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.