This letter is in response to last issue’s Dear V column (“Just because I’m an atheist doesn’t mean I’m amoral,” March 12) concerning an atheist seeking approval from family members and friends.
I am saddened, disappointed and angered by the way people of faith have treated you. As a Christian, I would like to apologize to you on behalf of my fellow brothers and sisters of my faith. We have wronged you (and no doubt many others on campus) in our failure to show you the love and kindness that Jesus Christ has taught us. In that, we have been poor representatives of who we believe God to be and what the Christian faith is about. Please forgive us.
Jesus said that it was the “sick” and “sinners” that he came to call, and that is who makes up the body of Christian believers. We are a faith of people whose souls are still sick with pride, hypocrisy, unkindness and even hate. However, we believe that God still acts to genuinely heal people’s hearts of these dark inclinations. Sadly though, many unbelievers rarely, if ever, get to see this process of healing and growth in us. Rather, it’s exactly the opposite they see. Again, let me apologize and ask for your forgiveness.
I want to say that I admire you in your honesty with yourself and others. In it, you have shown the courage to face your heart in spite of the subsequent rejection you’ve been shown. If there is a God, I don’t think that he delights much in us merely pretending to believe in him. I believe that he always wants us to be real with ourselves and honest as to what the deep convictions of our hearts are, and that takes bravery. You have gained so much of my respect in your refusal to continue to simply play a religious role. May I continually be more like you in that regard!
I feel obliged as a believer, if I may, to encourage you to continue to do what you are already doing: be open with your heart. I don’t expect I can persuade you to believe in God from this letter. Nor do I wish to. (I don’t think you should believe anything this important just because someone tells you to.) But I would encourage you to still consider the thought that perhaps there is a God here who fully shares your frustrations with religious hypocrites; he is more loving, forgiving, accepting, and real than we could ever imagine. Perhaps there is a God who blesses those who, upon a sincere spiritual self-examination, find themselves utterly bankrupt. Perhaps He was more tired of your pretending than you were, because he actually loves you. Perhaps you’re not alone; perhaps you just haven’t met Him yet.
Many blessings and much love!