Friday, September 9, 2011

Confessions of a Fomer Atheist Part 1: NOTHING

Atheists believe in nothing. For me, one of the scariest parts of being an atheist was that “nothing” factor. Despite my ego, arrogance and anger as an atheist, the one thing that would take the wind out of my sails was nothing: the nothing at the end. Death stood as the great equalizer, the ultimate victor in reality. Death ended every life, and after that life ended simply stood nothing.

I can recall having disturbing thoughts of that dark nothingness. I would sometimes wonder, “When I die, what will it be like to fade into nothingness.” I thought of it as a deep, dark void that swallowed me whole. I simply ceased to be and fell into nothing. It would draw me into its cold arms and crush me in its grasp.

That fear of nothing at the end instilled in me a great desire to be something today. In that quest for something, I found frustration. How could I accomplish more and more before nothing consumed me? All I had was here, in this life. The only promise I had was today and the only assurance I possessed was this moment right now. The vast volume of history proved to me that most men succumbed to nothingness. I struggled with how to break that. How could I be remembered, how could I make an indelible mark that would overcome nothingness? Nothing inspired me to be something.

I cannot say that I embraced evolutionary thought or the Big Bang theory. I had my doubts about those things even as an atheist. Why? Even those seemed to beg for too much faith. I wanted a more concrete explanation. However, many atheists embrace those beliefs. They do not just believe “in the end: nothing” they also believe “in the beginning: nothing.” Nothing. Then everything. Then nothing. Effectively they believe in nothing. No God. No miracles. No supernatural activity. Nothing beyond what our fives senses can process.

I guess I could say that as an atheist, nothing really mattered. Nothing motivated me. Nothing inspired me. Nothing disturbed me. Nothing. My belief was in nothing. The only hope that can be found for the atheist is in himself. Of course that builds pride and arrogance. Just the arrogance to definitively say “there is no God” is pretty brash. However, I was that brash. “You believe in God. I believe in nothing.” That was the pride of my belief.

As I look back at my past now that I know Christ, I can make a choice how to see it. I can see nothing. I can see failure. I can see it all with sadness and disappointment. Or, I can see it as something. I can see it as God working in my life even as I chose to ignore him. I can see how he continually reached out to me and put people and situations in my path to reveal himself to me. I rationalized such things then, but I can see him at so many points in my path now. Today I still find great comfort in “nothing” for another reason:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

To sum it up: NOTHING can separate us from the love of God. As believers, NOTHING can sever us from salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. As a born again believer in Jesus, I find now that NOTHING holds any fear for me anymore. I rejoice that my fear of that word has became hope in the Lord. The coolest thing is that I did NOTHING to deserve his love.

Randy Alan

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