Country Living Series

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Insulting the Spirit of grace

Recently I’ve been seeing comments left by an atheist on a popular website. These weren’t just shrug-there-is-no-god comments. Rather, they were vitriolic attacks on the Divine, a blanket hatred and condemnation of anything having to do with the Almighty. And I mean these were vicious. Naturally, anyone who believed in God was included in this fellow’s blasphemy. His ire was particularly directed at Christians since he was certain we are all knuckle-dragging hypocrites.

This man took great glee in writing how he was raised in an evangelical home, but became “enlightened” as an adult and now spends much of his free time (if his comments are any indication) waxing eloquent with his gospel of hatred and loathing. His words are disturbing, lingering in the mind of the reader.

Lately this fellow, and folks like him, have been on my mind. I can't understand such hated, I guess. I find myself praying for people like that, people who are so filled with loathing for God that they entirely miss the peace which passeth all understanding.

Then last night I was reading Hebrews when this passage leaped out at me:

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Gave me the shivers, it did, for that’s precisely what this person was doing with his comments. Trampling the Son of God underfoot. Treating the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing. Insulting the Spirit of grace. I fear his punishment will, indeed, be severe.

Guess I’ll keep praying, sounds like he needs it.


  1. Its folks like that that prove to me the gospel. I pity those poor folks destined for destruction. Their raging hatred is proof that they know that they are wrong. If they really thought that they were right they would pity us for being so wrong and misguided. Instead they hate us for no reason. Enough said.

  2. I usually try to avoid places where I would run into people like that, but I seem to be running into them more often lately.

    I'm part of an online artist group called DeviantART (the name itself should've been a red flag, but at the time I joined I had just graduated and had online friends from college and my sister who was still in high school on there). Over the years, my opinions changed and so did my friends, and things I saw there that I once thought of as merely uncomfortable or 'just not my taste' became disturbing and offensive to me. We're talking about a site that has poor filtering and accepts work that's obviously pornographic as 'fetish' pieces. Makes me wonder why I still maintain an account there (There are some great cartoonists and landscape/nature photographers as well as beautiful fan art for some of my favorite shows. I guess that's why).

    There are many, many very liberal minded teenagers and young adults on that site (after a few brave excursions into the forums I decided to avoid them like the plague. Talk about sheep!), and they have no problems bashing more traditional ways of thinking. The site is even used by some to support very progressive agendas and rampant hetero and homosexual deviance (I'm still on the fence when it comes to homosexuality). I soon discovered that I was part of a demonized minority there, and therefore, I tried my best not to step on any toes or view things I didn't like (that can be pretty hard as the only way you can find the decent art was to shuffle through the trash).

    There have been a couple of times I was afraid to go back because I had a rare streak of courage to comment on a blatantly anti-Christian piece of work or comment placed on a Christian oriented piece. However, I have found a couple of very vocal people pushing back lately, and they show an amazing ability to let the comments of their critics slide of their backs. Of all places, I never thought I would find such blazing beacons of hope. They've encouraged others, even non-Christians, to come out and start talking more openly about the issue.

    The site does have a good side, if you know where to look. Made some decent friends there and made an outlet for my creativity. I may have some tastes that run counter to what most people who read your blog are into, but I still try to live by standards God has set for me. Sometimes, it requires us to walk into very intimidating places. In the end, I've become stronger for it.


  3. I have a neighbor (my only neighbor) who is like that. He feels anyone who has ANY belief in God or all powerful being is retarded. He's actually said that! I went to a holiday party at his home once and all he did was belittle everyone who wasn't there for their belief system, while pretending to be Mr Wisdom and a patriarch of the neighborhood.
    I can only think that people like this are the saddest folk in the world to have no belief, no hope. Why they can't just say "I don't believe" and leave it at that, I have no idea. Maybe they are scared.

  4. Patrice;
    You brought to mind Romans 1, the last part of the chapter; "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." I always wondered, if at some point restoration/redemption can no longer take place for these who trample the Son of God underfoot.

  5. People who hate will find any excuse to hate something. I know atheists who do not hate a Christian person. I do not try to preach to them and they do not preach to me.
    Also, my daughter went for a period where she was exploring other religions while in college. There was one girl, who was very religious and worked with the local church, and she accepted my daughter for who she was, not for what she was exploring. This girl invited my daughter to church activities and I am sure that she prayed a lot for her, but this girl had friend, who hated my daughter for what she was doing. This girl also resented when my daughter's friend would invite her along to activities.
    So, I do truly believe, atheist, or not, this person just enjoys hating what he does not fully understand. Just like this other girl did-she could not understand my daughter, but it also appears that she could not be like my daughters friend, and pray for her.
    Oh, and the prayers eventually worked, while I am not sure what my daughters full beliefs are at this time, her destructive behavior has ended.

  6. A leader of our church once said "They can leave the church, but they can't leave the church alone." Could such hatred and vitriolic ranting be a guilty conscience struggling to justify ones actions? I feel sorry that such people are so blinded by their hatred that they see the world through distorted lenses. It is not the believers in God who spread hatred and commit genocide, rather the Godless. By their fruits ye shall know them.

  7. I assure you that this person does not sleep well at night. He will have no hope and has wagered that he will lose whether there is or is not a God that loves him. I pray too that like St. Paul, he will have a turn around.

  8. The insult to his present life, and the consequences he casts toward himself while he is still pseudo-alive on earth, are biblically specific and horrid.

    The damage to his eternal soul is permanent once he has
    this repetitive path of hatred toward God, whom created us each and all.

  9. Patrice,
    Thank you for your insight. I have often used this passage with teens, who frequently flaunt the Grace of God in their life choices and actions. Keep praying that those who insult His Grace will one day repent and beg for mercy.

  10. Everyone who sins is anxious to justify his sins. (You, me, everyone). It is the Grace of God that allows us to humbly admit when we do wrong. When we reject God's Grace of humble self examination, we seek out ways to justify what we have done. When we continue down this path, eventually the only way to justify our actions is to reject God and His laws completely. Then the devil takes over and makes one hate all that is good... and hate the author of all good... our Lord.

    1. I have read all the responses on this page, and your response sticks out to me. What you say really hits home. I have taken the liberty to print out you response and post it in my work area so i can read it from time to time.

  11. There was an early spectacular case of an abortion doctor murdered by a crazy man. The doctor's son, who is brilliant, is strongly opposed to Christianity but does not feel the need to attack God and Christians. I later learned that the doctor's daughter wound up as a Christian missionary. Talk about contrasting results!

    The best thing we can do for such folk is to pray for them.

  12. I am a long time reader, and an atheist. I see no difference between the way this atheist approaches religion and the way many who are religious approach atheism. I don't have much respect for it either way it goes. I do not hate religious people, I do not bash them. Even when my own disbelief is questioned, I do not retaliate in kind. It's a two way street, and I remember the golden rule. I do not appreciate being preached to and called horrible names (i.e. Rozy's comment about the godless being purveyors of genocide)and insulted for my atheism, and so I would never do the same to believers, regardless of how much I disagree with them (and WOW, do I disagree about that genocide comment!!).

    I guess I just want to make the point that the road goes both ways. Maybe atheist crusaders are just responding to their maltreatment by believers? Certainly they aren't going to convert anyone this way, but neither will the hateful tactics employed by many evangelical Christian groups. Just sayin'...

    1. Lynette, I too am a long time reader and I am an Atheist as well. I also have no hatred towards Christians, Jews, Muslims etc, etc. however I have had strangers and even members of my own family (who are Christians) that I was going to hell. They all seems to have had some sort of perverse enjoyment in saying these thing to me while red faced and hate in their eyes. The interesting thing is I am the first one who gets called on in their hour of need. As a matter of fact, the people who have hurt me the deepest in my lifetime were practicing Christians. I don't hurt people, I don't hurt animals (vegetarian) I don't even step on bugs....yet strangers feel free to vomit their hate all over me when they discover that I don't believe in their god But I don't blame Christianity for it.. hateful mean's an individual character flaw. Just my opinion.

  13. I have find that people like this aren't really atheist. How can you have intense hatred for something you believe doesn't exist? The short answer is you can't If you believe God truly doesn't exist then you can't hate him because to do so would imply you actually DO believe and simply are choosing to hate instead of love. In any case the comments these people choose to share with the world aren't worthy of my time to read, consider, or even spend any time thinking about so I won't.

    1. I completely agree with your assessment as it makes logical sense. To hate something requires a known object, entity, substance or belief system. To say a person hates god and does not believe in A god goes against logic. Satan hated God but believed and knew there is a god and this was his reason for the hate. For thousands of years this love hate relationship occurred and at every defining moment, love prevailed. It truly will be a sad day when a persons time on this earth reaches the end and only then finds out they should have chosen love over hatred. The grace of Christ will be there to the end but you must first choose to accept it in order to receive it.

  14. Some people have a hateful nature, regardless of religion. I have met "evangelical Christians" that would make anyone shun religion...and I have met atheists that were the most compassionate, loving people you would ever want to know.
    I am not Christian, but I do have a faith. I rarely speak of it, as my faith doesn't proselytize (we believe those that are meant to believe in our faith will be called to this path on their own).
    Even though I have a different faith, I do not believe in denigrating the faith (or non-faith) of others. It is not my business to tell anyone what to believe or not believe.
    Also, as an adult, I try to be civil to others in all things. Civility is a rare thing these days and I would hope all try to practice it, regardless of faith.
    I find it sad that so many atheists and those that do have faith have become so darn militant about it. If your faith brings joy and meaning to your life, that is wonderful. If you are happy and content NOT believing, that is wonderful, too! Why some people feel the need to spew hateful things about the faith of another is beyond me. The only thing I can imagine is that the atheist mentioned in Patrice's post is miserable and lonely and spewing such things is their way of expressing this.

  15. I agree wholeheartedly with anon 1:01.

    I find that those most vocal in their 'atheism' are those who have had a bad experience and blame God for it (or for not rescuing them).

    I know many atheists and respect those who have decided rationally that this is their truth even as I personally disagree. I find that in the majority they exchange faith in God for faith in some 'other', be it a rational universe, fate or different type of faith (look at the resurgence of spiritualism, crystals and holistic therapies, etc. in those claiming atheism). To claim to be an atheist in such a case is hypocritical.

    Myself, I was raised in a strict Christian household. I became more agnostic as a teen and only rediscovered my faith whilst 'seeing the elephant'. I've grown to see 'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' to be a test, and view (with admitted difficulty sometimes) each with the question, 'what should I have learned from this?'.

    I feel nothing but pity for those like the person you highlighted, their nihilistic viewpoint of 'I felt let down so to make myself feel better I'll attack anyone who still has faith' is childish and, unfortunately, all too common in the modern me,me,me culture.

    Conversely, as Lynette stated, the actions of some Christian groups is 'less than helpful'. I see the actions of an uncle (who was one of 4 out of 27 to survive a pit disaster, only to go on to be one of 2 out of 16 to survive another) who never proselytized but rather 'led by example', as the real Christian face we should present. The truth can't be given, it can only be found.

  16. I think most atheists and unbelievers I have seen, met or read about don't actually hate God or Jesus. They hate PEOPLE who tried to convey the moralities and teachings of the Bible, but who failed either because of a lack of knowledge or because they let their pride and egotism blind them to the truth.

    All my life I've heard people say the Bible is a difficult book to understand. I've attended many different churches and Bible study groups over the years, from Friends (Quakers) to First Christian, to Baptist, Protestant, Lutheran and even Catholic, and the pastors and instructors in all these churches wanted me to believe THEM and not try to interpret the Bible on my own. After all, they were the ones trained in Bible Doctrine, weren't they? It took many years, but I finally realized this wasn't necessarily so. And lately is almost never so!

    I began reading the Bible on my own. I chose a popular modern English version (the New American Standard Bible) that stayed true to the original King James version, but used more modern English, making it much easier to understand. Many pastors I've known insisted the King James version is the only Bible Christians should read, but it's a fact that even the English never spoke King James' English!

    A simple example: I asked one pastor what "wherefore" means in the King James Bible. He said it meant "where." No. Actually it means "why." A very wise pastor and close friend told me NO pastor in ANY church should be teaching Bible Doctrine unless he or she has a good grasp of Hebrew and Koine Greek. He added that a little Aramaic would also help. This is because there are many more interpretations of a word, sentence or meaning in the Koine Greek, for instance, than in English. A good pastor should know this, or he could be leading his flock astray.

    And it appears, sadly, that many are being led astray nowadays. Very little Bible Doctrine is being taught anymore in many, if not most, of our major Christian colleges, let alone our churches! This is something Christians should be very concerned about. Christian colleges are becoming more liberal-progressive every day, teaching upcoming young pastors very little Bible Doctrine. In many cases, a student can graduate with a "well-rounded" education (as liberals see it), but with very little knowledge of the Bible they will someday try to teach to others! --Fred in AZ

  17. I'm a Lutheran, but I've been to other churches, some very welcoming and some would make you want to run away as fast as possible. I'm pretty lucky with the church I have. The pastor has been there a while, and he does a lot of historical research for his sermons (makes me happy because I'm a history nut!) Sadly, I do see the progressive thinking slowly creeping in. I'm glad we have enough longtime members that there's no way they can make too many changes, and our pastor wants to do things the way our members want to do it. The day that he leaves may be the day I'll no longer attend church, unless we luck out and get someone like him. I'm too fond of the particular way I was raised, which encourages me to look between the lines and look at other points of view. I don't know what I'm going to do when I finally start having children. Just do a home service, I guess, but its not the same as having a whole community of support, like I have now.