The Source of Hope: My Response to Anderson’s “No Kingdom Come”: Part 2

nokingdomC.J. Anderson’s book, No Kingdom Come, ironically opens with a chapter titled “Awakening.” It is ironic because rather than depicting something gained – as the word “awakening” would suggest – the chapter depicts a loss. Anderson has closed his mind to the possibility of God. He writes, “My soul was gone and what I feared most was true: we are all just evolved animals, and life is just a cosmic joke.”

The realization that mankind was nothing more than animals pushed Anderson to the brink of suicide; he likened his situation to that of a wounded soldier who wakes up in a MASH unit to discover the loss of his legs. Anderson had lost his faith. Crushed, suicidal and hopeless – adrift in the knowledge that fourteen years of following Christ was a “beautiful lie.”

Does this really sound like an “awakening?”

Anderson writes that he was suddenly aware there was “No eternal life, no Heaven, no Paradise. Just death.” The curious reader must ask where this sudden realization originated. What was the source of this awakening? The answer to these questions are not addressed in the first chapter of Anderson’s boom, yet the conclusions he offers are uttered as if they are irrefutable facts. God does not exist! The promise of an afterlife is a sham! Anderson is awake while those still lost to the sham of Christianity still sleep. Blissfully unaware everything they hold dear is a lie.

Mankind has been struggling to understand their role in the world and their relationship with a Creator for thousands of years and all it took for definitive answers was for C.J. Anderson to suddenly wake up.

I don’t mean this to sound insulting; rather, I hope to expose a flaw in Anderson’s logic. Throughout his book, Anderson calls into question beliefs that have been forged by thousands of years of philosophical discourse, Biblical study, and thought based on the simple claim that he woke up. I wonder where his sudden knowledge came from. Who shared with him the secrets that have eluded mankind for so long?

Simply put, I question Anderson’s credentials. By what authority does he declare Christianity dead? These issues will be explored in more detail as we progress though his book.

For now, however, there is a more pressing issue. The first chapter of Anderson’s book opens by depicting him struggling to unload a handgun that had presumably been pointed at his own head. His “awakening” had led him to the edge of suicide. Somehow, thankfully, he restrained himself despite his newfound revelation that God doesn’t exist. It would seem worthwhile to take a moment and examine how one’s worldview influences their decisions in such moments.

Anderson writes, “… we are just dust in the wind, and that death is truly the end.” Imagine if this were your worldview. Imagine briefly that there was truly nothing after death. Anderson adds to the picture, “Every part of me wanted to die. There was no more hope …” I would humbly suggest that finding a loaded .45 pointed at his head should have been Anderson’s first clue that his “awakening” was not a positive shift in attitude. It wasn’t fourteen years of Christianity that loaded Anderson’s weapon, but rather the sudden cessation of belief – yet he’s bold enough to refer to his shift as an “awakening?”

If you’re reading this, or Anderson’s book, and find yourself considering suicide, please stop immediately and seek out help. Tell a loved one, friend, or professional. Ultimately, however, I believe it is evident the Christian worldview offers more hope to someone that is suicidal than does atheism. Thomas Kennedy writes in Christianity Today:

“We must understand suicide as free and uncoerced actions engaged in for the purpose of bringing about one’s own death. Once we define it this way, it is easy to grasp the church’s clear teaching throughout the centuries that suicide is morally wrong and ought never to be considered by the Christian. Life is a gift from God. To take one’s own life is to show insufficient gratitude. Our lives belong to God; we are but stewards. To end my own life is to usurp that the prerogative that is God’s alone. Suicide, the church has taught, is ordinarily a rejection of the goodness of God, and it can never be right to reject God’s goodness.”[1]

While Christians often make the mistake of coldly judging those who commit suicide, in truth, a Christian worldview provides the ultimate motivation to live. Christians see life as a gift from God. We are called to respond with gratitude by committing that life to serving Jesus Christ. Scripture teaches that we are created in the image of God, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26). As such, our lives should be cherished and are inherently of value. One doesn’t need to debate the merits of Christianity verses atheism to admit that a Christian worldview is more conducive to life.

I think it is striking that Anderson’s “awakening” led him to the brink of suicide. The first chapter of his book serves as the perfect example of why a person who is hopeless, lost, and depressed should investigate the claims of Jesus Christ. The “awakening” atheism offers is akin to hopelessness. Christ is hope.

[1] Kennedy, Thomas. “Suicide and the Silence of Scripture.” Christianity Today. July, 2000. Web.

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