Top 3 Reasons NOT to Believe in God - May 10, 1994
I thought it would be fun for me, an open theist, to brainstorm a list of "why Not to believe in God." I put together my list from talks that I have had with atheists and agnostics over the past months. So here's what I've got (drum roll please):
Reason #1 not to believe in God: "I went to a Christian or Catholic high school and had God shoved down my face." This is a very common reason not to believe in God. However, picture this with me, if you would: my mom cooks a thanksgiving dinner, and she spends hours and hours on her stuffed peppers. You can not fathom the intensity of how proud a 53 year-old women gets about her stuffed peppers."Have some stuffed peppers," she'll say. She'll say it ALL night. She'll constantly be bugging you to eat her peppers, even when you've tried them, even when you've finished your meal, even as you're leaving. "Enough with the stuffed peppers!" you'll say, not wanting to hear it anymore. See where I'm going? It's unfortunate that many students who go to some sort of Christian school leave frustrated with the experience. Your school may have shoved it in your face, but please look past that. They're just like my mom; they're proud of their stuffed peppers.
Reason #2 not to believe in God: "I know a guy on my floor who calls himself a Christian and he's just as messed up as everyone else." This is a great observation, and a very common one. A very basic concept of Christianity is that humans are messed up. Think about it. If we were perfect, we wouldn't need God - we'd Be God. I'll be the first to admit that I am imperfect! I need God! Don't we all? Here's the good news - here's the great news: The bible says, "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). The actual Greek word used for 'sinners' was 'hamartolos,' meaning, one who misses the mark. It means simply, that we're not perfect. That's basic Christianity. So when you see a Christian who is 'messed up,' don't then reason that God doesn't exist. That seems silly. Instead be glad that our savior does not miss the mark. I would hate to have a God who wanted perfection from me. I could never be perfect. I'm flawed; aren't you? If you are, then know that the only begotten Son of God is not flawed, and He will live inside of you, console you, and later save you, if you ask Him to be with you. Your choice. I'm excited about the choice I have made.
Reason #3 not to believe in God: "I have gone to church, and I don't like it. It's boring." Again, that's a very common concern with people I have talked with. Please bear with me for just a little bit. I want to tell you the story about a little boy who went to the circus. Can't you tell this will be a great story already? So the little boy ran immediately to the lion tamer, but he found it boring. Plenty of others thought the lion tamer was great, but this boy didn't. He ran out of the circus, convinced the whole thing was stupid. Can you see how irrational that was? Of course not everyone is going to connect with every event, but maybe the boy would have liked the clowns or the trapeze artists. If you go to a Lutheran church, or a Methodist, or a Roman Catholic and you find it boring, don't think Christianity is dumb. Instead, try a different church. Not every person is going to connect with every church. I myself have gone to plenty of churches I thought were boring, but I would be silly to infer from that evidence that God does not exist, or that Christianity is dumb.
By the way, finals are just about here and time is tough. I know I have a difficult load. Here's how I'm comforted. Jesus said, "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Need some rest? Tired of being weary and burdened? Go to Him and ask. One more thing to think about: Writer and Professor C.S. Lewis wrote, "there was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you found them. Become that child again: even now." I'm glad with the answer I have found. I'm glad I know God: even now.