The American Spectator reported on some wonderful news: According to the International Bulletin of Missionary Research there are 80,000 new Christians every day! But there’s even better news. Keep reading.
Because of God’s Spirit working in the lives of unbelievers as they hear the Gospel preached, Christianity is still thriving, with “one third of the world professing Christianity, virtually unchanged as a global percentage since 100 years ago. Christians today are estimated to number about 2.3 billion. About 1.5 billion are estimated to attend church regularly at over 5 million congregations, up from 400,000 100 years ago.”
But the best news of all? According to this report there are 300 less atheists in the world every day! At this rate, in a few thousand years (or more) there will be no more atheists! Hallelujah!!!
Maybe a lot of these “backslidden” atheists were a lot like prominent existentialist thinker Albert Camus. He, too, wrestled with many of the issues that unbelievers today struggle with: the meaning of life, a foundation for morality, and the problem of suffering and evil. We wrote about his convictions that God does not exist and that the world is without meaning in such major novels as The Stranger (1942), The Plague (1947), and The Fall (1956).
His main frustrations, as written about in The One Year Book of Christian History, “came from the issues of suffering and evil. Seeing pain and suffering all around him, he could not believe that a God who was good and all-powerful would watch such events and do nothing to alleviate them. Such a God, he felt was not worth believing.”
Hmmm. Sounds like some of the atheists I’ve encountered.
But let’s continue with the account of Camus’ life. He befriended a Methodist pastor named Howard Mumma whose “irregular and occasional” conversations with Camus were confidential, yet they were making an impression. “I am searching for something I do not have, something I’m not sure I can define,” explained Camus to the pastor, who sympathized with Camus and also confessed that he, too, didn’t understand it all.
They continued their conversations to the point where Pastor Mumma gave Camus a Bible—and he read it. Then things started to change.
Camus started asking questions like, “Howard, do you perform baptisms?” and what did it mean to be born again? The pastor replied that “baptism is a symbolic commitment to God,” and that being born again means, “to enter anew or afresh into the process of spiritual growth…to receive forgiveness because you have asked God to forgive you of all your sins.”
(Too bad the pastor didn’t give a full explanation of why Camus needed forgiveness of his sins. All he had to do was show him his sin by taking him through the Ten Commandments. Then Camus would have understood that because he’s lied, stolen, coveted, blasphemed and hated he would be condemned to Hell, unless he trusted Christ and repented of those sins.)
I’m sure the pastor was quite surprised when he heard this from Camus’ lips: “Howard, I am ready. I want this.”
Camun requested a private baptism but Pastor Mumma would not allow it, instead suggesting that he continue to study the Bible and wait until the both of them could come to some type of agreement. Camus left with these words: “My friend, mon cher, thank you…I am going to keep striving for the faith!”
A few months later, Camus was tragically killed in an auto accident on January 4, 1960.
So where is Camus now? I cannot say. But the bigger question today, dear atheist friend, is where will you go when you die, Heaven or Hell?
Perhaps this will be the year that you, like Camus, will start investigating the claims of the Bible more thoroughly and come to your senses—before it’s too late.
You may even become part of the 300 Club!