I have read with sadness occasional letters to the editor from people who are deeply antagonistic toward Christianity. They no doubt have had seriously negative experiences with people who purported to be followers of Christ.
Then, in Sunday's paper (Sept. 18), a full-page ad appeared from a self-proclaimed atheist on behalf of the "Freedom from Religion Foundation." These letters and ads correspond to the nation's trend away from religious faith and toward secularism and even paganism.
How I wish the gentleman from California had known my parents and many other followers of Christ who I have known. The issue is not Christian beliefs or proclamations, but whether a person is striving to live in Christ. The latter engages in daily study of the Bible, the word of God and in regular prayer to stay in spiritual communication with our Heavenly Father. Too few believers in Christ today strive to grow in their faith in these ways.
Each of us has within us what has been described by St. Augustine and others as a God-shaped vacuum. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God has "set eternity in the hearts of men." This vacuum will be filled either by the Spirit of God or, if left empty, may be filled by false and evil spirits.
The woman from the Freedom from Religion Foundation needs to read the book by Eric Metaxas, "Is Atheism Dead?" (Salem Books, 2021). It addresses the arguments of noted atheists and includes dramatic evidence of how scientific discoveries point clearly to a creator and how archaeological findings increasingly support the historical truth of the Bible.
Many Biblical scholars also believe in the end times (in which we may be living) there will be a "Rapture." The belief is people who have accepted Jesus Christ into their lives as their Savior will be "raptured" (supernaturally removed from the earth, gathered to Christ in the clouds) before the seven-year Great Tribulation prophesied in the Bible. The removal of all Christians from the earth in an instant would please some, like the Freedom from Religion Foundation, for a time. However, it would leave the earth with a moral and spiritual vacuum which would make conditions on the earth far worse, hastening the rise to power of the antichrist prophesied in the Book of Revelation.
May God open our eyes to spiritual truth in the turbulent times in which we live.