Curse God and Die?

Imagine you are in a very different time and place from America of the third millennium. This is not a time when we have religious freedom, but a time when naming the name of Christ is enough to earn you swift and deadly judgment.

Now imagine this gruesome dilemma: you must choose between yourself and your child. If you deny God, you and your child will be spared. If you refuse to deny God, you will be sent to prison for life, and your child will be killed. But there’s a twist. You don’t know whether your child is in a right relationship with God. She’s not really young, or else you could be sure of her innocence before God. At the same time, she’s been taught the plan of salvation since she was little girl, so it’s not as though she doesn’t know the truth. You’ve talked to her about becoming a Christian, and she hasn’t seemed quite ready. That was a little while ago. Is she ready now? Would God hold her accountable for her sins at this very moment? You just can’t say one way or the other. What are you going to do?

Here are the options:

  1. If you deny God, then your daughter will live. Not only will her physical life be saved, but she will have a chance to become a Christian later on.
  2. If you refuse to deny God, then your daughter will be killed. If she is not in a right relationship with God, she will incur God’s judgment against her.

Many of us, as Christians, would think nothing of taking the second option. The last thing we would want to do is deny God. Didn’t Jesus tells us that if we confess Him before others, He will confess our name before His Father in heaven, but if we deny Him, He will deny us (Matthew 10:32-33)? Didn’t Jesus tell the suffering saints in Smyrna to be faithful, even to the point of dying (Revelation 2:10)?

And yet, because we would make that decision—because we would confess our faith in God—atheists think we are horrible. Yes, that’s right, they think that Christians are selfish to put themselves ahead of others, especially their own flesh and blood. This shows, they think, that Christianity is not a religion of love and kindness.

What can we say in response? Let’s do the math. In the first option, we have one soul lost for sure, and one soul that may or may not be saved. Your daughter could live, but she might not become a Christian. This is a disaster waiting to happen. At best, one soul could be saved (your innocent daughter’s). At worst, two souls could be lost (yours, and your daughter’s, if God finds her accountable). In the second option, we have one soul saved for sure, and one soul that may or may not be saved. At best, two souls could be saved (yours, and your innocent daughter’s). At worst, one soul could be lost (your daughter’s, if God finds her accountable). There is more to be lost by taking the first option, and more to be gained by taking the second option. The choice is clear.

Still, doing things by numbers is not the Christian way. It’s not the outcome that decides whether an action is right or not. We don’t weigh the pros and cons and see which side is best, and then make our choice. Doing the “right thing” as a Christian is not like choosing a car, or tossing a coin to see who will kick off a football game. We decide what to do based on our love for God and a desire to do His will (1 John 5:2). Our motivation in confessing God is not to “save our skin,” but to put our trust in the One Who can save our soul.

Speaking of which, it would do no good to die for the sake of our child’s soul. Sure, we can try to teach them the truth and be a good example while we’re still alive. Ultimately, however, God holds each of us personally accountable for the choices we make. He makes His gift of salvation available to everyone, but it is up to each individual to accept or reject His offer (John 3:16-18). What sort of example would we leave our children if we put flesh and blood ahead of eternal life?

But the atheist doesn’t get any of this. He wants us to focus on the fact that we would be willing to give up “everything” for our silly faith. He doesn’t consider the importance of the soul, because he doesn’t believe in a soul or life after death.

When people hear this dilemma, they are supposed to feel indignant. They are supposed to hate Christians for being so “cruel.” Notice, however, that feelings don’t make an argument. An atheist’s perceptions, or misperceptions, of what Christians should or should not do, matters very little. What does matter is that we confess Jesus as the Christ, and believe that He is the Son of God (1 John 2:22-23).

© 2000 – 2010, Trevor Major. All rights reserved.

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