A while back on a forum this discussion popped up and I know this comes up often when atheists try to blame God (as if he exists for them). The following is a comment from a very nice atheist poster I know. The names have been changed.
… to be honest, I think it would be equally sick if God forgave Hitler. I mean, it would be pretty sad to see Gandhi burning eternally in Hell while Hitler lived an eternity of joy and happiness…I mean, for that to even be a possibility is so wrong.
But I say, why do you think that God forgiving Hitler sick or Gandhi burning in hell is unacceptable. While the former was a madman, the latter was almost a saint as far as actions are concerned but regardless of what those people did, you can not out-weigh grace by works. That is the point of which I think atheists, IMHO, have a superficial understanding. The gospel is not about what you did, but about what Christ did. You are seeing it the other way around through some sort of karma that is working behind the scene, well that ain’t the gospel and it certainly isn’t Christianity either.
No true christian is saved by his works, as no Hitler is condemned just because he is a mass-killer, if you do not believe in Christ, you are not atoned. If you re not atoned, no matter how good you are, you sin, as all human beings do. This is the prime difference between grace and the law. You are going through it like an accountant but you have to see it through grace. Grace in Christ’s message means one thing, you are not being treated according to your works. Therefore, a christian who is arrogant is as much of a sinner as an atheist who murdered his neighbor. And therefore both can be saved through grace, which is obtained by Christ work on the Cross.
Personally, and I would concur that a man like Hitler should never be granted mercy, but in front of God, if I hate my brother, I am as guilty as Hitler. You have to understand divine justice, and how it operates. One sin is equal to death so is ten million sins. It is like, if a man murders 14 people you can only hang him once, right? what if he kills in prison too, a fellow inmate, can you hang him twice? No he will die once, no matter how many sins he did. To some extent, the same is the case here. If you sin, you sin, whether you sin 100 times or 1 million times, its irrelevant. we die spiritually because of sin.
Therefore when Christ came, he sat down with drunkards, tax collectors, corrupt officials, prostitutes and so on and so forth. For people thought, just like you, they were rating sin. Their daily small lies were, in their eyes much less than the prostitutes’ vulgarity, which she practices day and night. So in their own eyes they were more good than others. But Christ gave the alternate message, its not about how good you are. Its about what you lack, and we all lack, therefore we can not fulfill the righteous standard of God and therefore no matter how good or bad we are, we fall short of the mark, including you and me.
Where is justice then? you ask. Justice is done not on your works, but on Christ’s. For if God judges us on our own merit, we all will be condemned, everyone, holy Christians and Jews included. And so on the bright side, to be saved all you need to come to Christ and accept him as your savior.
I hope you understand what I am saying. Grace is for all of us and by that alone we are saved. If we come to Christ with our sins, we can be absolved of the penalty there of, if we believe in him, as our savior and Lord.
Grace seldom makes sense to us because as people no matter who we are, atheists, Christians, agnostics, muslims etc, we have the ability to see within ourselves the problems we face each day and how we fail as humans to live the life we want to but can not. This perception is so powerful that at times it becomes the only lens with which we can see ourselves and we see ourselves based upon what we do. But when God looks at us, he sees us in his Love, which is Christ and in that love we: fallen, imperfect, weak human beings, are loved with our imperfections as there were none, ever. And I think that is what baffles someone who has not experienced grace. Grace has nothing to do with wit or anger, it has nothing to do with creationism or evolution. Grace does not need you to be good, intelligent or the very best. Grace takes you for who you are. A fisherman or the man who once traveled on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians, met God’s grace on the way and later died for that same grace which had so marvelously changed his life.
Grace defies justice and common sense, it goes beyond rationality and logical parameters, it is frightening to someone who does not recognize that as humans we all fail. But it does something else as well. It gives hope to the fallen. It can light the spark which has died in a girl who is about to commit suicide. It can clear the conscience of the most hated and make the most cruel heart surrender and realize that he/she can be loved too. This can forgive the robber on the cross, and the prostitute which was about to be stoned. Grace touches the meek and the humble. Grace can mend an amputated spirit.
Of all the virtues there ever could be, God chose to be called by only one, Love. And that love was expressed in the most humblest of forms which is Grace.
I can not help but remember what John Newton wrote in his hymn Amazing Grace.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
John Newton, who himself had been in the slave trade, and in later-Old age became an abolitionist, wrote these amazing words above. Ironically, when he composed it, he had gone blind of age. Yet he ascribed his blindness to the years when he was sailing slave ships. John Newton found grace, though physically blind, grace opened his spiritual eyes. He was blind once but now he could see and he saw himself, as only human and found wanting. Grace was the the only hope there was.
So fellas never underestimate grace, for there may come a time when you too, could be in need to it.