I have been following my friend Peter Saunders series of posts based on 20 Questions Atheists Struggle to answer. It is an interesting series, and in it he attempts to engage with a group who simply don’t understand Christians. I am glad to see that the age-old craft of apologetics is far from dead. But there is one question he didn’t ask that to me at least is the most critical:
“How do you live without hope?”
I have lived now for more than 41 years. This is easily long enough to realize that this world is far from ideal. It really is a cruel world that almost seems to be thinking of ways to disappoint, damage, or ultimately destroy us. It surely can’t be long before I reach the half-way stage on my life if I haven’t already. Death, whether your own or others can bring bone-crushing sorrow, even to a Christian. So I ask,
How do you live without a hope in the after-life?
I simply cannot understand how someone faces life each day, believing that their existence and that of those they love can be permanently snuffed out in an instant. Believing that they will never meet again with those that have died. Believing that ultimately this short life is all there is.
But it is not just that. If you are an atheist by definition the universe is a random place. Everything within us cries out that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way the world works. Sin, sickness, and death feel like unwelcome invaders. Few willingly welcome any of them. Yet the Christian believes that behind a broken world there is a sovereign God who will one day fix it all, and in the meantime is working everything round for good to those who love him (Romans 8:28).
If you couldn’t look an enemy in the eye and say with Joseph “You meant it for harm, God meant it for good” how do you get through life?