C-1117.3 - Guidelines International Ministries

Transcription

C-1117.3 - Guidelines International Ministries
Subject: Atheism Release: May 29, 2013 ATHEISM AND THE DESPAIR OF HOPE C-­‐1117.3 I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:4 When Scott Bailey was severely injured in a high school football accident, he began a slow recovery, having to cope with reprogramming his brain, which had been injured. Scott, however, could remember some things with crystal clarity. He knew what he believed, and he spoke openly of his faith and trust in God. When someone accused him of using his faith in God as a crutch, Scott replied, "Crutch nothing; God is my whole hospital!" In times is crisis, atheism provides no support, no refuge to whom you can turn for help, no hope that things will be different because the God who is there also cares about you as an individual. Bertrand Russell was one of the past century’s m ost prominent atheists. He first gained notoriety with the publication of his book Principia Mathematica or Principles of Mathematics. He lectured at Cambridge, Harvard, the University of Chicago, and the University of Peking. He received the Nobel P rize for his contribution to literature. In the sunset years of his life, darkness shrouded his heart and soul. In a letter to Lowes Dickinson he wrote, "We stand on the shores of an ocean, crying to the night and the emptiness; sometimes a voice answers out of the darkness. But it is a voice of one drowning; and in a moment the silence returns" (Bertrand Russell, Autobiography, p. 287 as quoted by Leroy Koopman, "Famous Atheists Give Their Testimonies," Moody Monthly, Nov. 1975, p. 124.). One of the most well-­‐known evangelists for atheism–with the possible exception of Madeline Murray O'Hare–was Robert Ingersoll (1833-­‐1899). As he stood at the grave of his brother, he cried, "Death is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We cry aloud and the only answer is the wailing echo of our cry" (Ibid.). I contrast that with the hundreds of people I have known who have drawn their last b reath with a smile on their lips and the joyful anticipation that "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord," as Paul put it. W. Somerset Maugham, who died in 1965, was one of Britain's m ost popular authors. "I have never pretended to b e anything but a story teller," he wrote; and he did it very effectively, choosing to earn his living by crafting words rather than mending bodies, using his skills acquired in medical school. Maugham grew up in Paris, the son of the solicitor to the British embassy. He was an avowed atheist, but towards the end of his life, he questioned that he was right. "When I look back on my life," he wrote, "it seems to me strangely lacking in reality… It m ay be that m y heart, having found rest nowhere, had some deep ancestral craving for God and immortality which my reason would have no truck with" and he died with that darkness (Norman Ross, The Chicago Daily News, January 26, 1964). Another Nobel Prize winner, George Bernard Shaw, approached the end of his life and had the same foreboding question. "The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt," he wrote in Too Good to Be Good, adding, "Its counsels which should have established the millennium have led directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once… In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions of worshippers in the temples of a thousand creeds. And now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost his faith." (Koopman, p. 125). Time forbids my telling you of others including Fredrick N ietzsche, the man who said, "God is dead; we have done away with him," who died in a mental institution, depressed and forlorn. Atheism is bankrupt and void of hope, and apart from hope, there is no point in existence. And that is why I am not an atheist. Resource reading: Psalm 61:1-­‐4. The preceding material was written and produced by Dr. Harold Sala. All rights reserved ©. Reproduction for sale or financial profit is prohibited. Permission to reprint may be obtained by contacting Guidelines International Ministries, Box G, Laguna Hills, CA 92654 USA. Email at [email protected]