Saturday a group of atheists called the Humanists of Florida took brooms and what they called “unholy water” and scrubbed a fairly unremarkable section of Florida Hwy 98. Why? They had just learned that a year earlier some Christians had prayed over some area of that road leading into their town (they didn’t know exactly where) and anointed it with oil, praying for God’s protection to keep the evildoers and drug dealers out. They were trying to “unbless” the road.
What confuses me is this. An atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in God, or at least that’s how they define themselves. Ok. I think that they are making a really bad mistake, but it’s theirs to make. If they don’t believe there is a God, then what in the world difference would it make if a year ago someone put some oil on a road and said a prayer? In their belief system (or non-belief system) there is nothing there to pray to and nothing to answer that prayer.
The list of things that some people believe in and I do not believe in is fairly long: Bigfoot, ghosts, horoscopes, psychics, the Mayan calendar, the universe telling you things, “The Secret”, fate, aliens, and whitening toothpaste, to name a few. But the amount of time I put into protesting, forming or joining organizations, public speaking, TV appearances, and ranting against these things – zero. I don’t think they’re real. So they aren’t worth my time. I might possibly discuss with a friend who, say, is seriously listening to a psychic why I think it’s not only a waste of time but also against the Word of God, but I won’t dedicate my life to it.
If the atheists genuinely don’t believe in God, why do they give him so much time and effort? They seem to center their life around his non-existence. Some of them spend a lot more time and energy on God than Christians I know, just in the opposite direction. It feels to me more like hostility than non-belief, and in my personal opinion, the hostility comes from fear. Fear of losing autonomy. Fear of what they were told God was like – harsh, judgmental, punishing.
I feel so deeply the obligation to be that light that Jesus said we were (by the way, did you ever think about the fact that Jesus said he was the Light of the World, and then said that WE were the light of the world? That is pretty cool!!) I feel such a need to shine the truth – not the law but the love. To let people see and feel the unconditional acceptance that somehow has gotten very lost in most people’s understanding of who God is and what Jesus did. I want to preach it at all times, and if necessary, use words.