Rejecting A Rembrandt?

I reject the same gods atheists reject. That is, I reject the same gods that popular atheists discuss and deny. But there remains another God which, it seems, many of these pop atheists have not seriously considered.

While pop atheists are ranting about Santa Clause and Spaghetti Monsters, I’m contemplating why there’s such a historical and universal draw towards a transcendent personal God. There seems to be a God-concept so compelling, so explanatorily powerful, so winsome and attractive, that he can’t be usurped by the problem of evil, by the success of secular science, or by the problem of hell. While pop atheists describe God as a child’s drawing in a Santa hat, the biblical portrait of God is more like a Rembrandt.

“Head of Christ” Rembrandt, 1648. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

This is the God latent in the text of Scripture, whom saints clamor after and philosophers ponder, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, the theologian’s key, a strangely realistic deity who can generate a whole universe and organize life in it while grounding all goodness in His ultimate mind making science and learning possible and sharing his image with intelligence, creativity and even authority.

It seems this God of the Bible, is quite different from the theological pinatas that pop atheists prefer. Atheists, of this sort, reveal the shallow depths of their disbelief by the speed at which they mention Santa Claus. They likewise expose their selective skepticism by finding vulnerable verses, about gay people or slavery yet make no mention of biblical bans on bestiality, theft, or lying in court. These days, pop atheists want a divine punching bag, not a bout with the almighty.

You cannot disprove the light by any measure of willful blindness. We believers have many faults, and we have much to apologize for, but not for believing in a sublime divine far more mature than all the fictional wizards adorning the pages of children’s stories.

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