“ATHEISM: LOOSING HOPE IN LIFE”
In my previous article on “Ghanaweb, Religion of Friday,27th August 2010”, we discussed the great challenge of atheism. In this write up we will focus upon a sobering fact---The death of our mortal bodies.
Death is an ironic subject. It is often thought of but seldom discussed. It is called the last enemy, “the unknown quantity”, the thief of strength and opportunity. Modern technology has opened limitless vistas of knowledge. We can trace life from fetal development to gerontology. However, we do not know more about the moment after death than we have known for centuries. All who reject the scriptures are ignorant about the nether world. Ignorance brings about fear and at death atheism “meets its nemesis”.
“Any system that does not know the origin of man and cannot give his reason for being, certainly must remain silent of his destiny, or at best, argue for nothingness”(a quote from Zacharias). The most frightening aspect of death to people is that at the instant of death we leave everything we have and take everything we are. All the wealth amassed, achievements accumulated, honours received are worth nothing, for there are no pockets in burial shrouds. Death reveals atheism's flaws. It offers no comfort. One writer making an observation on death had this to say” All the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction…… and the whole temple of man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins”. Following this dark assessment, the writer concluded that humans face only the firm foundation of unyielding despair. Who, in rational thinking wants a life like this ?, but such is the principles of atheism. This view has been summarized by Ravi Zacharias:“In the end, the atheistic view reduces the botanist from studying daffodils to fertilizing them, the scientist from measuring the “big bang” to becoming a small fizzle, and the geologist from investigating the geological column to becoming embedded in one of its layers”. This sad earthly life is what atheism invites man to accept, but let's consider the stark contrast between life's hopelessness offered by atheism and life's hopefulness offered by belief in JEHOVAH GOD.
Nothing threatens life dreams, hopes and aspirations like the death of a loved one. Many grieve themselves to their own demise because death has separated them from their loved ones. Why is the loss of a special relationship so devastating to humans ?.Because humans were created to be dependent upon bonds of special relationships. Without these special relationships human existence is hollow. In GENESIS 2:18, we read: “And the LORD GOD said “It is not good that MAN should be alone: I will make him a helper comparable to him”. Because of this bond, the human heart yearns to meet departed loved ones but this yearning is denied by them.
JUSTICE FOR EVIL AND GOOD:
The atheist pursues justice----his philosophy denies it, but he pursues it. Atheism holds no response for the nagging query of how justice can be meted for evil when the wicked one has died. It has no answer for the reign of evil. It fails to answer the futility of earthly labour. This predicament is summed up in LUKE 12:20, where GOD asked the rich fool what profit all his labours would be when death took him.
SENSE OF ETERNITY:
Honesty forces all to admit a sense of the eternal. We know that there is “something” beyond earthly existence. The Indians send their dead prepared for happy hunting. Norsemen set their dead sailing for Valhala to reign among the heroes of the past. Even if they had no knowledge about GOD, these people acknowledged what the atheist cannot accept. In the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:11 we read “ He has made everything beautiful in its time. ALSO HE(GOD) HAS PUT ETERNITY IN THEIR HEARTS…… God has put eternity in the heart of every man. Atheism cannot explain this sense of the eternal. Some atheists have tried to resolve this problem by appealing to reincarnation, but that is insufficient.
In contrast to atheisms emptiness are the complete and comforting answers of JEHOVAH GOD.
God says that while death severs earthly relationships, there's the provision for this separation to be temporary. For the Christian there is hope of reunion after death. In (2 SAMUEL 12:23), David spoke of this hope upon the death of his baby. Christ described a reunion at heaven's great feast( MATT 8:11). Other texts offer hope for those who have suffered separation from loved ones because of death ( LUKE 20:34-36, MATT 25:34, COLOSIANS 1:12, 1 THESS 4:13-17, HEBREWS 12:23, REVELATION 5:9)
JUSTICE FOR ALL:
God says that justice will be meted to both those who have done good and to those who have done evil. The answer is simply,” God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man”(Ecclesiastes 3:17, 11:9, 12:13-14, Daniel 7:9-11, 12:2, Romans 2:5-11,)
All earthly labour have value here and hereafter. Christians are fit for reward for their deeds follow them( Rev 14:13b, Matt 10:42,25:35-40, Hebrews 6:10 etc). The abundant life can be realized here as well as hereafter( JOHN 10:10).
Faith in GOD, offers complete victory in life. In this world, he that is today the conqueror may tomorrow be defeated. POMPEY was eclipsed by CAESAR , who then fell at the hands of conspirators, NAPOLEONE conquered nearly all of EUROPE and was then himself conquered. The Christian has vanquished the last enemy and has no more battles to fight. Let all the SAINTS join with MOSES in calling for our society to choose GOD and thus choose life( DEUT. 30:19-20).
To God be the glory.
Obourba Asante Taado.
The author is a member of the LORD'S CHURCH, popularly known as Church of Christ.
Quotations from the NEW KING JAMES BIBLE,
The real face of atheism by Ravi Zacharias.