Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Atheism and Homelessness

Some reflections on Facebook of a cart pushed by a homeless man with a sign that says, "There is no God."

"When I initially saw this, my first thought was what the.... Then my thought was what was it that brought this man to this place. Then realized, he needed to experience love, especially the love of God that at times seems so void to many." -Mike Furches

"Indeed he does need to experience love, God's love. As does everyone who has concluded that there is no God. God's word does say "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" One can be a rich fool or a poor fool. Everyone experiences trials and hardships in life, to which one can react with bitterness and blame God or deny his existence, or by recognizing their dependence on God and crying out to him for help. Some people's hardships and sorrows are more visible to others, but all have them. A poor homeless person who denies God is as lost as a rich, apparently comfortable one, and neither has any more of an excuse in God's eyes than the other. Both are headed to Hell. But God doesn't want anyone to be lost that way. As He says in Ezekiel 33:11, "As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!" Someone who is a declared enemy of God, IMO is far more likely to be turned than someone who is complacent and believes he is "just as good as anyone else." As a former atheist, I'm an example. Understanding why someone feels bitter toward God can help you to connect with someone to help guide them to God, but it doesn't give them an excuse. It also smacks of condescension to imply that it does, and that they can't help it." -John Culp

To say that someone has a reason for their irrationality is not to excuse it, but to give us an opportunity to get to know the person rather than reject them outright. On the other hand, to call someone a fool or hell bound separates us from this person, where we no longer see them as human and it gives US an excuse to ignore them. Even as a man has no excuse before God for denying Him, we who claim to believe in God have no excuse before God for ignoring and not loving His enemies, even as He does. -Steve Kimes

"Okay so I wanted to weigh in on this one because I feel I kinda need to. I was homeless once and if someone approached me with my negative mindset towards God at that moment and quoted what John said, I would've turned even FURTHER away from God then I already was. John I know what God's word says, but He also speaks about His lovingkindness and compassion. Homeless people do NOT need to be condemned for things like this. What they need is someone to come alongside them and be the hands and feet of Jesus THEN share the Gospel with them. Let he who has committed no wrongs cast the first stone. We don't stone people with rocks so much anymore, but we DO stone them with our judgemental attitudes." -Jenny Baker

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