Recently I was watching a religious debate on a weekend morning show and I was struck by the words of the atheist being interviewed for the segment. She said that as an atheist she cannot call upon a “Big-Supernatural-Agrees-With-Me-Kind-Of-Person”, but has to rely on her opinions only. While I cannot deny that there are many people who do see and use God in this manner, I was ultimately saddened by her words because I felt that her assessment of the majority of religious people, particularly Christians, was misunderstood. For me personally, as a Christian, God is anything but a “Big-Supernatural-Agrees-With-Me-Kind-Of-Person.”
In all honesty, if I did not believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour I can guarantee you that I would not hold the values, morals and views that I do. In other words, God has made me more like Himself rather than the other way around. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” And in Isaiah 55:9 God says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God is anything but an imaginary friend who concurs with individual opinion and judgement, and He is not a “Yes Man” whom we can call upon to agree with us whenever we need Him. Quite the opposite, God calls His followers to live a “more excellent way” (1 Cor 12:31). He calls believers to love (Mt 22:37-40). He calls us to not only love our friends, but our enemies also (Lk 6:27). He calls us to forgive those who hurt us (2 Cor 2:5). He calls us to show compassion, mercy and grace. To have integrity. To be humble. To have patience. To be meek (which means to be humbly patient under the provocation of others). This is the way of life that God calls Christians to and He has given us the perfect example of this life in His son, Jesus Christ. As humans, sinful and proud, it can be a real struggle to love others, especially those who hurt us and it is a real struggle to be forgiving, compassionate, gracious, humble, patient, and meek. Therefore, this call to love, and love unconditionally shows us that God’s ways are truly higher than human ways, His thoughts higher than human thoughts. For me to believe in God is not to have my thoughts, opinions and judgements reinforced, instead it is a constant challenge (and encouragement) to change, to grow, and to become more like Jesus Christ. It is a call to live in a manner that is good, acceptable and pleasing to God.
I am truly sorry that the woman being interviewed the other day felt that religious people were just calling upon an imaginary superpower to give the “tick of approval” to their opinions. As is my experience, to believe in Jesus Christ does not let me get comfortable in my thoughts and opinions, instead it calls me to a more excellent way.