I understand the viewpoint of not believing in the power of the atonement and chalking up any miraculous act that He may have performed to just religious fervor which has been amplified over time like many great folklores of the past. I’m not here to try to convince those individuals who have those viewpoints to accept my explanation as the only true authoritative statement on the subject. I am however, going to give “an answer to every man that asketh me of the hope that is in me.” (1 Peter 3:15)
As I stated earlier, I understand and respect those individuals who view Jesus as a great philosopher and teacher. Having said this, to me He is not only the Savior of the world, but He is in fact my personal Redeemer. There will undoubtedly be those individuals who view belief in the resurrection and in the atonement as irrational, but that irrationality is precisely what makes faith real. Christian faith is one of the great wonders of humanity. It binds billions of souls across generations and cultures and continues to work good thousands of years after the death of Christ. That to me is miraculous.
We constantly hear about the various biases and heuristics of religious thought and those religious zealots who have caused countless deaths and wars over the years. But those biases and heuristics are part of our human wiring. They would exist with or without religion. It would and in fact does occur in all forms of groups, organizations and companies that are organized by human beings. To discount all the good that is brought about by religious organizations simply on the basis of heuristics, would be to take a very myopic point of view of the entire situation.
Christ’s atonement gives me hope and helps me to understand that though I may falter and make mistakes in this life, there will always be a way out and there will always be someone in Christ who perfectly understands the situations, trials and problems I face. Not only is He sympathetic to my situation but to be more precise He is empathetic. Through His suffering in the garden, He was able to empathize not only my trials, pains and sufferings but those of all mankind throughout history. Some may chalk this up to religious fervor but even if it was, the hope that resides within me is still just as real as any other motivational power here on Earth.
Simply put there will always be days where the atoning sacrifice of Christ is the only thing that carries us through the night. There will be days where everything and everyone seems to be against us; days where we literally cannot see another way out. There will be days where coworkers, friends, church leaders, parents and even spouses let us down but there will never come a day and we will never travel so far as to be out of the reach of the atoning power of Christ.
Every one of us faces challenges that in its entirety, cannot be fully understood by anyone else; regardless of the well-meaning intentions of those around us. There are just going to be days where you live by faith trusting that He will provide a way. Days where you kneel down in fervent prayer pleading “Lord, I need thee now. I need thee today because I’m tired and I can’t do this any longer. I have nowhere else to go and nowhere else to look but up.” Charity, the pure love of Christ, is epitomized by the atonement. There has never been a time in the history of the world where Christ’s love for us has beamed so brightly and been so greatly demonstrated as it was that night.
Allow God the time and opportunity to justify your faith and you will find yourself coming forth polished as gold.
Remember as Stephen Robinson wrote in “Believe in Christ” not only do we need to believe in Christ, but we need to believe Christ. When He promises us that as we follow His commandments things will work out in the end, we need to believe that they will. When He promises us that our glorious Sunday morning is just on the horizon to cast awake the darkness and pain of our Friday evenings, we need to believe that they will.