I believe we sometimes cross paths with people for a reason. One can never be sure of what God’s purposes are in our daily interactions, but once in a great while, I can make an educated guess.
I stumbled across a posting online where someone became comfortable with atheism. They once attended church, believed in all they taught and tried to live a good life. Then, the doctrine of hell began to rear its ugly head. This person became distraught that their significant other was certainly in hell. After some time of struggle, they became an atheist.
OK, this is something I’ve blogged about frequently. This person seemed like a sincere person, so I decided to take a chance to reach out. Well, I had to register first. OK, now can I comment? No, I have to validate my email address. OK, I wait for the email. I click on the link. It takes me away from the page. I have to go back to the page. Oh, now I have to login again. Finally, I can make a comment. I politely point out that the dead know not anything, quoting Ecclesiastes. I give a link to “What Happens When You Die? 2: Is Hell the Punishment for Sinners?” Before I submit, I realize that the new template has messed with the original article, so I edit it. OK, now I hit “submit”.
No, I am not patting myself on the back. I’m venting – a little. I want to put this into perspective.
So, a day or two later, I get a reply. The response was basically (I am paraphrasing), “I’ve always been suspicious when people quote Ecclesiastes, as I’ve always felt that the whole point of living a moral life was that there were eternal consequences.” I’m not sure if there is a lot of irony in this response or if this person is living a pretty riotous life as a consequence of being an atheist.
Did I waste my time and effort? It’s certainly tempting to think so. However, I have to remember that it is not my obligation to convert anyone. All I can do is be used by God to plant seeds. I already promised I wasn’t going to keep pushing this person. If God is calling them now, that will become evident shortly enough. Otherwise, I need to move on.
Coincidence or not? What comes across my path while trying to figure out how and when to write this but an article by The Christian Post by Dale Garris called “What the Hell?” He once was a non-believer. Garris admits that:
But the rational, analytical part of me has always looked curiously at the whole idea of Heaven and Hell. It just doesn’t make sense.
The only evidence he gives is what others who have “seen either Heaven or Hell”. He gives no Biblical support whatsoever. Then, the irony sets in:
I have learned that people will believe what they want to believe in spite of the facts.
I guess that really speaks for itself.