A letter to freethinkers
The following contains a letter I sent to the freethinkers. It addresses freethinking and its rationality.
Dear freethinkers (who I’ve prayed for decades),
I am a former atheist and evolutionist, which means I have a similar background to many freethinkers out there. However, I am now a believer of Jesus Christ, and that is why I’m writing this letter.
The reason for my writing is, of course, to give freethinkers an opportunity to turn to Jesus Christ and God, whose existence they often deny. Obviously, I don’t know for sure the cause for every person’s atheism, doubting and freethinking. Could it be caused by disappointment in Christian congregation and people, disappointment in God who has not answered their prayers, or could it simply be caused by rationality, as many freethinkers seem to emphasize it. I for once, when I was an atheist, thought I was being rational, and that is most likely the case with so many freethinkers and atheists today. They have a certain understanding of their own wisdom and the rationality of atheism, which prevents them from turning to God.
I, however, challenge people to reconsider the grounds for atheism and denial of God. Is atheism and denying God rational after all? When considering this question, one should take into account the following aspects:
Everyone will pass away at some point. Firstly, one should consider the fact that everyone will die. Death affects all of us. I will die, you will die, everyone we know will die, etc. If we travel 150 years into the future, everyone from this generation will be dead at that point. There won’t be a single person left on this earth from the people we meet today and see every day through media outlets. We can also see life’s shortness from the fact that there’s probably no one alive anymore who were born in the 19th century. Many of those people might have lived at the same time we have, but now they are all deceased.
We should be asking next, what happens after we die? There are two common views to this:
• Life goes on after death. People have an eternal soul that continues to exist
• Another view favored by atheists is that people don’t have an eternal soul separate from the body. A person dying and the body rotting marks the end of everything.
This is where the atheistic view falls short; atheists cannot be one hundred percent certain of life not continuing after death. It is like a leap of faith into the unknown for them, like a dive into the deepest of waters without knowing what dangers might lie ahead. People will take a risk if they dive into those waters, or if they enter an area, they don’t have any personal experiences of.
Therefore, it is a matter of how likely we consider the possibility that life continues after death and, for example, the likelihood of wrongdoers being held accountable for their actions. Is the probability of this perhaps 10 %, 30 %, or even higher? And even if it were only one percent probable, shouldn’t we still consider the slight chance, when dealing with our eternity, after all?
Horrifying near death experiences give us a particular reason to take the continuation of life, and especially the possibility of damnation, seriously. For example, Maurice Rawlings, who has resuscitated clinically dead people for decades, states in two of his books that nearly all of the people who were interviewed right after resuscitation had had painful and horrifying experiences (Doctor Charles Garfield Kastenbaum reports the same in his book "Is there life after death?"). He stated that many times these painful experiences quickly fade into the subconscious, but if patients were immediately interviewed after resuscitation, we would likely see as many bad experiences as we see good ones. He writes about one such incident in his book “Beyond death’s door” (p. 12, 13):
Before I collected material for this book, I personally regarded most of the after-death experiences as the product of imagination or guesswork. I believed most of the cases that I had heard or read to have been euphoric delusions, caused by a lack of oxygen. Then, one evening in 1977 I revived a terrified patient who said he was in Hell. He begged me to pull him out of Hell and prevent him from dying. When I realized how real fear he was experiencing, I was frightened as well. The patients I have run into later, who have had these kinds of experiences, have aroused in me a compelling urge to write this book. Now I am sure that there is life after death and that all conditions after death are not good.
Sometimes people have been dead for a longer period but have come back to life. One such incident is described by Mel Tari in his book “Like a Mighty Wind” (p. 77-80). He tells about a man, who had been dead for two days and his body had already begun to rot, but he managed to come back to life, nonetheless:
When we arrived, we noticed that there were over a thousand people. The deceased had been dead for two days and had begun to smell heavily. In our tropical land, the dead start to rot six hours after death. But after two days – oh, it is almost impossible to be closer than thirty metres from the body. The smell is awful. In America, you cannot understand this because your funerals are organized so well. But they also cost you 2,000 dollars. In Indonesia we do not have the possibility to make the dead look attractive. The local dead look terrible two days after death. (…)
We went and stood around this dead man. We started to sing. (…)
Nothing happened even after the fifth song. But during the sixth song, the man started to move his toes – and the group was afraid. There is a story in Indonesia that sometimes the dead may wake up and come back to life. They will suffocate some person between the lid of their coffin and then die again. Despite of that we continued our singing. When we were singing the seventh and eighth songs, the dead brother woke up, looked around him, and smiled.
He did not suffocate anyone. He opened his mouth and said, 'Jesus has brought me back to life. Brothers and sisters, I want to tell you something. Firstly, life does not end when you die. I have been dead for two days and I have experienced it. Hell and Heaven are real. I have experienced it. The third thing that I want to tell you is that unless you find Jesus in this life, you can never get into Heaven. You will then certainly be judged to hell.’
We can also find another description of the afterlife in the book “Visions of heaven and hell” by John Bunyan, a preacher who lived in the 17th century (He also wrote the well-known piece “Pilgrim’s progress”, which is one of the most distributed books in the world.). This book tells about a lost person, who says the following:
"Why was I given the chance? Why had I been equipped with an immortal soul? Why did I not care about it? Oh, how my own neglect pierces me so dreadfully and I still know that I cannot and will not die. But to live a deadly life is worse than ten thousand deaths, and I still could have been helped once but I did not want to! Oh, this is the gnawing worm that never dies. Once, I could have been happy; once I was offered salvation but I rejected it. If it had happened only once and I would have rejected it, even that would have been unforgivable foolishness, but it was offered to me a thousand times, and I resisted it as often (so lousy I was). Damn the sin, which with its deceitful enjoyment enchants mankind to eternal destruction! God called me often but I resisted Him as often. He reached out his hands but I did not care. How often did I go against His commands, how often I resisted His reprimands! But now, the situation has changed, for now He follows my accident and mocks the ruin that has come for my part. He could have helped me then, but I did not want His help. Therefore, these eternal pains are just a reward for my own deeds and I am condemned to suffer." (John Bunyan, Näkyjä taivaasta ja helvetistä [Visions of Heaven and Hell], p. 66-68)
What kind of an answer does Christianity provide for this issue? Can people get a happy ending after their death and can they be forgiven for their sins?
These are the questions that will lead us to the fundamentals of Christianity: forgiveness of sins. We can truly be forgiven for our sins, and we can have a happy ending after our death, because Jesus, the Son of God, has come to save us, and through Him we can earn forgiveness. We can receive all this as a gift if we in our hearts turn to the heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The following passages will tell us more about these wonderful things:
- (John 12:47) And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
- (Acts 13:38) Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins:
- (Rev 21:5,6) And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.
- (Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
It is of course true that believing in God and Jesus Christ is a leap of faith, in the same way that freethinkers and atheists believe death to be the end of everything. But shouldn’t we rather turn to God, just in case not to reject the gift of salvation. If everything ends in death, it doesn’t really matter, but if life does go on, you can lose your soul and everything. That is why this shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here is what Jesus said about this:
- (Mark 8:35-37) For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Issues related to the beginning of the universe and life. The first problem in the naturalistic and atheistic worldview, which freethinkers rely on, is that no freethinker or atheist can be certain there is nothing after death. They don’t have absolute knowledge, nor have they searched for forgiveness, which makes them ill-prepared for the future. That is the weakness within the atheistic view.
The premise of the atheistic and naturalistic worldview is also weak in terms of questions regarding the beginning of the universe, Solar System and life. Though, it is commonly agreed that these things have had a beginning, but if we dismiss creation, we will find ourselves in a dead-end. (For example, the Sun cannot be everlasting; otherwise its energy sources would have run out already. This fact sets limits to life as well. That is, life cannot be everlasting either, because it is depended on the Sun. Without the Sun the temperature would be nearly – 273 degrees, it would be dark, and water would be frozen, and to our knowledge no life-form can survive in such conditions.)
How does the naturalistic worldview explain the beginning of the universe? Currently, the standard model is the Big Bang theory. It is presumed that a pin-sized space generated the whole universe and life in it. Many books addressing this topic emphasize precisely the assumption that everything began from one point, and the volume of that point was the size of a pin or even smaller. Joseph Silk explains this further in his book “Big Bang”:
Is this materialistic account rational? It could be compared to someone taking a matchbox (which is way bigger than a pin) and stating that all kinds of things can come out of it. They claim it to be a scientific fact and that one should not question it, because all rational scientists believe it. Therefore, according to their words it is possible that more complex and larger things can appear from the box, such as:
• Elephant and the grass they eat
• Fast cheetahs
• Roaring lions
• Birds that chirp and fly
• Mosquitoes that the birds can eat
• Fish and the oceans around them
• Beautiful scented flowers and tall trees
• Billions of galaxies, stars and planets
• The Sun that warms us and gives us light
• Humans that can speak, feel emotions, cry, laugh, get angry, be scared, mourn, like someone and fall in love.
• Tasty strawberries, bananas, blueberries, peas, grapes and nuts.
Can we question this theory? I’m sure we can. It would be the greatest miracle if all those things and more would have, in fact, appeared on their own from a space as small as a matchbox or a pin, which are both much smaller than other things in our universe. It’s utterly impossible, and against all logic, because sheer nothingness cannot cause existence. This must be one of the most absurd ideas out there. How could a “pin” or a space smaller than that turn itself into tasty strawberries, flying birds, car driving humans, the hot Sun, roaring lions, reproductive organisms, fish and the oceans, cliffs or into anything else that exists? If we assume that all this can happen by itself, that is when we abandon common sense in my opinion. Paul’s words about the so-called “knowledge” and how people might consider themselves wise while believing in these theories fit well into this phenomenon. Paul, who knew God well, also prophesized, how people would begin to rely on fairytales. Was Paul talking about the current theories about the beginning of the world and life, when he prophesized about this kind of development?
- (1 Tim 6:20,21) O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.
- (Rom 1:20-23) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.
- (2 Tim 4:3,4) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables.
Naturalistic theory, in which freethinkers and atheists put their faith, doesn’t have a strong foundation in terms of explaining the beginning of the universe and life. In my opinion, it is much easier to believe in creation and the existence of God, than to assume things can appear out of nowhere by themselves, because it seems that all things were made by someone. Nothing appears from emptiness. David Pawson discusses the subject further:
…Then the papists group left, and I was left with the rest: with Methodists, Baptists, members of the Salvation Army, Presbyterians, members of the Free Mission church, Buddhists, Muslims, agnostics and atheists. Thus, making me the chaplain for atheists, and I loved that work! Whenever an atheist came by, I used to say: “Take a seat, I want to talk to you. Firstly, I want to congratulate you on your faith. You have more faith than I do. You believe that all this has come to be by accident for no reason. That takes a lot of faith. I don’t have as much faith; I have to believe that someone made all this – which is a lot easier in terms of faith… (1)
Why oppose something that doesn’t exist? Next, we’ll move on to the opposition of God and Jesus Christ, as it is commonly known that freethinkers wish to erase God and Jesus from society. They don’t want to see God in schools, military, public spaces, or anywhere for that matter. They fight for their atheist-humanist view and oppose the idea of God.
These kinds of actions also remind me of past communist states, which also pushed for the same cause. It is also known that practicing religion was not allowed in those communist states and that non-existence of God was taught by the state. Their goal was to “Establish a society that doesn’t recognize … religion”, as the communard Gaveau put it in 1871 (2). In this respect, history is repeating itself and freethinkers are pushing for a similar society as the communists used to. Isn’t it so? What else is different in these cases than the time period? From an outsider’s perspective the differences seem rather small.
Opposition towards God and Jesus, however, is not a new phenomenon, because it was already present during the time of Jesus. Religious leaders were, especially, guilty of it, as we can read from the New Testament. They rejected the Gospel and denied God approaching people through His Son Jesus Christ:
- (Luke 7:29,30) And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
- (Acts 7:51) You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you.
Dear freethinkers, I ask you, why do you oppose God and Jesus? If God doesn’t exist, isn’t it pointless to oppose the non-existent? Why fight so eagerly against something that isn’t there? That doesn’t make much sense.
On the other hand, if He does exist, isn’t it rather irrational to oppose the Creator of our world; especially, if He is the judge, who we all have to face in the end to answer for our actions? Isn’t it a bit foolish?
- (Rom 14:12) So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
- (Rev 20:12-15) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Or do you fight against God and Jesus because you don’t think He’s good? This claim often comes up in the works of atheist writers.
However, it is important to realize that Jesus is the perfect image of God. The Father was in Him and He was in the Father. The heavenly God is what Jesus was like, as the following passages will show us. These two things cannot be separated.
- (John 14:5-11) Thomas said to him, Lord, we know not where you go; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
7 If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from now on you know him, and have seen him.
8 Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffises us.
9 Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?
10 Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
- (2 Cor 5:19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
- (Hebr 1:1-3) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Was Jesus good if He was the perfect image of God? Was He without sin and was He loving? Indeed, this is what the New Testament teaches us. The disciples considered themselves imperfect and incomplete (Rom 7:18-24 etc.), but they regarded Jesus as sinless and good. Enemies of the disciples usually agreed, which also illustrates the goodness of Jesus. But firstly, the words of Jesus about Himself:
- (John 8:28-30) Then said Jesus to them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
30 As he spoke these words, many believed on him.
- (John 8:45-47) And because I tell you the truth, you believe me not.
46 Which of you convinces me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe me?
47 He that is of God hears God's words: you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God.
- (Hebr 4:15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
- (1 Peter 2:21,22) For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
- (1 John 3:5) And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
- (Matt 22:16 And they sent out to him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God in truth, neither care you for any man: for you regard not the person of men.
- (Matt 27:3-5) Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see you to that.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
- (Matt 27:17-19) Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, Whom will you that I release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, Have you nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
- (Luke 23:39-41) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If you be Christ, save yourself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Do not you fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man has done nothing amiss.
- (Luke 23:46,47) And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
- (John 18:37,38) Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.
38 Pilate said to him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, I find in him no fault at all.
So, I ask you dear freethinkers, why do you oppose the good God, who wants what’s best for you and wants to lead you into His eternal kingdom? Why do you reject the love of God and His goodness, and why do you consider all this to be cheap and don’t care about it? Why do you reject the gift of eternal life, which can be received through Jesus Christ? The good will of God comes apparent in many passages in the New Testament:
- (Luke 2:13,14) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
- (John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
- (1 John 4:9,10) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
I urge every freethinker and atheist to take a faithful step towards God. It can be done in the same way, as the prodigal son did in Jesus’ emblem. This boy had lived deep in sin, but when he turned to his father and confessed his sins, he was forgiven for everything. The heavenly Father and God will welcome us in the same way if we turn to Him. Therefore, I advise you to turn to God and confess your sins to Him!
- (Luke 15:17-20) And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you,
19 And am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
- (1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Also, put your faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, because only through Him can we be forgiven for our sins. He is the way to the kingdom of God:
- (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
- (John 5:39,40) Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And you will not come to me, that you might have life.
- (Acts 16:30,31) And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.
The prayer of salvation: Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn away from my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven through Your atonement and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation that You have given me. Amen.
1. David Pawson: Vanhurskas Jumala ja vanhurskauden evankeliumi (The God and the Gospel of Righteousness), p. 13, 14
2. Timo Vihavainen, Marko Hamilo, Joonas Konstig: Mitä mieltä Suomessa saa olla, p. 54,55
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
Grap to eternal life!