There is a real appeal to atheism, and I believe Christians should understand it. The idea that I have only one life to live, and that is now. The idea that I am only going to be with the ones I love now, so love them as much as I can. I only have one chance to fulfill my dreams and goals, so achieve them now.
In my experience, the atheist that I know, the true atheist, not the agnostics that claim to be an atheist. Are loving, giving and moral people beyond many believers I know. On several occasions, they have explained to me that they have become this type of person because of the choice they made to be an atheist. When I enquire why that is, I have received the same general answer. “The idea of eternity makes one become lazy here in the now.” How true it is, at least for me.
When thinking of the eternity, I as myself. What will heaven be like? Who else will be there? What would hell be like? Who will be there? Will I fulfill my dreams there? Will I no longer have any desires? The questions could go on and on. When the real question that should be asked is. What can I do now?
I think many believers ask themselves similar questions. Many of the atheist I know profess how they love community now more than they did when they were believers. Because they ask themselves the last question. What can I do now?
Here is how the idea of eternity and an afterlife can hurt a believer. The gospel is action, we should “mourn with those who mourn.” Serve the community at the highest level possible. If we worry too much about keeping commandments or focusing on the “thou shalt not’s,” so that we can go to heaven. We may not be committing large sins, but we are not acting on the gospel, the gospel that says we should serve others. Living the gospel, following Christ, being a disciple is now. If we do not follow Him now, why would we do so in eternity? In essence, the question that could be asked is. Are the “thou shalt not’s” keeping me from doing the “thou shalt’s?”
Here is my appeal to atheism. Christianity seems to sometimes in some way get in the way of me serving others. It shouldn’t be like this. So I must change this understanding. The gospel should bring hope to others, not keep believers guarding their door afraid to let the world in. The believer should go out the door, preach hope and salvation and serve others, “love they neighbor as they self.” The gospel of action is why I still believe in Christ. His actions are why I still believe. Of course, I still suffer from every problem that I mentioned in this post, so I still have much serving and changing to do.