No, Atheist, Faith Isn’t the Easy Way. It’s the Hard Way.

cliffEver seen a teacher accused of having it “easy”?

Having had my own classroom, I’m galled when people consider teachers overpaid for working 8am-9pm writing lesson plans, attending (or coaching) sports events, tutoring, meeting parents, re-decorating, supervising detention, and, yes, grading mountains of graffiti-ed tree product. However you feel about certain teachers, I assure you the good ones don’t bolt at the bell.

I feel somewhat similarly when some atheist announces that the Christian faith is easy. That we somehow settle for it, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, because it’s easier than changing our minds.

Behold this gleaming nugget:

“Believers are…easily trapped and continuously fooled by their own choice. Because it pacifies. It’s easy, and it’s comfortable.”

My jaw dropped. Then chortled at the absurdity.

Followed by a long sigh.

Easy? Comfortable?

The Christian faith is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve long been on my knees for a sister fighting cancer (three children in tow). My church is scrambling for foster homes for countless little ones without anyone to look after them. We’re not spared the statistics that report almost half the world living on $2.50/day.

We see it. Experience it. Far worse in some countries.

And in each case, the onus for progress lies on us.

The church steeple is no shelter from the age-old questions of “if God, why evil”. In fact, it serves as a lightning rod, bringing them straight to our hearts. We don’t get to avoid suffering or pass it off as senselessness or randomness – we’re taught to embrace it as growth and God-familiarization, to seek God’s purpose in it. Weekly we’re pushed to persevere, with no real guarantee of healing or breakthrough in this life. Nothing reminds me of my disappointments like stepping into church.

I don’t seek pity for all this. I have God.

But I do seek to educate, because I wonder if certain skeptics have ever spoken to a Christian in their lives. Comfortable?

The narrow path is one of self-denial, self-examination, and wrestling with the thoughts. Power and riches are pooh-poohed by Christ. Instead, we’re taught to love the unlovely, pray for enemies, and leave no motive unappraised. All the while, the world spins itself apart around us, seemingly deaf to the cries of the broken, oppressed, and collaterally damaged.

Can non-Christians live stoic, introspective lives? Yes, some do.

But I know few atheists (or Christians) who aspire to lofty standards like “everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27). How do you explain why one would cling so tightly so a faith that denies him sex? Something tells me the sex drive is slightly stronger than The Comfort of the Status Quo.

Same with survival instinct. If the martyrs hint at anything, it’s that something more is behind Christianity. People don’t die for uncertainties.

That’s just two arenas, but none offer any less stratospheric a call.

There’s nothing easy about Christianity. The desire to cling to your upbringing is feeble next to the gale of livingit. Its tenets defy every human impulse, cut off every self-indulgence, and preclude the possibility of being the product of flawed human inertia. If I were making my own religion, it would look like anything but Christianity.

And that, skeptic friend, is a great part of how I know Christ is real.

 

 

I’m glad you tuned in today. If you found this post to be of value, please feel free to share it on social media. Thanks a bunch!

 

10 thoughts on “No, Atheist, Faith Isn’t the Easy Way. It’s the Hard Way.

  1. Bravo! Well stated. Living in the Refiner’s fire is distinctly uncomfortable, but then as you said, we don’t live for hope in this world. Oh, how I pray one of my own atheist friends who’s lived hell in this world will embrace hope for eternity! It kills me to think of extending misery forever…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good post. I agree, living out the Christian faith is not easy. Sometimes I think about how much easier it would be if I just said “forget it!” No more denial of self, no more sacrificial giving, freeing up a considerable amount of time each week. But of course then I would be turning my back on the Truth, which is something I just can’t do.

    Liked by 3 people

    • There’s definitely a radical tension between the idea of God’s goodness and the weight of all the discipline and sacrifice he brings. It would be nice to just dump that. Until, of course, you realized that you’d dumped his living presence along with it – I don’t know what I’d do without that. It’s so much more than fire insurance.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s always easy to be an outsider looking in at a situation. One day, we will all find ourself in the middle of a new situation. It’s here that we realize the difficulty of the journey. It’s here our faith is tested. Believing in the unknown is hard, it’s why it takes faith. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You hit the nail on the head with this post Brandon. Faith in Jesus is not easy, but one that requires much effort. It is not for the faint of heart. I was at at what some would call a spiritual retreat a few years back for the Feast of Passover. The event was held at a camp that had once been a military training camp. While walking around enjoying the beauty I heard God speak to me. The military has boot camp. Were the newly enlisted train, but then there are the special forces that have a much more difficult training camp they go to. Not all who go there make it through because of the level of difficulty. He said this is what you and others are now going through. Thanks for this post it was a good reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

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