A recent YouTube video that went viral shows a woman who claims Monster Energy Drinks are the work of the devil. Atheists and their allies in the media ran with it. An atheist friend of mine even passed it along with the message, “One of your people.”

I love my friend on many levels, but like most atheists these days he tends to reflexively go after the low-hanging fruit while ignoring the works of serious Christians.

The reason why many websites are keen to find the Christian equivalent of 9/11 Truthers or the next Westboro Baptist Church is because the mind that can be convinced early on that men and women of faith are all intellectually bankrupt kooks is the mind that is much more likely to avoid picking up books by C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and Hubert Van Zeller.

To an atheist, men like Mr. Zeller are terrifying. Picking almost any random page out of Mr. Zeller’s “Suffering: The Cross of Christ and Its Meaning For You,” gives insight as to why Christians — particularly intelligent Christians — come across as frightening to unbelievers:

“A man is discouraged either because he looks back at the past and sees a sequence of misfortunes that has shaped for him a mold of failure, or because he looks into the the future and can see no security, happiness, or prospects of success. His experience of life has given him these findings, so he feels, understandably, that life is insupportable.

But if he knew more of Christ, he would know that he had misinterpreted his experience, and that life is not at all insupportable. He would neither shy away from the thought of the past, nor stand dismayed by the thought of the future. The immediate present would not daunt him either: he would know that it could be related, together with the failures that have been and the horrors that are in store, to the Passion.

That is not to say that deliverance from disillusion, discouragement, and despair can be effected by a mere trick of the mind — the knack of referring our desolations  automatically to God — but that, in the gradual and painful conversion of the soul from self-centeredness to God-centeredness, there will be a growing tendency toward confidence. No longer brought low by the sight of so much evil in ourselves, in others, and in the world, we rise by the slow deepening of detachment to the sight of a possible good in ourselves, in others, and in the world. The vision extends to a probable good, and then to a certain good. Together with this widening horizon, which reveals the positive where before only the negative was expected, goes the knowledge that the only good is God’s good, and that it exists on earth — as those who receive the Word made flesh exist on earth — not of the will of man, but of God,” (57-58).

A man who believes in God is confident. He sees pain and suffering as a path to overcoming pain and suffering. There is nothing that the world can throw at him — nothing — that will deter him from steadily marching towards his objective. He finds strength in weakness. He is calm. He sees God everywhere and in everything — grace can come from even the most unexpected of places.

Put another way:

“The man of faith has reserves; he surrenders to nothing but the will of God. His desire is united to the desire that was in the mind of Christ when He fell on the road to Calvary. His failure is Christ’s failure; the waste of his talents is the waste of Christ’s. There is no question here of desperation, panic, self-pity, rebellion; no talk of accident or bad luck,” (25).

Put yourself in the shoes of an atheist Huffington Post editor, whose deepest desire is to have 400 million Americans dependent on an ever-expansive federal government. If you wanted the civilian population to dutifully bow to 535 bureaucratic overlords in Washington, D.C., would you want them watching Christian conspiracy theorists who see the devil in caffeinated beverages, or reading the works of men who believe “When I am weak, then I am strong”?

If you want to see just how powerful you really are, then I highly suggest reading “Suffering, The Cross of Christ and Its Meaning For You.” If you want to put yourself on a moral pedestal while denying the existence of God, then stick to The Huffington Post.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

17 comments

  1. You make some good points. I’ll have to put Zeller’s “Suffering: The Cross of Christ and Its Meaning For You” on my reading list.

    It’s a bit amusing, I never really considered energy drinks to be a work of the devil, but I have long participated in trying to raise some awareness about them. There’s a lot of young people that like to try and prove their toughness by consuming several of them and they often wind up in the heart ward in serious trouble. Good health is so wasted on the young. Or maybe not, I guess we need it to help compensate for our tendency towards stupidity. 😉

    1. Thanks, insanitybytes22. It’s a pretty quick read at 126 pages. I think it cost me $13 new online, although they had copies for $3 and under for used versions if I’m not mistaken.

      I usually highlight portions of the books I read, and my highlighter was working overtime with this one.

      Good health is so wasted on the young. Or maybe not, I guess we need it to help compensate for our tendency towards stupidity.

      Haha. I can attest to doing some pretty stupid things in my youth…

  2. Yeah, that’s not at all scary. There are a lot of people who have gone into detail about why C.S. Lewis’s theology is wrong. I’m sure you could find people who have argued against this Zeller person as well. The reason why people show that video of the energy drink lady is for the same reason people watch those shows about hoarders and people with strange addictions: they make us feel better about ourselves while allowing us to mock someone. It’s not about showing why she’s wrong. We don’t have to debunk her: nobody is taking her seriously.

    1. There are a lot of people who have gone into detail about why C.S. Lewis’s theology is wrong. I’m sure you could find people who have argued against this Zeller person as well.

      Yes, on a planet with 7 billion people, I’m sure there are “a lot of people” who have covered C.S. Lewis and Mr. Zeller. That wasn’t the point. The point is that mainstream media outlets love to cover Christians who are easily ridiculed. Huff Po Religion is a nice example. Strangely enough, they have nothing on the Islamic State’s latest beheading. American Peter Kassig was killed, but I guess that isn’t worthy Huff Po Religion coverage because Christians weren’t the ones chopping off heads.

      The reason why people show that video of the energy drink lady is for the same reason people watch those shows about hoarders and people with strange addictions: they make us feel better about ourselves while allowing us to mock someone.

      This is one element of the coverage, yes. It is quite telling that our culture has so many people who are driven to seek out and ridicule others in order to feel better about themselves…

      It’s not about showing why she’s wrong. We don’t have to debunk her: nobody is taking her seriously.

      It is, on many levels, about discrediting devoutly religious people. Are you really going to deny that? The Westboro Baptist Church is a small family of mean people who get media coverage everywhere they go. Why is that? They’re such an extreme outlier to what the vast majority of Baptists are like that it’s not even funny, and yet any time one of them marches around with a “God hates gay people” sign, you can guarantee Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, MSNBC and a whole host of others will be covering it.

    2. The mainstream media isn’t made up of atheists. In fact, in the US and Canada, the media is made up mostly of Christians. So, if your argument were valid, this would be a case of Christians attacking extremist Christians.

    3. The mainstream media isn’t made up of atheists. In fact, in the US and Canada, the media is made up mostly of Christians. So, if your argument were valid, this would be a case of Christians attacking extremist Christians.

      The mainstream media is made up of liberals who, by and large, are unfriendly towards Christians who are serious about their faith. Again, if you want to deny that, then go for it. I think most fair-minded people will laugh you out of the room.

      These days, taking your Christian faith seriously is defined as “extreme.” But like I said, if you’re part of a radical Islamic movement, then the mainstream media will do its best not to bring too much attention to your desires to live in an Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Middle East…or the United Kingdom…France, etc.

    4. The mainstream media is not very liberal at all. They may not be as right-winged as you are, but that doesn’t make them liberal. I don’t really care about whether people laugh at me. I care about what’s true. Your claims are just rhetoric without any evidence to support them.

    5. The mainstream media is not very liberal at all.

      You do know that Google exists, right? I wouldn’t say it if there wasn’t plenty of data to back it up. Even NPR was forced to report in 2004 what fair people have known for years: the media is liberal.

      This [Pew] study that is bound to have some serious consequences for American journalism in large measure because of one aspect of the poll: the political leanings of the journalists who responded to the survey.

      It found that a majority of American journalists say they are liberals. Not surprisingly this has been grist for conservatives because it confirms the impression that journalists are overwhelmingly liberal compared to the public in general.

      Feel free to recant at any time.

      I care about what’s true.

      Obviously you don’t, or you would have taken literally five seconds to find out that there is plenty of merit to what I said. Not content with NPR reporting Pew’s study in 2004? How about The Atlantic reporting Indiana University’s study in 2014? Title: ‘Report: Journalists Are Miserable, Liberal, Over-Educated, Under-Paid, Middle-Aged Men’

      We can also go with Harvard swallowing hard and reporting on the 2004 UCLA study: ‘A Measure of Media Bias’

      Tim Groseclose of the University of California at Los Angeles and Jeff Milyo of the University of Chicago, presented last March at Stanford University’s Workshop on the Media & Economic Performance. These researchers set up an objective measure of bias in U.S. television networks, newspapers, and magazines. The main finding is that the liberal inclination is pronounced.

      Since you’re new around here, I’ll give you a clue: It’s rare indeed where I’m going to say something without having plenty of evidence to back my claims. You might not want to be so sloppy in the future.

      Your claims are just rhetoric without any evidence to support them.

      When claims are self-evident there isn’t much need to provide evidence. But it’s okay. I was happy to show you that even bastions of liberalism like NPR, The Atlantic, and Harvard will begrudgingly report the truth about media now that the Internet makes it more difficult for them to keep that kind of news swept under the rug.

  3. I have a feeling if you gave the Monster/satan lady any topic, she’d probably find a way to trace an evil influence behind it. Much easier to poke fun at “lady vs can” than well thought out authors that you mentioned in the piece.

    I agree with hessianwiththeeth on the point of the clip being popular in the same vein as hoarder videos; I’d say the lady would benefit more studying God’s word rather than worrying about corporate logos. That being said, Doug is correct in his analogy of low hanging fruit for some people to hone in on when disparaging Christians, I’ll assume his friend doesn’t send Youtube clips of hoarders to other hoarders with “one of yours” as a comment.

    1. That being said, Doug is correct in his analogy of low hanging fruit for some people to hone in on when disparaging Christians, I’ll assume his friend doesn’t send Youtube clips of hoarders to other hoarders with “one of yours” as a comment.

      Boom. Well said.

  4. Wow, your friends sounds like an ass. If I were you, I’d fish some quotes from some of the indefensible things PZ Myers or Richard Dawkins have said that make this chick sound tame by comparison, or, if you’re really feeling vindictive, send him a picture of Stalin, Mao, and others, with the caption:

    “Some of YOUR people,” and then add a smiley face and a ‘have a nice day.’

    1. Haha. I am definitely not afraid to give it back to my friend. He didn’t have much to say when I brought up Richard Dawkins’ history of bizarre statements regarding child molestation.

    1. Hessianwithteeth seems to have backed off into the shadows after I easily provided examples reported from three enclaves of liberalism. Only someone with seriously tight ideological blinders on can make a statement like “the mainstream media is not very liberal at all” with a straight face.

      I actually did research into media bias during graduate school for a statistics class and got some interesting results. I’m not sure if I still have the paper, but basically the data I gleaned during my research showed that papers like The New York Times will give both sides to the issue more than you think, but the spectrum of political thought on the right is very narrow. So, for instance, they’ll ask a Republican to write a guest op-ed, but it will almost always be a guy like John McCain. They’re not going send out an invite to a staunch conservative. Again, we know this…but it was cool to see where the data backed up conservative criticisms of the media and where it didn’t.

      I’ll have to see if I can start my old laptop and find my work. That was one of the few times in my life where I actually had to drink coffee to stay awake and finish a project.

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