By Steve Gregg
Here is another correspondence from just today:
I've been listening to your show for a few months now. A few weeks ago you invited non christians to call up and explain why they did not want to become christians, because you could not think of any reason why someone would not want to be one. I've got several, here's a few.
As the name of your show implies (the narrow path) the bible makes it very clear that only a very small minority of humanity will enter eternity; the true sons of Abraham, while the vast majority will suffer eternal torment in hell. This is not "good news", but rather, a story of the destruction of the human race. The jewish god is not a god of love and compassion, but an angry and vengeful tyrant.
I choose to have a much more optimistic view of the world. I believe the human race will survive into the future, and we will achieve great things through science and knowledge. We will eventually be able to travel beyond the earth, and achieve things we can'even imagine at this time.
Also, the idea that we are all born sinners is a dangerous, and may I say, evil idea that has caused much mayhem and sadness to innocent people throughout the ages. If you want to believe that you are born guilty, you are free to do so, but please have the courtesy to speak for yourself only.
I'll keep listening,
Thanks for writing! I didn't say (or, at any rate, mean) that I cannot imagine why anyone would not want to be a Christian, but, rather, why anyone would not choose to be a Christian. My assumption is that what we "want" and what we actually decide to do may sometimes differ—especially if what we don't want to do would, nonetheless, be the honest thing to do.
It is interesting that you give the following Christian beliefs as reasons for not believing in Christ:
1) Only a few people will be saved;
2) The rest will burn eternally in hell;
3) The Gospel is the message of the destruction of the human race;
4) The Abrahamic God is not a God of love, but is angry and vengeful;
5) Christians teach that people are born guilty.
You say you have listened to my program for a few months (thank you for listening), but you have apparently missed the fact that I do not believe that any of those five propositions can be discovered in scripture—and certainly not in Christ's teachings. Therefore, I suggest that you are rejecting a traditional form of Christianity, which is not based upon the Bible's actual teachings, nor, certainly, those of Christ. If those five points define the Christianity that you are rejecting, then you are much closer to where I am at than you think.
Of course, the real reason one should accept or reject Christianity has nothing to do with how its teachings make you feel. The only thing that needs to be considered (at least, by an honest person) would be whether or not it is true. Many things are true, which don't make any of us feel good—like the fact that many of us will suffer from cancer, or Alzheimer's disease, or ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), or mental illness, or the ravages of war, or criminal violence, or disabilities due to debilitating accidents—and that all of us, in any case, will be dead in less than a century from now. These are not very comforting thoughts, but the real question is, "Do they conform to reality?"—another way of saying, "Are they true?" In these cases, the answer is "Certainly."
So, even if Christ had taught all the obnoxious doctrines that you have named (thankfully, He did not), the real question would be, "Regardless of what I feel or think about these matters—is Christianity the truth, or not?" Your email to me did not address this question—and it is the only one that matters.
It is a question to be decided by consideration of actual evidence, since its basic claim (i.e., that Jesus rose from the dead) is an alleged historical fact which can be researched and either verified or falsified, like any other.
The reason that many atheists have become Christians is that they made their own (initially-skeptical) exploration into these questions. Some of them have written extensively of their research and findings (e.g., C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, Alistair McGrath, Peter Stoner, and many others).
This is why I really don't understand why anyone would not be a Christian—but, then, I have looked extensively into the evidence, and most unbelievers have not, so that explains a lot.
Why they have not cared to look into it is another mystery to me, since I can't imagine any question being more urgent to any but the shallowest thinkers. I am aware that, for many people, the issues that interest them are not those of evidence and truth, but only the adoption of pleasing and unverifiable tales. A rosy view of things will always win their vote. However, if all questions of fact were decided on such a basis, we would have to disbelieve that there was ever a holocaust, since we feel universal revulsion about it.
If you have any rational reasons for rejecting Christ, I would still love to hear more from you about them. Thanks again for your response thus far.