What we thought about...



3rd July, 2006

Seeing God articles
Faith & Reason articles
Bible Teachings articles

Do churches unwittingly promote atheism?

What a shocking suggestion. To some it may sound like nothing short of a diabolical accusation. But wait a minute. Let me explain what I mean. The thought came to me while watching a TV panel discussion recently on the status of God in the modern world. Noted atheistic evolutionist, Richard Dawkins, made a comment that struck home with great force — he said words to the effect that the churches have grossly undersold God. What did he mean? He was saying, in effect, that if all that we see in the universe was actually brought into existence by a powerful, intelligent Being, then that Being must be glorious beyond all verbal description. Yet churches fail to make any capital out of this brilliant concept. They make little attempt to probe the greatness of God, and this failure leads to a perception by non-Christians of the Christian God as rather uninspiring by comparison with the “God” of atheists — the big bang and evolution. The image presented by atheists and evolutionists of their “ultimate cause” comes across as more appealing, more “worshipable”, much “bigger” than the pale image of God presented by believers. Believers simply don't seem to have any concept of divine glory.

You know something, I think he may be right! Our failure — and maybe even refusal — to capture the vision of God's glory may give skeptics reason to remain skeptical. Believers may ostensibly believe in an “omnipotent and omniscient” ultimate cause, but for reasons beyond comprehension they have made little attempt to put real meat on the verbal skeleton. The image of God portrayed to the rest of the world by Christians is of a dead man. Of course the church should put enormous emphasis on Jesus Christ as the atoning lamb. Nothing shows the infinite goodness of God more than does the crucifixion. But the impression given to the

unregenerate is that Christians worship a dead man rather than a supremely glorious and all powerful, eternal, saving Being. Yes, Jesus died for our sins. But instead of the spotlight being panned only on a dead body, maybe it should be put on the awesomeness of the Being who was willing to humble Himself by entering flesh and giving His life for our sins. The One who hung on the cross two thousand years ago is alive and glorious — in some very real way He brought this whole vast universe into being (John 1:3). Muslims do a better job than Christians in proclaiming the greatness of their view of God — the phrase “Allah akhbar” (God is great) is recited by millions of Muslims every day. Why don't you ever hear Christians proclaim the same about their God? Jesus Christ and His Father are the One True God; are we ashamed to shout out, “God is great”? Let us give credit to whom credit is due: some creationists, particularly young-earth advocates, zealously preach the greatness of God.

Stephen Hawking, who probably knows more about our universe than any other living soul, made this incredibly personal confession:

My work on the origin of the Universe is on the border between science and religion, but I try to stay on the scientific side. We are on a minor planet of a very average star in the outer suburbs of one of a hundred thousand million galaxies. It is difficult to believe in a God that would care about us ( Readers Digest Sept. 1993, p. 148).

Professor Hawking finds it hard to believe that any being who has what it takes to create our universe could possibly have any interest in us. (What a staggering truth Psalm 113:6 reveals.) Hawking has a vision of God's glory that far surpasses that of many believers; if only he believed in God.


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