With the prevalence of social media, it is easy to find people very vocally proclaiming why they do not believe in God. Oftentimes, it is because of how other people have presented God or done things in God's name, usually connected to hate, violence, and vengeful wrath. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield shares many examples of this from the LGBT community in The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. These individuals say they could never believe in a God like that. In The God-Shaped Brain, Tim Jennings shares an anecdote of a patient saying that, to which he responds, "Good for you. I wouldn't believe in that God, either."
The traditional Christian response is to assume that these individuals are truly atheists or agnostics and do not love and appreciate the Living God. But I've been wondering if that's necessarily true. In these types of situations where the only explicit exposure someone has had to the construct of the Divine is this negativistic view of God and this construct is rejected, are these people necessarily rejecting the true God? Or are they simply rejecting a false, man-made God? Is it possible that they, in fact, recognize, appreciate, love, and even worship the Living God who transforms people's lives but just don't recognize him by name because of what they've been taught?
When labels and categories can be so destructive because of stereotypes and misrepresentation, is the label someone gives God necessarily important if they recognize him and relate to him anyway?