“By the way, Jesus mentions in John 3:19ff would have me believe that the non-theist does not believe in God as an act of will, simply because he loves darkness rather than light. As a blanket statement, I think this is absurd. However, I would like to know the Christians’ perspective on this. Do atheists really know the truth – that there is a God, yet reject that truth because they love darkness rather than light and perhaps use reason as an excuse to hide their own willfull lifestyle of sin?” (He is Sailing)
You’ve hit upon something that is very key to the scriptures views on believer and un-believer – the idea of morality and immorality being the dividing card between the 2 – and not faith and non-faith as we see it used as today.
I have been discussing this very idea with a Jewish lady and some other people – mostly in casual convo – but we all are noticing that from Genesis to the Gospels/letters the idea that divides someone from the faith is immorality and not non-faith.
Find any parable, Psalm, or even that Isaiah 55 passage from Michelle – the true line in the sand between God and us is our actions – not our weird belief systems or ideas (unless those things cause in us immoral actions – so we see how close believing something is tied with action). Someone immoral is not acting godly – someone being moral is acting godly – plain and simple (at least that’s what I am seeing in many passages).
Now what I write is not mainstream theology by any stretch in Christianity – but it is there in the passages themselves. One just needs to think back to the whole Jewish community – they were whole communities of people with various jobs in life yet they were all part of the ‘community of God’ – only few were priests to be totally honest. Yet they were all ‘Israel’ and all welcome to the ‘temple’ – all subject to the same laws – it was a community of acceptance – since they were all One’s community. This idea is absolutely lost on Christianity and is non-existent.
Now I look around at society and see many people doing many various things – but what is important still – law and order and freedom to live our lives. Some people are religous and many are not – I say ‘big deal’ – does your life reflect the caring for the community you are in irregardless of faith or not? Cause that’s the key – do you hurt others in society for your own gain?
Immorality is a problem no matter who is involved – cause neither an atheist or Christian likes to be robbed at gun-point or have their homes broken into or a loved one murdered – for both of them they can clearly see the line between morality and immorality at that point and how society is wrecked by these type of things. Faith is not the dividing line between humans and God – our actions are – and these same actions are also the obvious dividing line between working relationships and not working one’s.
HIS, not sure if I answered your question but I think I am pointing you in the right direction. Basically, to me, a lot of atheists will be in heaven (if there is one) because they are just as nice as most Christians (who say they know there is a heaven) I know. All things being equal…