There exists an intriguing paradox often presented by non-believers (and even actively faith-hostile individuals): "We don't believe in your God, but tell us that He will save us anyway."
But what does "save" mean? For a Christian, being saved entails becoming a member of an infinitely happy family, with God as its head. Yes, there will be a peaceful sea and luscious fruits in the life of the coming age, but that alone doesn't constitute paradise. Paradise is the presence of God and new relationships with one another and all creation, born out of His presence.
The question, "Will I be saved?" translates to "Will I enter this family, of which God is the head? Will I spend eternity where He and His saints are?" The desire behind saying, "Tell us that He will save us anyway," is to hear that we will still be brought into communion with God and His people. And the question is not about whether this is possible—if you want, it is. The real question is, do you want it?
If you do, then come; the door of His house is open. If you don't, then how can you receive it against your will? A Christian desires to be with Christ and His saints. But if you don't want to, why take offense at not finding yourself in the company of those you don't love and whose company you find unpleasant? Forcing you into paradise is no better than forcing you to attend a Liturgy. You might have been deeply offended by such "liturgical violence" against your free will. In paradise, God's presence fills it "as waters cover the sea."
When unbelievers demand, "Tell us that we will be saved anyway," it's akin to a fervent man-hater demanding, "Tell me I'll still get married," or someone who can't stand the sea demanding, "Tell me that eventually, I'll end up living by the ocean."
How to understand this paradox? Human nature, in general, is paradoxical, and often we simply cannot articulate what we truly want. An alcoholic may desperately want to drink and, at the same time, deep down acknowledge the ruin it brings, yearning for sobriety. A person may want things "quick and commitment-free," as advertised in one commercial, but in their heart, long for genuine, deep, and trusting relationships. They may wish for a life with "neither God nor master," free from the condemnation of sin and the demand to keep commandments, yet secretly yearn for the Father's House and vaguely hope to find their way there someday.
If, deep down, you desire salvation—just admit it to yourself. We are all created for paradise, as Blessed Augustine says, "You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You." If you desire salvation, simply accept it. The gift of forgiveness and new life awaits anyone who is willing to receive it—me, you, and anyone who comes.
Original article: https://radiovera.ru/paradoks-neveriya