6/20/12 Garreth, about 35
I gained a little insight into the mind of the atheist today while out witnessing with Brad, from church. We asked a man on his way to the train station if he had a little time for some questions, and when he found out they were of a spiritual nature he laughed and said "I see why you first asked if I had some time!" He said he had a few minutes, which began a half hour conversation. He immediately identified himself as an atheist, although he seemed open-minded enough to have the wisdom to admit ignorance as an agnostic. He had many of the usual arguments against God's existence, morality, and eternal consequences for ones actions that many atheists have. One thing he said caught my attention. When asked how God, if He exists, would judge him, Garreth believes he would be judged to be a good person. Why? Not because he has kept any moral laws, but because "I have been true to myself. I'm not a sell out, and I didn't choose to believe in God simply because I fear death or hell or need to be certain of the future" To Garreth, the highest moral quality one can have is to be true to scientific evidence no matter what conclusions they might lead to. He believes if God existed He would ignore his unbelief or moral failures, as long as he doesn't sell out to what he sees as irrational beliefs or emotional reactions. In fact he thinks God would be to blame for not making His existence more obvious. In all my witnessing conversations I have discovered that the vast majority of people have a sort of moral "insurance policy" that protects them from accusations should they be judged by God. No one thinks they are without sin, but all have a set of excuses to justify their moral shortcomings. For Garreth, and many other atheists, it is his devotion to science and God's failure to reveal Himself. I told him of the biblical teaching in Romans 1, that "...since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." I pointed to the houses next to us, explaining that simply by looking at them, we know they had an architect, carpenters and bricklayers. "In the same way creation has laws and order: so we know there was a creator, a lawgiver and designer." Did we convince Garreth of anything? According to the Bible, nothing he doesn't already know!