Sykes, an outspoken atheist, has never been one to shy away from his hate for religion. On “Crooked Young,” he takes another shot at Christians, saying, “Death is the only salvation for me.”
We’re all looking for truth, whether we know it or not. Some people look for it in relationships, others in money.
Sykes thinks he’s found it in the absence of God. And I feel sorry for him. But what has he seen from Christians that makes him think this?
I’ve heard people say faith in God is just a crutch for the weak-minded, and I’ve heard Christians combat that point. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that God is a crutch; faith in him is just not in the way people think.
We’re broken people, and without God, we’d be stumbling around. We’d be crawling through life. The first step to recovery is recognizing that we are broken, admitting that we have a problem and that we need help.
God is our crutch, but he’s also our physician, our athletic trainer and our physical therapist.
We need God in order to understand the world around us. If it was proved that God did not exist, that every single word of the Bible was a fraud, that the afterlife consisted of dirt and worms, then I would lose all hope. My life would be purposeless. I would wander aimlessly.
I don’t blame Sykes for believing that death is the end of all things. The concepts of Heaven and Hell can be difficult to grasp. “How does a man wrap his mind around eternity when he can’t even explain his own composition?” asks Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red in “Indonesia.”
We don’t fully understand our galaxy, our own planet or even ourselves. We have spent thousands of years trying to figure out how the human mind works, and much of it is still a mystery.
So if we have that much trouble with knowing ourselves, then how much more difficult is it for us to believe in an afterlife? We won’t understand it until we get there.
As for now, we have to trust that God knows what’s best for us.
And when Sykes says, “I’ll bow for your king when he shows himself,” he is speaking for millions of people.
Our society has this mindset of “I’ll believe it when I see it.” We need empirical evidence. We can witness to someone all we want, but if they’re not willing to take a leap of faith, then we won’t have any success.
One day, our king will show himself, and I don’t think Oli Sykes will like what he sees on that day.
“Keep telling yourself what you really don’t believe … but in the end you’ll see nothing stands between a man and his maker,” says Luhrs of August Burns Red.
One of the reasons people are turned off by Christianity, I think, is because they want complete control of their lives. They see Christianity as a set of rules that are thousands of years old. They don’t want some old man in the sky telling them what they can or can’t do. They just want to live their lives however they like. To them, rules are a pain, a list of laws put in place to prevent us from enjoying life.
We don’t like rules. In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve one rule, and they still managed to break it. The Bible is full of stories where the Israelites disobeyed God.
And I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that we all break God’s rules multiple times a day. But as Christians, we have to see that these rules are in place to protect us. Now, there is debate on which rules still apply to us today, but that’s an issue for another day.
One of the hardest rules for Christians to follow is one given by Jesus: Love your neighbors as you love yourself.
We have a difficult time loving those who are different from us. One of the biggest turn-offs for non-believers is seeing this hypocrisy.
Christian metalcore band Phinehas, in their song “Dead Choir,” addresses this issue by paraphrasing 1 John 4:20: “How can you love a God that you cannot see, yet you hate your fellow man standing in front of me?”
How can Christians love an invisible being and devote their entire lives to him, but turn their back on the poor and preach hate to those who are hurting? It makes no sense.
Jesus told us to love. If we don’t, then we are living in rebellion to him.
God doesn’t call us to only love Bible-believing Christians. That’s too simple. If love were easy, it would not be love. If love were easy, God would not have had to sacrifice his son for our sake.
God calls us to love everyone. This includes Muslims, Democrats, atheists, homosexuals, and even the Kardashians. It’s going to be a struggle, but we have to remember that everyone – from Kanye West to Richard Dawkins – is made in the image of God, whether they recognize it or not. If we think of everyone in this light, it becomes easier to show them love.
Whenever we come across people like Sykes – people who dismiss God’s existence without a second thought – it’s easy to treat them with spite or disrespect. We need to realize that they’re broken and that we used to be like them. The only difference is that we’ve found what they are looking for. They just don’t know yet what they’re missing.
They need someone to guide them, so be that someone.
Jonathan Gallardo is a senior journalism major and sports editor for Cedars. He loves writing fiction, listening to music, and he wishes he could be LeBron James.
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