“Being an atheist must be like living in a closed cell with no windows” – Anthony Hopkins.
If you are a movie enthusiast, I am sure you have heard about the name, Anthony Hopkins. But if you haven’t, a simple check on Wikipedia will convince you that he is not a man of mean achievements in the movie industry.
Let’s take a little peep:
“Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins CBE is a Welsh actor, director, and producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992, and was nominated three additional times. Hopkins has also won three BAFTAs, two Emmys, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award. In 1993, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts.”
According to a report monitored via Godupdates, “Anthony Hopkins is one of the most well-known actors of our time. For years, he was a well-known atheist, too. But all of that changed when a woman at an AA meeting challenged his disbelief with one simple question… “Why don’t you trust God?“”
It was the expression, “For years, he was a well-known atheist” that first caught my attention. But I’m glad to learn that all that has changed.
You must now use the word “former” atheist when referring to Hopkins, because he has become a firm believer in the existence of God.
Not only that, he now “lives out his real life with Christ in his heart. He’s been an atheist before finding God and now he just feels sorry for atheists, comparing a life of disbelief to “living in a closed cell with no windows.”
Sir Hopkins’s transformation and conversion from atheism to Christianity began with his positive response to that question, “Why don’t you trust God?” at a time he was dealing with alcoholism.
A reputable source has it that,”miraculously Anthony says the craving to drink was taken from him, “never to return again.” And he’s believed in God ever since, working day after day, year after year, to grow in his faith.”
In the end, he not only got helped with overcoming the spirit of alcoholism which had bedeviled him, he transformed from being a man who didn’t believe that God exists to one that now affirms that He does.
“When asked in a CNN interview with Piers Morgan if he believed in God, former-atheist Anthony Hopkins replied wholeheartedly, “Yes, I do. I do.”
You are not perfect – no one is. What you lack in one area of your life, you gain in another.
Just as all men do, you have some strengths and some weaknesses. But which ones do you focus more on?
Often times, you focus mostly on your weaknesses rather than on your strengths. By so doing, you fail to celebrate or properly harness your strengths to your fullest advantage.
How do I know you are not focusing on your strength?
You constantly think of what you don’t have instead of what you have.
You always bemoan what you can’t do instead of doing what you can.
You intentionally begrudge other people’s talent instead of harnessing yours.
You are regularly unhappy about the places you haven’t visited instead of celebrating the places you have visited.
You complain that you can’t ‘see’, but you forgot that you can ‘hear’.
While you are doing all that, you forget that time is not waiting for you. Opportunities are passing by that you could have harnessed to make your life a little better.
If that is you, then you have something to learn from the blind Bartimaeus in the Bible.
An account in the Gospel of Mark chapter 10 verse 46-47 has it that:
… and as [Jesus Christ] went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth…
Did you see that?
When he heard…
That’s the pivotal phrase.
This story wasn’t about Jesus Himself per se. It was the story of Bartimaeus, a beggarly blind man, who could hear, who had faith, had courage, had focus, had a voice, who proved to be unstoppable, and who got his desired miracle: restoration of sight.
As you can see, there are many good things about our man Bartimaeus. But for many years, he failed to harness his strength, dwelling on his weakness (blindness).
Consequently, he became a despised roadside beggar until this documented encounter with Jesus Christ that completely turned his life around for the better.
In the mean time, I will chip in the following counsel:
Focus on your strength. If you use it very well, the resultant gains may cover your weakness.
Focus on doing what you can do and stop being so unhappy about what is beyond your capabilities.
Use the talent you have, and don’t kill yourself over the ones you don’t have.
Bartimaeus was blind but he could hear. He didn’t have the sight to see Jesus, but he had the ear to hear that Jesus was passing his way.
With that information, he activated his faith and his voice. And He called out to Jesus, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” And he got his sight back.
So I will ask you, if you can’t see, can you hear? Harness the power of your hearing first. Who knows, like Bartimaeus you will have your sight back in the process.
Picture Credits: 1. Photo by novia wu on Unsplash. 2. Photo by Stephen Arnold on Unsplash.
Have you ever let opportunities pass you by because you were focusing on your weakness rather than on your strength?
… Belief in God isn’t blindly based on acceptance of the Bible as truth, or simply because the argument makes sense, but because when we begin to truly look for him, we begin to find him everywhere. In nature, in science, in supernatural experience, and perhaps most compellingly of all in the transformed lives of the people who have already believed in him – Martin Saunders,Contributing Editor, Christian Today.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I know that God exists. But I also know there are atheists everywhere around the world – people who do not believe in the existence of God.
Just like Jesus wants us to do, I owe it to such people in particular and to humanity in general, to tell them about God. Not just because of the earthly benefits but for the eternal significance as well.
As you well know, I can’t force anyone to believe in God. But I can at least let them know some things that may help them make up their mind in the affirmative. After all, acknowledging Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and personal Saviour remains a decision everyone has to take by him/herself.
So if you are an atheist, here are 16 sobering truths I wish you to know.
1. God exists – whether you believe it or not.
I had to say that first because it is the main thrust of this discourse. This article is of no effect if God does not exist. What is the point of life if there was no God?
Sorry to disappoint you: the fact that you do not believe in God does not diminish Him one bit. He is an all-sufficient God. Even if you change your mind and decide to believe in God today, it still does not add to His value.
But you know what? It is in your best interest both in time and in eternity to acknowledge Him. I hope you will find the impetus to continue reading after hearing that!
2. To know God, check the Bible
The Bible is the manual of life God gave to man. It is the final authority on anything there is to know about God and His creation.
If in your search for God, you have not checked the Bible, then you have been looking in the wrong direction. And if you have checked it before, you have to check it again. This time, do it in faith.
God has revealed Himself to mankind through the Bible. The Bible has the correct answer to all the questions about life and the after-life. If your disbelief in God has come from reading other books, it is now time you read the Bible with an open heart and with faith.
3. God loves you, I thought you should know.
Contrary to what you might have heard about Him, God is a loving God. As the Bible puts it, “God is love.” God loves you even if you do not acknowledge Him yet.
You don’t believe in Him, He loves you. You hate Him, He still loves you. Because of that love, He does not want you to perish in your ignorance of, or disbelief in, Him.
He would rather have you come to Him humbly in faith through His only Son Jesus Christ, whom He allowed to die in the hands of wicked people for your sin and those of mankind.
4. God is not angry with you.
Has anyone ever told you that God is angry with you? That will not be true! The fact that you don’t believe in God does not mean that He is angry with you. In fact, He loves you too much to be angry with you.
God should have been – and He has every right to be – angry with you for not believing in Him. But His Son Jesus Christ has paid the price for you once and for all. For now, you are covered by His abundant grace.
The only thing that can provoke God eventually is if you fail to acknowledge the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for you before you leave this earth. If that happens, there is nothing God can do for you again; His anger would then no longer be restrained on the other side of this life.
Anyone who fails to believe in God while alive will be eternally separated from Him after death.
5. Jesus Christ is the only Way to God.
That is an audacious claim, I know. But it is not outrageous.
It is true that there are many ways to arrive a given destination. But when it comes to going to God, Jesus Christ is the Only Way; there is no shortcut and there is no roundabout way.
There is no other way to God apart from through Jesus Christ. That fact cannot be overemphasized.
Jesus Himself declared unequivocally: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:16.
6. You are not the first person to doubt the existence of God.
I guess you know that already! There have been people before you who did not believe in God and there will still be people after you who will not believe in Him.
For instance, Marilyn Adamson confessed in her expository article Does God exist?:
I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly…
However, the fact that you are not alone in the disbelief in the existence of God should not give you any comfort. Being in a state where you do not believe in God is not the best place you can be.
7. The Bible has a word for anyone who doesn’t believe there is God.
You should hear that word as stated in Psalms chapter 14:1:
A fool says in his heart there is no God.
That is it. According to the Bible, anyone who says there is no God is a fool. Such persons may or may not be educated, lowly or highly placed in the society, if they do not acknowledge God, they are fools. That may sound harsh I know, but then it is the harsh truth.
So you can see that it is wisdom to acknowledge God. It is foolishness not to.
I know there are people who think they are wise so they think have no need of God. But for such people, the Bible says, “In professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).
No matter how you feel about it, there is no wisdom in saying there is no God. If I say there is no God, it means I am foolish.
The only good news after this is that this kind of foolishness can be cured. The cure is to turn to God in faith through Jesus Christ.
8. There have been people who turned from atheism to God.
Sad to say, some people have died in their atheism, thereby sentencing themselves to eternal damnation. But thankfully, there have also been people who moved from atheism to faith in the true God.
Growing up in a non-Christian family with intellectually gifted but unbelieving parents, I used to think that belief in God and the supernatural had been discredited by the advance of science, and was incompatible with liberty. Religious faith seemed to me to involve the blind worship of a cosmic dictator, and the abandonment of reason in favour of ‘revelation
Similarly, in Five atheists who lost faith in atheism , Martin Saunders, a Contributing Editor for Christian Today, writes about some “former atheists who found that their belief in nothing ultimately led them nowhere.” These people were intellectuals who departed from their avowed atheism to robust faith in God. That can be your story too!
9. Your lifetime is your only opportunity for you to know God.
The nine months spent in your mother’s womb prepared you for the life on earth. Similarly, your life on earth prepares you to be birthed into eternity.
Therefore, your life on earth is your only opportunity for you to know God, personally. If you miss it, you miss out eternally.
I don’t want you to miss out. Hence, I am writing this post to you as an individual.
The point is, if you do not get to establish a personal relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ while you are still alive, you will inevitably be faced with the stark reality of being forever separated from God. That’s not something to look forward to, I must say.
10. Whatever misgivings you have about God can be handled.
That’s a promise, trust me! God is big enough to handle any (mis)guided thought you might have about Him. But nothing can be sorted out without your cooperation.
As Saunders stated, “when we begin to truly look for [God], we begin to find him everywhere. In nature, in science, in supernatural experience, and perhaps most compellingly of all in the transformed lives of the people who have already believed in him.”
You were not born an atheist, just as I was not born a Christian. I became a believer in Jesus Christ and so can you.
At some point in your life (or is it over a period of time?), you came to believe there is no God. You have your reasons, rightly or wrongly, for the claim that there is no God. But He is such a gracious God that He would not force you to acknowledge Him.
Therefore, if you would make up your mind to seek Him in faith, you would find Him. This is a guarantee because God said through prophet Jeremiah that:
“… ye shall seek me, and find me [God], when ye shall search for me [God] with all your heart” Jeremiah 29:13
11. God has numerous children and He has room for you too.
The key is in your hands! God created everyone but not everyone is His ‘child’. I hope you didn’t find that confusing?
The children of God are those who believe in Him through Jesus Christ. You may say you do not believe in God. But it is that same God that you don’t believe in that created you.
It is true He created you but He cannot force you to become His child. Becoming his child is something you would have to do out of your own volition, without any force from me or from anyone else.
To become a child of God, you have to be given the right. As the Bible says “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to … But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become sons of God” John 1:12
The good thing is that the right to become a child of God is yours for the asking… even right now!
12. If you die today, where would you spend eternity?
Would you not want to find an answer to that question before it becomes too late? That’s a question not only for you but for all humans. There are only two possible options – eternity with God or eternity without Him.
Fortunately, anyone who believes in God through His Son Jesus Christ has already settled that issue. For such people, there is nothing to fear; their place is in God.
You already know that the fact that you don’t believe in God does not preclude you from dying. And death is the gateway to eternity. Once you die, you have lost all the chances of ever knowing God.
Your present life is the only chance you to make the decision about where to spend eternity – with God in Heaven or with satan in hell. There is no sitting on the fence between the two choices.
Failure to choose God is already an automatic choice for hellfire. Hope that doesn’t sound too harsh?
13. The question of sin cannot be cured except in Christ.
There is no substitute to Christ at all! Even you yourself know that you are not perfect; you are not without blemish. In order words, you are a sinner who needs the forgiveness of God.
I didn’t say that to condemn you, but rather as a kind of reality check. You have to know this (in case no one ever told you before now): just like all humans, you are a sinner because you were born that way.
Sin is the nature of all men. You cannot solve the problem of sin on your own; you need help – God’s help.
The only authentic remedy for sin is in the blood Jesus Christ. All it requires is a simple faith in His sacrificial death and resurrection. It is only in believing in God through Jesus that your sin nature and its eternal consequence can be permanently dealt with.
14. You are accountable to God, now or later.
This is inescapable! You may not believe in God but you should understand that you are still answerable to Him. Whether you chose to accept Him or not you will still be accountable to Him for your actions.
One day, you will stand before Him to explain how you lived your life here on Earth and what you did with the offer of grace by His son Jesus Christ. I thought you should know that too.
15. There is a future reality called Hellfire.
Many people don’t like to hear that word ‘hellfire’. But I care about you too much not to warn you about it!
It is the final destination reserved for everyone who rejects the salvation that Christ offers. The place was originally meant for satan and his angels. But sadly, anyone that rejects God has sided with satan and so will ultimately end up where satan himself will be confined to too, forever.
You don’t have to go there if you decide to accept Jesus Christ now that you are still alive, otherwise, hellfire will be an inescapable reality. This is not a threat; it is the truth I just tried to share in love.
16. Very far from God is not too far yet.
You might think that you have gone a long way in the journey of your (wrong) belief that God doesn’t exist. But I would say you are yet to reach the point of no return. God is ready to accept you as his son/daughter if you give Him the chance now.
Once you realise that you are on the wrong part, the honourable thing to do is to retrace your steps. Anyone who fails to acknowledge God is already on the wrong path.
If you don’t want to end up in the wrong destination, you should not continue on the journey in the wrong direction. The prodigal son found his back to his father, so can you!
Forget about the wrong things you might have been told about God. Dismantle your previous mindset and seek God yourself with all your heart and with faith.Give Jesus an invitation into your heart and I can assure you He will honour it.
Would you acknowledge God through His son, Jesus Christ now?
P.S: To you that believe in God through his Son Jesus Christ, if you have any sobering thing you would want an atheist to know that doesn’t fall into any of the ones listed above, do me a favour by commenting. You may be the voice that someone may hear to turn to God. Those that have contrary opinions are also welcome to comment.