Many great works of literature such as Crime and Punishment, Macbeth and the Tell-Tale Heart explore the truth that no amount of rationalization will drive away guilt. This works on big and small sins. And as Romans 1 points out, rejecting God is a big sin.
All people sin, and they know it. This leads to guilt, which leads to fear of being punished. Sin ==> Guilt ==> Fear.
There are three main options people choose to deal with this fear:
- Outward denial of God’s existence, ranging from ignoring him to “in your face, God!” words and actions. Because if there is no God, then there is no eternal judgment.
- Make up your own religion
- Pick the rules that are least tempting to you. Convince yourself that these are the ones that really count and that you are a good person for obeying these rules most of the time.
- This will ultimately fail because deep down you know it is your own creation.
- Accept what Jesus did on your behalf and have forgiveness of your sins and reconciliation with God.
P.S. Here are two things that didn’t happen when I became a Christian:
- No one said, “I told you so!”
- Humbling myself to admit I was a sinner and not in charge of everything wasn’t as bad as I feared. In fact, I knew it deep down all along, so it was refreshing to be honest about it for once.