An Atheist With No Good Reasons for Being One
While trolling the internet I came across Michael Maletin’s Christian-to-atheist conversion story on youtube and decided to take a look. I figured I might be missing something as he might have some good reasons for thinking the way he does. I found some reasons worthy of debate, but reasons which shrink upon inspection.
Despite his rebellious youth, Maletin never lost sight of God and would often pray for help in changing his lifestyle. When a guest evangelist spoke at Maletin’s church, during the height of the Balkan wars, he came up with an idea of being an evangelist for Serbs and Croats. A seed was planted in Maletin’s head that would soon be choked off by doubt.
That doubt began to blossom in problems he found with the writings of Ellen G. White who is presumed to be a prophetess by Seventh-Day Adventists. I’m not surprised to find a false prophet ready to lead some people astray and Maletin obviously let these problems hurt his faith. (Walter Martin, I should add, includes Seventh Day Adventists in his book the Kingdom of the Cults). After his exposition of White, Maletin moves on to other areas of Christianity where his scholarship suffers. He asks, for instance, why God doesn’t heal visible diseases like Multiple Sclerosis or heal amputees when He has been healing invisible diseases like cancer for years. Maletin provides no evidence that God does heal cancer other than mentioning that during prayer vigils in his church it sometimes appeared God answered those prayers. Neither does he provide any reasons for believing that God is necessarily bound to answer every prayer request for healing. God didn’t heal my brother’s cancer and I don’t disbelieve any less in Him for that reason.
He also questions why people bother evangelizing when there is some basis for salvation being offered to those who don’t hear the Gospel. Offering the Gospel to those who might reject it would be counterproductive if they could be saved without hearing the Gospel and might reject it if they hear the whole story. A quick google search will yield a lot of material on this topic, but I suggest an article on christianthinktank that seems to cover the topic well. A snippet from the concluding section claims:
God's judgment is completely fair and His kindness is communicated (and operative) to all. God reveals Himself to humanity through several non-linguistic forms (nature, anthropology, morality, patterns, emotions), and even linguistic data (in the form of tradition) has been preserved for all the descendants of the original pair of humans.
God deals with people according to the information they have--with specific focus on how they welcome or resist that truth. God's moral judgment is based on actual deeds and actual motives--a very fair standard for everyone.
With those that respond to God's revelation in nature and extra-biblical tradition, seeking grace and His activity on their behalf, God initiates a relationship with them, that typically eventuates in additional disclosures of God's special, special love--His Son.
Maletin also suggests there is no evidence that the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians or wandered in the desert afterward. However, a recent video shows Maletin may be wrong on this.
This is part one of my critique of Maletin. He delves into other issues such as Biblical contradictions, and I’ll cover them in a later issue of my blog.