Faith

One of the books I have been reading this past year is "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist."

Because I can't break the habit of spontaneously starting a new book before I finish the one, two or three I'm already reading, it takes me months to finish some of them. This is one that I can easily pick up where I left off -- no matter what I'm reading in between or how much time has passed -- but once I pick it back up, I have a hard time putting it down again.

I did not buy this book because I needed to be convinced of God or Christianity. I'm a strong believer and I have always believed faith is necessary for belief. I'm not one who needs for my faith to be proven beyond all doubt. I have always believed it takes more faith to disbelieve than to believe. I have always seen evidence all around me of the existence of God. And not only do I see evidence in nature on a daily basis, but I see the evidence in the details of my own personal life.

I don't believe in luck. I believe everything good that has come to me has been a gift from Almighty God. And I believe that everything painful and difficult has had a purpose and is for my ultimate good (even if I can't comprehend it in the moment). I am absolutely convinced that God is working all things for my good. The only faith issue I have seriously struggled with over the course of my life is whether or not I am really going to heaven when I die. Because, if it depends on my merit, I know I won't be good enough. And I was taught that I had to reach perfection ... just like Jesus did. So most of my life I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it.

With or without the hope of heaven, I always wanted to live my life as a Christian. I cannot explain this other than my faith being a gift from God and evidence of His mercy. It doesn't make any sense to me that I would want to serve God in spite of not really believing I would make it to heaven. But I did. I never wanted any other lifestyle.

I am not a simple minded person. I think -- being perfectly honest -- that I'm fairly intelligent and a deep thinker. But I have never been on a quest for some kind of proof that God exists. It's something I know in my heart. And you cannot convince me otherwise.

So, why did I want to read this book? I wanted to read it because, even though my faith is not shaken by unbelievers or atheists who pose questions I don't have instant answers for, I wanted to know what some of those answers were. I know there is evidence I have never sought. And I was curious.

I didn't get the book so I could equip myself to debate an atheist. I don't have much interest in debating people. And I don't know if this is good or bad, but if I am to be honest, I don't have an interest in trying to convince someone that God exists or that Jesus is His Son. I think a lot of times a person's unbelief is an act of their will. I think they choose not to believe because they don't want to believe. And that is their choice. I can't stop someone from rebelling against God with a good argument. I believe faith involves divine intervention on the part of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps a person's eyes have not yet been opened and one day they will. I have to trust God for that. I don't want to impose my beliefs on others. I just want to be a witness and be ready to share my faith with those whose hearts are open and seeking. I want to be able to explain my faith to others who want to know and understand. But I have no desire to thump anyone over the head with a Bible and prove anything to them. I don't think debate is a lot of fun. It makes me anxious because I don't like confrontation.

I'm not afraid of it. I won't avoid it at any cost. But I don't enjoy it.

I'm about 60% through the book and I'm amazed at how much logical evidence and substantiated history is presented in this one book alone. Again and again, the authors assert that it takes more faith to disbelieve than to believe. And I completely agree with them.

All my life, I have been unsure of whether or not I would go to heaven. I talked about this in my book. I have had moments of certainty (that I would) in the last several years. But I've also had moments of doubt even since leaving my religious upbringing. I have often wondered, if as Christians we believe we will be in heaven the moment we die, why are any of us afraid to die? It seems like we would welcome death if we were absolutely sure we would close our eyes only to open them in the presence of God. But I don't want to die and the thought of it is still kind of scary to me, even though I believe I'm saved. That seems inconsistent to me -- even in myself. And I wrestle with that frequently.

Last night I was reading about the historical evidence for Jesus and His resurrection. And I was amazed at how little faith it takes to believe if we are simply made aware of the historical evidence and the strength of the evidence (from many angles). Of course, I am speaking as someone who is not resistant to belief. Maybe an atheist or agnostic could read the same book and be completely unconvinced. But I can't imagine that.

As I read about Jesus, I felt such assurance in my heart and mind of the eternal life that awaits me. The eternal life I have doubted so many times, in spite of never doubting that God exists and that He loves me.

I'm not sharing about the book for anyone who is bent on disbelieving. I wanted to share how much I am getting out of this book -- as someone who already believes -- because I'm assuming there may be others like myself who could benefit from reading such a work.

I have grown to love reading Christian apologetics. And Norman Geisler has become a real favorite of mine. Two other books of his that I have gained tremendous insight from are "The Apologetics of Jesus" and "Conviction Without Compromise."

Comments

Anonymous said…
Here's a good debate between one of the co-authors of this book and Christopher Hitchens. You said you don't like to debate, but you might enjoy watching watching the author debating his subject matter. If not maybe some of your readers would.

http://vimeo.com/6148456

Enjoy! :)
Anonymous said…
oops forgot to sign, although i'm sure you knew it was me :)

Matthew C
Shari said…
You're so funny, Matthew. I wondered if you would comment on this one. And when I saw that someone had posted a video of Hitchens, I thought, "That has to be Matthew." LOL.
Anonymous said…
hehe, I actually agree with some of Frank Turek's arguments, the ones that deal with the logic of a first cause, and think he is a great debater. This was one of the first debates of Christopher Hitchens that i watched as well.

matthew
Shari said…
I am listening to the debate right now, but won't have time to finish the whole thing. I'll let you know what I think. I love the book. I am especially loving the part that addresses the strength of the historical evidence for the New Testament's accuracy.

Popular Posts