The Christian Post had a little piece about actor Brad Pitt no longer ‘identifying’ as an atheist, which contained a couple of interesting lines.
Towards the beginning, Pitt reflects on his prior claims to atheism, saying, “I called myself an atheist for awhile, just kind of being rebellious.”
Well, yeah. I mean, that’s the heart of the matter, isn’t it? Atheism is the staunchest sort of rebellion, the aggressive denial that there is no God: no one made us, we aren’t here for anything, we’re not going anywhere, and the only laws that mean anything are the laws of nature–all the rest we just made up.
After a little bit, the article refers back to an earlier interview from 2009, apparently during Pitt’s atheist-agnostic phase, where he said, “I don’t think anyone really knows. You’ll either find out or not when you get there, until then there’s no point thinking about it.”
That kind of logic only applies if the issue is already decided in favor of atheism. If there is no God, then there is, indeed, no point in thinking about it. There’s no point in anything, and thinking about God would be one of the things in which there is no point. There’s also no point in being kind or helping others; everything on our planet will die with the sun (if not sooner), and if by some unlikely chance humanity has developed sufficiently to escape that fate, ultimate dissolution still follows eventually.
If there is a God, then there is a future, an eternity, worth thinking about. If there is a God, there may well be a point in doing and thinking a whole lot of things. Kindness may actually count. If there is a God, then we ought to think about sin and righteousness and judgment. If there is a God, we just might need Him to save us.
The Christian faith is profoundly transcendent. This life isn’t everything, so it means something. The gospel message matters, and so we proclaim it even to people who must face death–because death is not the end. “For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit” (1 Pet. 4:6, NIV). From an atheist perspective, true Christianity looks like a bad deal: you give up a lot of what you might have squeezed out of this life. But from the perspective of eternity, it means true life, spiritual life by the power of the Holy Spirit, and resurrected life when Christ returns.
God sent His Son to bear our sins upon the cross, and rise so that by faith in Him we may be forgiven and receive eternal life.
It bears thinking about.