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an e-mail from an agnostic

11-05-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet

This week I received an e-mail with the following content:

Good Day, I am an agnostic in search of the truth. Your site gives me altogether new insights and may even make the Bible text, “seek and ye shall find”, operational.

For years I was an atheist, without any need or desire to involve myself with religion to any degree. I did go to a Catholic school, but have never done anything with it. What I learned from religious instruction was for me, since my childhood years, pure nonsense. After some profound conversations with Christians, I considered the matter more deeply and began to realize that this was, actually, extremely interesting. The Christian presents: God is: the Creator of heaven and Earth. He is: – Almighty – All good – Infinitely loving – Infinitely just – Infinitely merciful In short, He is perfect and possesses all the good qualities to perfection. Initially, this sounded very good.

Having attended a Catholic school, I remember a little of what this might mean. Subsequently, I occupied myself with the Bible.  In Genesis were already recorded so many weird and improbable things, that I decided: This can not be the truth. That does not mean that the stories in the Bible are not worth reading. But these things can never have happened. Yet, I continued looking, and have read many articles on the internet, both from the Christian and the atheistic point of view. The result was that the more I learned about God, the more I got to know Him, and the more unpleasant I found Him to be. I considered Him a cruel ruler, who punishes people in the Old Testament, time and again, because they are sinners. The worst is that these people, themselves, could do nothing about being sinful. That happened through no fault of their own. But, so I learned, the most horrible, most monstrous crime against humanity was still to come: Hell. This would not be true for many people, yet, most of the people who have ever lived, will be tormented and tortured without end, when they do not (cannot) believe that the evangels about Jesus Christ truly happened. The lack of this belief is, by definition, the reason for this fate for all unbelievers. This means that both, Hitler and Gandhi, will experience the same fate: infinite torture and torment.

And the Christian claims: God is love. The unpleasant problem is that, theoretically, this God can indeed exist. Only, then, they are mistaken concerning all the other attributes of God. If only He is almighty and the fate of most of the people is hell, then the other attributes do not apply. This is not impossible. An almighty, evil God. If He, as I got to know him, would exist, my only reason to believe would be dreadful fear. Fear of having to suffer forever. Only, I would be discovered, because He can look into my heart. Then, He would see that I feared Him, but not loved him. After all, how can I love someone who would send most of my friends and family to a terrible place called hell? That is impossible for a person with feelings of love for them. I hoped with all my heart that this terrible supreme-being would not exist. As a fantasy figure, He was extremely interesting to study about; as a reality, too horrible to consider. However, I have no certainty whether it is fantasy or the horrible truth.

Now I come onto your site. If this is what the real “good news” is all about, then my feelings toward God are very different. Then I feel sincere pity and compassion for Him, because if this is true, then the vast majority of His followers, who ever lived, have seriously short-changed Him. They actually deny his love (for all people, including unbelievers), his justice, his mercy and, if he wants all people to be rescued) his omnipotence. That must be terrible for God. Because I had a huge list of reasons to never adore this Christian God, because I could not possibly love Him. The God I see described, here, does possess all these qualities, and even the suffering in the world, today, can be explained. The doctrine concerning hell is one of the biggest reasons for people, either, to repent or for anyone no longer wanting to be a Christian. And many Christians are also false Christians, because they only converted for fear of hell. Not out of love.

After reading this site, many of my questions received a logical answer, which does not conflict with the stated attributes of God. Yet, there still remain questions that stand in the way for me to be able to come to faith. May I pose these, so now and then, via this email address? With the possibility that this is the truth, I see God to be a much more sympathetic being than most Christians want me to believe! Sincerely, ….

The following, I wrote back to him:

Dear Mr. ….

What an incredibly captivating explanation you sent me! But I sense that it is more than an explanation. It is the account of a quest. It also makes strikingly clear what is the psychology behind atheism.

Every human being endowed with logic can determine that everything in creation betrays an intelligent design. Whether we examine a microscopic cell of our body or we cut a kiwi in half, or we consider the functioning of the brain, study the heart rate, or the digestion of food or learn more about reproduction or the navigation of migratory birds, you name it – everything testifies to a wonderful design. That is to say, it bears witness to a wise Creator. That is intuitive knowledge, innate. Atheism, on the other hand, is learned. It leaves man in total darkness, meaningless and without purpose.

The image of God that the Christian religion presents, did not give you an answer to the important questions you posed. Especially the concept of hell was shocking and contrary to all the qualities we attribute to God. As you wrote, yourself:

I hoped with all my heart that this terrible supreme-being would not exist.

Is this also not one of the deepest motives of atheism? An aversion to the monstrous images of God, which religions hold-up to us?

How different everything is, when God is shown to be truly GOD?! As it is written, “all is out of Him, through Him and to Him.” A GOD who determines everything, with whom nothing ever goes wrong and who is going to bring everything to a successful conclusion. Who introduces us to evil (suffering and death) in order for us to get to know what is really good. Indeed, that is the GOD whom I have learned to know and of whom I testify on GoedBericht.nl.  To know God as GOD is the foundation of trust, hope, love, joy and peace. And also of sound thinking. In your own words:

Now I come onto your site. If this is what the real “good news” is all about, then my feelings toward God are very different. (…) The God I see described, here, does possess all these qualities, and even the suffering in the world of today is explained. The doctrine concerning hell is one of the biggest reasons for people, either to repent or for anyone no longer wanting to be a Christian.  And many Christians are also false Christians, because they only converted for fear of hell. Not out of love.

After reading this site, many of my questions received a logical answer, which does not conflict with the stated attributes of God.

I’m glad that GoedBericht.nl may be a directional signpost for you and to provide answers to your sincere questions. The only thing I aim to do, on my site, is to point out what  really “is written”.

You say to have even more questions that “stand in your way to be able to come to faith”. Feel free to ask, I would say. You know where to find me. I very much hope, most heartily, to be able to serve you with my answers. As I understand it, it is GOD Himself who convinces us through His word and so gives us faith, in His time. Then, you do not come to faith, no, then faith comes to you!

Sincerely,
-André Piet-

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