“I am my own God.”
|Images from Rappler|
With those words, Joanne Abigail Dela Cruz, a once devout Catholic, came out of her “proverbial closet” and declared her “long-overdue apostasy” (Source: Rappler). It started when she went to college where “three years of living independently exposed [her] to a variety of novel experiences. [Her] daring was fueled by the thrill of having no authority figure to check and reprimand [her.]”
Then, she claimed she faced a crisis of belief. She felt hypocritical. “I crossed enough of my own lines to incite an internal struggle. I had no quiet in my thoughts as my behavior grew inconsistent with my religious beliefs and vice versa.” So, she started doubting her faith. she labeled it her futile “resistance to the truth.” After searching, she turned. Not towards God but away from Him. “Stimulating philosophy classes finally instigated an enlightened self-examination and introspection became a habit. Inevitably, my beliefs and perceptions in life changed.”
Though I don’t doubt the sincerity of her journey, what caught my attention was that she confessed that she struggled with what she believed because of how she lived. “I started doubting the logic and premises behind my faith, then dismissed these doubts as mere justification for my ‘transgressions.’” That reminded me of what Dr. David Geisler said in our “Conversational Apologetics” class in seminary: “People believe what they want to believe in order to do what they want to do.”
|What a privilege! Met two generations of defenders of the faith! (From my Facebook page)|
With all due respect, I personally think that her so-called “faith” is not faith at all. According to James 2:14 and 18b, “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? … Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.” (The Message) Yes, we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). But, our works reveal what we really believe. “Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?” (James 2:24) The faith that saves is the faith that works.
Brethren, let us have a faith fruitful in works.
NOTE: After sharing this blog article on my Facebook page, a dear friend who is an atheist posted this comment:
|Shared with permission|
Though it’s actually the picture that Ms. Dela Cruz painted in her own article, I think it’s a good reminder that her experience is personal and does not speak for the experience of other atheists. We have to be careful not to stereotype people.