6/29/14 Justin early 20's
I’m realizing that atheism is a religion of good works. I say that because every person I’ve talked to who claims to be an atheist has a backup plan – just in case they find there is life after death and they are facing God’s judgment after they die they all say He would judge them to be good people. Not in terms of their religious beliefs in life but in terms of what they say would be really important – their good deeds. That’s what a young man named Justin told me today. “If I died and woke up to face God like the Bible says, I’d be screwed because I didn’t believe in Him. But I think God would look at my actions, how I treated other people, and I think he would say I’m a pretty good person” he said. I’m sure they are out there, but I have yet to meet an atheist who feels their atheism gives them license to do any wicked deed under the sun, to live completely unaccountable to a higher authority. In fact, the atheists I’ve met claim a higher moral superiority over people who are motivated by religion – they see themselves as being “good without God” – good without the need for reward or punishment in the next life. It is a religion – a belief system - of good works, which I believe is what Paul was referring to when he wrote “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.” (Romans 2) Justin easily agreed that he has a conscience to which he feels obligated, yet doesn’t always follow. He understood that God would not compare him to other people, but would judge him according to His own standard. I may not have talked Justin out of his atheism, but at least he can see his backup plan might not be so reliable after all.