Who is Squandering Their Lives?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 9, 2017 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Last week we looked at how atheism can easily be defined as a religion. We also touched on why the atheist is generally not interested in “evidence” for the existence of God and will frequently claim such evidence doesn't exist. We also mentioned the bleak and miserable outlook of atheism. This leads us to our next statement. This week we'll take a look at a doozy of a statement made by a friend of mine who is an atheist. He says:
“Once you accept your insignificance, you can still make the most out of the one existence you have, rather than squander it, waiting to die for an eternal afterlife that likely is not there.”

Let's break this down: Atheism says we're all insignificant. None of us actually matter because we're just space dust that accumulated here. We're just a collection of chemical reactions and you don't matter beyond that. Atheists, likely because there is no value on life and we are insignificant in this cold uncaring universe, are more likely to commit suicide. This is the result of the hopelessness of atheism. This is where the rubber meets the road, friends. The Word of God does tell us that our lives are but a mist—a vapor that disappears. But this is not to say we are insignificant. It simply means that compared to eternity, our little stint here on the earth is not even a drop in the bucket.

The Bible clearly tells us that human beings are very important—not just the group of us but each of us individually. We are created in the image of God. This is one of the things that sets us apart from all of God's other creations, and according to Jesus, we are much more valuable to the Lord than His other creations. The parable of the Prodigal Son and the parable of the 100 sheep both confirm that we, as individuals, are very important to God. John 3:16 also tells that “...whosoever...” and not just “...the world.” Human beings are collectively and individually the focus of the creation. Not only are we extremely important to our Creator, but we are also deeply and powerfully loved by Him as well. His love, which is far beyond the understanding of man, drove Him to not only create us in His image but to provide the sacrifice for our sins so that we can be with Him. The enormity of that sacrifice is unknowable for us. Our minds cannot comprehend it. This, I feel, is a major contrast between the religion of atheism and Christianity. We have hope; they have none. We are on the mind of God; they are insignificant. We will live forever in paradise; they will be eaten by worms, according to this atheist. If you have struggled with feeling insignificant or with being without value, please know these are lies from the enemy. What value is there in accepting your insignificance when you hold great value and are loved deeply by Almighty God?

The part about having one existence? This is true. We have one existence. This atheist feels that the portion of our existence spent on this rotating rock in space is it. But there is so much more. As I reference above, our life here on the earth is just a vapor. But we have eternity to spend with our Father in heaven. Unfortunately, for my atheist friend, if he chooses to reject Jesus Christ, he will also spend eternity somewhere. It will not be in paradise. This makes me sad. Regardless of your religious affiliation, we are eternal beings created in the image of God.

What is interesting is he goes on to say “...rather than squander it.” This is interesting to me, anyway, because I firmly believe that the very large majority of people who squander their existence are atheists. What else do they have to live for other than self? Why would they live for anything other than self? You have a few that get behind those bigger ideas and turn them into a cause—global warming is a great example. But my friend is insinuating that Christians squander their lives away while atheists must truly live. This is amazing! Christians have been living amazing lives for 2000 years. Christians have been investing in people and serving people since Christianity's birth some 2000 years ago. Let's take a look.

As recorded in the Bible, Christians were serving people all over and all the time. They were joining together, carrying each other’s burdens, and doing what we call fellowship all the time. Paul took up a collection wherever he went for those living in Jerusalem because of a great famine. This could be the famine that happened in Judea about 46-47 AD. Christ called us to do good works for people so that God may be glorified. It's not for our benefit, but for His glory. This was demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus Christ. He did not use His power to honor Himself or to gain. He used it to serve others—for provision, healing, and impacting lives for the Kingdom. He was truly living as He did these awesome works. As we discussed last week, the good works come from a changed heart and not to gain salvation. That's important enough to state again. The impact of Christ as His servants truly live in this place is something to note.

When our nation, founded on Christian principles, was young, the Christian people got to work. Of the first 108 colleges founded in this nation early on, 106 were founded by Christians. These included Harvard, Yale, and Princeton as well as many other well-known schools. By 1860, of the 246 colleges in America, 17 were state-sponsored while the rest were Christian institutions. Christians, truly living life, can be credited with establishing the modern hospital. The attitude in the Greco-Roman world towards the sick was not what it is today. Christians changed the way we looked at the sick or injured by showing compassion and lending a hand rather than despising the sick and just tolerating them—if they were tolerated at all. Notable men like Grosseteste, Bacon, and Boyle (who must have been a heavy metal fan from these images) encouraged physicians to abandon long held traditions that seemed to have little impact on an illness and instead pushed for experiments that would demonstrate the efficacy of a treatment.

The Catholic Church claims to oversee 26% of all healthcare in the world. That's remarkable! It has around 18,000 clinics, 16,000 homes for the elderly and those with special needs, and 5,500 hospitals, according to Wikipedia. Jesus Christ cared for the sick, so it only makes sense that His followers would do the same. Christianity is the single largest provider of healthcare in the world and especially in many underdeveloped nations where there is no other care available. The Church started “social work” and has provided relief for many financially as well as in terms of health care, counseling, and even protection with things like women's crisis intervention and aid for children victimized by child abuse. The Red Cross was founded by a believer. There are orphanages all over the world started and run by Christian organizations. Habitat for Humanity, one of the largest charities in the U.S., was founded by a Christian. The Salvation Army is worth noting; they take care of a variety of needs for the poor and downtrodden. There are many organizations that are dedicated to educating women, especially in places where women are considered second class citizens. This is because wherever the Gospel is taken, women are elevated to equal standing with men. There are countless organizations that feed, clothe, educate, and provide shelter for the poor around the world. The largest portion of them are founded by Christians and funded by Christians.

Everyone knows that the Church as a whole has loved and cared for the needs of countless people. Take a look at this statement by atheist Jurgen Habermas's that "the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love." Who is squandering their lives here? Have atheists done such things? Sure, but very little in comparison. And likely not for the same reasons.

Studies show that 40% of “religious” people volunteer to help the poor while 15% of atheists do. Church goers will donate, on average, about $1,500 to charity, while non-church goers are more in the $200 range. According to ABC News “Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money: four times as much. And... that giving goes beyond their own religious organization: Actually, the truth is that they're giving to more than their churches. The religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly non-religious charities.” Impacting our world in a powerful way—truly living and making a difference rather than squandering our lives.

So while it seems that atheists are much more likely to squander their lives and have very little impact on the world around them, living a life filled with Jesus Christ and His work is real living, hands down.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.