Completing the series... on Shelley's questions on the necessity of atheism...
Q12: If the knowledge of God is most necessary, why is it not the most evident and clearest?
Knowledge of God is indeed most necessary and most precious. Is God mysterious?
No. God has spoken at many times and in many ways to make himself known. And he has spoken definitively through the man at the centre of human history, Jesus. His words are recorded on all the pages of the Bible.
Who God is is plain for any who would investigate. The Bible is comprehensible. A child could understand it's narrative and its concepts.
It is simply not the case that God has left us a lack of evidence. We simply find his words distastful. Polly Toynbee and Richard Dawkins have both spoken out on this in the media in recent months. Notable atheists at confession. They have grasped the basic content of the Christian gospel. They see that the crucifixion of Jesus is central. However they look at it and call it "repugnant" and "barking mad". They are offended by such a message from God. As are countless others throughout time.
Do not be fooled into thinking the gospel is unavailable or inaccessible, neither vague nor mysterious.
The problem is not in God's revelation but rather in the human heart. A heart that looks at the grace of God and refuses it. It is human pride that blinds Toynbee to the truth. It is the sheer simplicity that so befuddles Dawkins.
The Christian gospel is good news and bad news for us. It is our only hope of rescue, and simultaneously the defeat of our self-assertion and proudness of heart.
Shelley was evidently incensed by the gospel. Venomous and determined to refute it. He was not unaware of it. Like so many others he was offended. The Cross is not a message we wanted to hear. It did not fit the mould of a god he wanted to believe.
Perhaps he never really saw the true gospel. Perhaps he never saw it truly lived out in the Christian community. His questions were good and honest. My answers are too late for him, hopefully not for others.