirable qualities. These traits come from Christ who lives within those who trust Him and follow Him.

Christians long to see others accept Christ and the Bible for the opposite reason of why atheists carry out their mission. Christians want to help people solve their issues with pride and anger. Christians want people to experience God’s love and forgiveness so that they will be freed from hatred and brought into Christ's spiritual realm of compassion. The motive is pure and noble and just. Rather than lusting for the defilement of the innocent and the faithful, it longs for the redemption of those who are lost, suffering, and angry.

That is not to say that Christians don’t struggle with their own human tendency towards arrogance and anger. We do, and we admit it. But it is not the overriding characteristic of a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. When a Christian yields his life to the influence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the result is that we think very little of ourselves and very much of Christ. Our anger is replaced with peace and love as we submit ourselves to His will hour by hour.

It would be judgmental for me or any Christian to say that we are better than atheists. We are all sinners before God. “There is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:12) To be judgmental is to look down on others and to think that you are better than them. This is the attitude which atheism produces. It is also produced by natural man’s sinful condition, whether that man is an atheist or a professing Christian.

It is not judgmental to evaluate the fruit of various worldviews. When we evaluate the fruit of atheism and the fruit of Christianity, it is so obvious to see throughout history which one flows from the Truth and which one doesn’t. If everyone in the world was an atheist, the population would shrink drastically and violently. Human arrogance and anger doesn’t put up with too much before it goes ballistic and begins to wipe out the “enemy.”

If only the atheists would come to realize that their most dangerous enemy lies within their own soul. Until that realization occurs, the arrogance and anger will just continue to spew forth in dangerous ways. The real essence of atheism is not unbelief. That is just the fruit of atheism. The root of atheism is hatred, and it is relentless. The only One strong enough to deliver us from ourselves is Jesus Christ.

If you are an atheist, here are 11 words you won't say from your heart unless you choose to open your mind to be a "freethinker" for Christ: "Lord Jesus, forgive me for my hatred toward You and others." Wow! You would rather die than sincerely pray those words wouldn't you? That's because a hatred for Jesus fills your heart, as it would mine without Christ. You tell yourself it is just unbelief in Jesus. That is only the "fruit of it." The "root of it" is hatred towards God.

Jesus is your only path to freedom from anger and arrogance. Once you are free of the anger, the atheistic theories you now hold so dear will begin to dissipate in your mind. Most of you would have prayed those 11 words as a child if your parents had invited you to do so. It would have kept so much hatred from spilling into your heart. There is still time to renew that childlike faith and innocence. As with all of us, there is much in your life that needs to be forgiven. If you choose love right now rather than hate, you can begin to get free of it.

Some of you right now are having a very strong reaction to this idea. Recognize it. Own it. Overcome it. Or not. The choice truly is up to you. Your reaction is evidence either of your atheistic anger, or of God's grace at work in your soul. You can't get around it. One or the other is happening right now.

At the end of the day, God won't force you to start loving when you are forcing yourself to continue hating. Imagine the irony if your recognition of your hatred for God became the very thing that finally convinced you of His existence!

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb.
 

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