I believe there can be no more important question than “Who is God?” because even among believers in God have so many different “pictures” of God in their minds. And every mental image of God has consequences for everyday life. Did you know that Hitler believed in God? He absolutely did. When he narrowly escaped death from a bomb planted near him by a conspirator he frequently attributed his survival to God. He saw his narrow escape from assassination as proof that God was with him and on his side.
I happen to think that everyone believes in God; I don’t take atheism very seriously. I believe awareness of a creator being who is all powerful and eternal is planted in our hearts. To me atheists are just those people who are in denial about what they really know. You have heard the old saying about war and soldiers “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Well, I will dare to say there are no atheists at all. There are only people whose god or gods are unworthy of worship or they prefer to live in denial of the one supreme creator God because they don’t want to be accountable to him.
So, for me the real question is not whether God exists but who God is. Which of the many gods people believe in, or deny believing in, is worthy of worship? And how should we Christians depict God to ourselves and other people?
— Roger Olson, Who is God? September 17, 2018
I’ve attempted to read the entire article. Boy, is it smug! ‘Who God is’ turns out to be Jesus. Of course it does. But which Jesus? Olson seems to think there’s one clear depiction of Jesus in the bible, not the multiple and often incompatible interpretations that we actually find. Still, I expect such skepticism is ‘planted’ in our not-really-atheistic hearts too.
*sigh* Mr. Olson, I assure you that atheists do exist, and we actually do not believe in any gods, all of them, including your interpretation of God-Jesus that you promote. And yes, I have read the Bible and seen possible iterations of Yahweh, Jehovah, the LORD and whatever else you care to mention, plus the different Jesuses in the 4 gospels, scary superhero Jesus of Revelation, and whatever visions Pauk had that he thought were Jesus. Plus, I have read of a whole slew of deities from other cultures. I don’t believe in any of them, nor do I believe in any deities yet to be named.
My husband also does believe in deities because of his study of science and because of the problem of evil. My kids don’t believe because they have read a variety of cultures’ depictions of deities, and they concluded that all are fiction. I don’t believe because I don’t find evidence in science, archaeology, history of gods or that any of the writings are based in truth. I find the problem of evil, the doctrines of hell and substitionary atonement to be abhorrent, and the inerrancy of scriptures and science denial to be willfully ignorant belief, and the treatment of out-groups to be bigoted and abhorrent. I could go on – I have more reasons as I was very submerged in fundamentalist evangelical Christianity.
Rebellion and wanting to “sin” have nothing to do with my rational beliefs. I don’t believe in “sin”, I believe in making choices – some choices have very negative consequences or are harmful to others.
I understand that people like Mr. Olson are convinced that their version of a God possibly with trinitarian cohorts exists, but I don’t understand how they can categorically deny that people who don’t believe in any of that exist.
Wow…what an a**hole!
Thinking that everyone believes in God shows delusional thinking.
Anything “planted” in our hearts = blood.
Don’t tell me what I “really” know.
Don’t tell me what I”m in denial of.
Don’t try to sell facts that one does not have proof of.
Don’t tell me what I don’t want to be accountable for.
Ah, from Texas…of course.
Oh I forgot to ask – Mr. Olson in this essay suggests we should read the Bible backwards – does that mean we will find hidden Satanic messages like in the 1970s and 80s we were told that playing rock albums backwards would reveal backmasking – Satanic messages?????
Asserting that Hitler believed in God doesn’t give me much on incentive to change my mind
LOL, so true!
As a former student of Olsen who is now a Humanist, I have to disagree with him. It is possible to not believe in a god or gods.