Thomas Edison said, “I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. . .  Religion is all bunk.”  We recently met a modern day atheist named Dan in the Jacuzzi at Pleasant Harbor, north of Phx, AZ.  Dan was the son of a Nazarene minister, and had a sister who was a missionary in Sudan, Africa.  Dan was offended to discuss anything even close to religious or Christian subjects.  He was adamant in attitude & unfriendly saying “How can you believe anything you can’t prove?”  Not much later he admitted bailing from the faith after 15 years because he wanted to have more “fun.”  (Dan appeared to be about mid 50’s and poor with an obvious alcohol monkey on his back.)  He was classically “saying no to God.”  Another Edison era atheist named Jack London, an American writer in 1916 said “Knowing no God, I have made of man my worship.”  Jack died of suicide.
      Now I recall another character, this one named Dick Lytle who was a retired missionary from Africa.  It was the summer of ’69 on a work crew.  Dick was classically saying “yes” to God.  I was not a believer as such – probably headed for the lifestyle of “Dan” the atheist.  But at that time I saw something genuine in this old missionary.  He was willing and able to discuss religious questions – even my abrasive and disrespectful ones.  Dick had rational and friendly answers.  He was a man of faith, and had lots of reasons to believe.  He also had the victory over this world & life, and no apparent monkeys.  He wasn’t rich but he wasn’t poor either.  He was just a gentleman and possibly a Bible scholar.  Dick stressed the fact that we can KNOW, and not just believe.  A reference he made was 1 John 5:13  “I write this to you  . . . that you may know that you have eternal life.”   And I do appreciate the ASSURANCE we can have in our Christian faith.
     When I reflect on the two basic patterns of life – the atheist who says “no” to God, and the believer who says “yes” to God, I would rather be in the “yes” crowd.  Here’s why:

      1 – Even though God is invisible, along with future rewards & punishment, He hasn’t left us in stupid                     darkness regarding unseen things.  The Bible is loaded with information and encouragement.  It just               requires faith & believing to activate the good stuff.  See “What’s In It For Me”  Link #28
      2 - Even though faith & believing are ridiculed by unchurched folks (and most young Democrats), that                 kind of response has been predicted by Christ himself 2000 years ago.
           see Matthew chapter 5 
      3 – Even though believers have to deal with this tough world and possibly a majority who “blow off”                     Christ & his value system, our Lord hasn’t left us alone.  We have the Holy Spirit who is the                           “Counselor,” or Divine presence.   See John 14:23, 26 
      4 – Even though believers are challenged by God to repent from & minimize sin, God gives a kind of joy,               peace & HOPE that is better than sinful pleasures.  (Most sincere believers will agree to this, but of             course the shallows & hypocrites will mock.)

     I believe a big problem with/SNTG is the continuation of Divine displeasure /curse from Above, from one’s roots. We all have rascals in our linage & THEIR sins also may count against us (Exodus 34:6-7). But the salvation & blood of Jesus “cleans the slate.” “Brighter & brighter until full day.”   Finally to conclude – is “saying no to God” (atheism) a rational way to deal with ultimate questions of life?   Or is it just a fashionable way to avoid the issue of God, and accountability to one’s Creator?   God himself may vote with the second answer.  “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.”  Psalm 14:1   Why not join the millions and millions who have and are saying “yes” to God.  Choose Jesus & His Spirit – they are alive.  “Be still, and know that I am God:  I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”   Psalm 46:10

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