12/13/16 David about 50
Prominent atheist Rob Sherman died in a plane crash Friday night, and today I spoke with a man who could very well be part of the legacy he leaves behind. I initiated an outreach conversation with Dave, about 50, at a McDonalds. Dave told me he had grown up Lutheran but struggled with doubts about God in his 20’s. It was during this period of searching and questioning that he called and talked with Rob Sherman, who helped steer him into atheism.
Now David says it is because there is so much evil in the world that can’t believe God exists. I found myself countering with a familiar line of reasoning. “So what if there was only half as much evil? Would you believe in God then? How about a fourth? It makes me think about the questions Abraham asked the Lord when He said he would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah; ‘Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?’ Abraham went on to ask if he would spare them for forty-five, forty, and on down to ten. In each case, God was merciful for sparing the destruction these wicked cities deserved.” Now instead of seeing God as merciful for withholding the destruction brought on by sin, David was judging God as evil for allowing sin to continue. The problem was, David didn’t see himself as part of that sin. He was so busy judging the faults of the world that he didn’t see them in himself. If God were to destroy all evil, David would have to be included.
Rob Sherman didn’t tell David about that part of the story. Instead, he offered a form of self-righteousness that atheists crave – the feeling that they can be good without God. That conversation was one that David never forgot. Sherman would have loved for him to be part of his legacy. But I trust that the God he claimed not to believe in will have the last word.