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Ever Wonder Why Atheists Have Certain Misconceptions About the Faith?

Atheists have the misconceptions that they have because believers have them, too. I follow several blogs attached to the website Why? Because both implicitly and explicitly I have made mention that my spiritual weakness is pornography and lust. So I read the Confessions Blog and follow the Couples, Men, and Parenting Blogs from that site for moral support to stay away from that stuff.

One of the misconceptions that atheists often have is that God will take care of everything for you and make your life easy. Since that never seems to materialize, the atheist then concludes God doesn’t exist. The problem? God never once promises to make life easy.

After Adam ate the forbidden fruit, God cursed the ground, the earth, and all of creation. God decreed that, instead of living in the lap of luxury, we would now toil and labor to get anything from the earth. That hasn’t changed just because Jesus hung on the Cross. Our sins are now forgiven, but that doesn’t mean that we automatically get a gold ticket.

Atheists think that we should, and argue in that manner. Prime example: God is Imaginary, proof #28. The author (Marshall Brain?) states:

A rational person rejects all human gods equally, because all of them are equally imaginary. How do we know that they are imaginary? Simply imagine that one of them is real. If one of these thousands of gods were actually real, then his followers would be experiencing real, undeniable benefits. These benefits would be obvious to everyone.

He states that all prayers would be answered affirmatively, and followers would live longer, be healthier, and be wealthier. In other words, God is somehow obligated to bless us with vast material wealth, even though this same God warns us repeatedly not to rely on or accumulate excessive material wealth. (Here’s my full rebuttal to proof #28).

Where are atheists getting misconceptions like this? God has blessed us with all of the heavenly blessings (Eph 1:1-3), which are far greater than any earthly things (Heb 8:1-13). Why must God give us earthly blessings as well?

What’s the source of the misconception? Believers. Believers also seem to think that God will provide everything for them . He will take care of our needs, but he is not going to bow to our every desire. Just because we want something doesn’t mean we automatically get it (Phil 3:19).

Here’s a prime example from the Men’s Confessions Blog of of a Christian who should know better nonetheless having the idea that God is going to do everything for him:

Um well my first introduction to porn was about when I was 12. But it was nothing serious or anything, just a curious mind. I thought it was just normal at first. But that first time turned into hundreds of times.

That’s how it works. Trust me. I didn’t even like my first exposure to pornography. I couldn’t understand what was so hot about looking at a girl without clothes. Naked people look kind of silly, I thought. Oh, how my opinion changed. And changed quickly, I might point out!

It is really sad because I am a very strong Christian, in fact I am a minister. Even further than that I am the youth minister and director of my church.

Well, not surprising. He may be a minister, but he’s also a guy. Guys like to see women in nothing or next to nothing. Human sexuality creates some powerful urges, but it’s all in how one directs and uses them because they won’t stop and God doesn’t take them away. Hold that thought, and remember it; etch it on your forehead with an Xacto knife if you must: God doesn’t take sexual urges away. It would do more harm than good.

It used to be just a fun thing to do but now it is consuming my free time, even my life.

I can relate, unfortunately. Porn consumed a lot of my time and untold amounts of my money. And it starts out as just something fun to do every once in a while.

And I know God is able to remove the desire from me, but I have been praying for so long and still not seeing any change.

This guy’s a minister? Doesn’t this situation sound familiar to him at all?

I have the faith that He will do it for me, . . .

He didn’t for the apostle Paul, why would God do it for this guy? I’m not knocking his ministry, because he probably does quite a bit of good, but I’m pretty sure Paul was a lot more important in the grand scheme of God’s plan than this one church. If God used a persistent sin to humble Paul into the realization that the grace of God is sufficient for all sins, then he’s probably going to do the exact same thing for this guy.

. . . it’s just why does it have to take so long. I really am tired of doing it. I’m tired of living this double life. I want to be completely and totally sold out for God. Please continue to pray for and with me.

If he wants to be free, then be free. God has already given all Christians the resources needed to live a spiritually fulfilled life:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. (Eph 1:3-4)

Notice the present tense: “who has blessed us in Christ.” It’s not a future blessing we’re expecting. It’s a present tense blessing we receive!

Stop waiting for God to remove the desire. He’s not going to do that. Instead, look for more productive ways to channel the desire. Redirect it. Celibacy is a discipline; here’s Jimmy Akin on that topic, with several distinctions of confusing terms.

Really Good Question

Over at the XXXChurch Confessions Blog, an anonymous man writes the following excellent question:

I have been hurt by church and don’t know how i feel about loving the God that has been presented by the christians i have met. I have struggled with lust for a long time and i have recently realized that i am using it as a form of escape. I have a girlfriend whom i am in love with and we are trying to keep our physical relationship under control but when we mess up I know i have hurt her and that kills me inside. I want to love her wholly, not just for her body and I want her to know that. I just keep beating myself up for it, because i know that this kind of behavior is not right. My problem is that I feel loved when I am touched (not in a sexual way) by someone that cares for me. How can I feel loved by God if he can’t touch me? (source)

Without knowing exactly what sort of God has been presented to him, I have to assume that he can’t reconcile a God of wrath with a God of love. The Bible says that God is love (1 Jn 4:8), however the entire Old Testament presents a God of wrath who is appeased by sacrifices.

Most likely, the Christians our guest poster was talking about were unable to articulate this fact. God’s wrath must be understood alongside his love, not in opposition to it.

The item really at issue, however, is that the writer equates love with touch. As sensual as the touch is, that is far from the only way to show love. Personally, I have fallen in love with three women solely by maintaining an Internet chat relationship with them–the last of which I married and couldn’t be happier that I did. I understand that I’m not the world, but I think a case can be made that love is more than just sensual touch.

I think a good case can be made for loving someone that does things for you that no one else can do. The second of these three women I fell in love with over the Internet held highly intelligent conversations with me, something that I definitely wasn’t getting anywhere else at that time. She remains the smartest woman (and perhaps the smartest person) I’ve ever met. So, without touching me, she captivated my heart in a way that no one had up until that point. I know that she felt the same for me, but I can’t speak as to what part of her I touched that created such lasting feelings in her.

That said, it is easy to make a case for loving God without having a love based in the sense of touch. God created the entire universe (Gen 1:1; Eph 3:9; Rev 4:11) and everything in it, seen and unseen (Col 1:16). God holds all these things together (Col 1:17). God is impartial (Acts 10:34-35) and is the source of all good gifts (Jms 1:17). This means that he also gives gifts at his discretion to even the wicked (Job 21:7-16; Jer 12:1-2) whose sin he cannot tolerate (Prv 20:23; Ps 5:4, 11:5, 37:38; Hab 1:13).

God has done all of these things, and his promise is trustworthy (Heb 13:5).

God may not reach out and touch a person, but it is easy to see all of the things that he has done for us simply by considering the blessings we have in this life. The anonymous poster should remember those gifts, and pay homage to the one who gave those gifts instead of delighting in the gifts themselves.