It seems the Atheists are out on an attacking spree on Christianity and the Bible. Whether this was sparked by attacks on them, I do not know. I've had some insightful discussions with some of them in the comments sections, which seems to have been deleted. Reasons unknown.
Initially I was going to write an article addressed to Atheists. But then I realized, I'm not worried about them. I shouldn't be. If I believe in the Bible, and I do, I know that it is the Holy Spirit that declares truth and convinces and prepares a man's heart to accept to Word of God (John 16:9-15).
Yes, my Atheist friends, I am quoting from the Bible, which I realize is a major point of contention for you. Please forgive my doing so, but this article is not aimed at you, but at my brothers and sisters in Christ. This article is my plea for them to be watchful and stand strong in the faith (1 Cor 16:13), keep their eyes on Christ (Heb 12:2), and to put on Christ daily (Rom 13:14). It is to remind them that it is not our job to convince Atheists, or anyone else for that matter, of the truth of our God or His Word. The Bible does not refer to the "Mystery of Christ" for no reason. According to the shorter catechism of Westminster, our chief end is to glorify God(Psa 86:9,Isa 60:21, Rom 11:36, 1 Cor 6:20, 10:31, Rev 4:11) and enjoy Him forever (Psa 86:9, Isa 60:21, Rom 11:36, 1 Cor 6:20, 10:31, Rev 4:11). We are further called to be witnesses and be fishers of men (Mat 4:19). God does not expect us to force people, he does not expect us to threaten people, he does not expect us to speak out judgment over people. He expects us to treat people with love (Joh 15:12), treat them as we expect to be treated (Luk 6:31, Mat 7:12). We cannot say we love God, but hate our brother, because that makes us liars (1 Joh 4:20-21). We are not to rejoice when our enemy falls or when he stumbles (Pro 24:17). We are to put on, as God's chosen ones, as holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, as God has forgiven us, and above all, put on love (Col 3:12-14).
Yes, I am saying this as a rebuke to my fellow Christians. This is a direct response to all those hateful, threatening, condescending comments that I've read from people who call themselves Christians. Why can I do this? Because all scripture is breathed by God and given for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). Because I am charged, as a fellow Christian, in the presence of God and Christ to preach the word, reprove, rebuke and exhort with patience and teaching (2 Tim 4:1-2). I do believe those charges were made for us as Christians to teach non-believers, when they are willing to be taught. I do believe however that we are to hold each other accountable to the teachings of the Bible a million times more than we are to hold it against non-believers.
If you believe in Christ and His crucifixion as it is told in the Bible, you can surely agree that He was not tortured, He did not drag His cross all the way to Calvary, He did not get nailed to it, He did not die a horrible and painful death, while speaking such hateful, condescending, condemning words to the very people that did all those things to Him. No, He endured His suffering and death with love, and at the end pleaded with His Father for their forgiveness (Luk 23:34).
I hope that we will all turn back to the Book that the Atheist mock, and focus once more on our fruits, instead of the absence of theirs.
That said, I have to thank my Atheist friends. They implored me to never stop questioning. I did so, for the sake of my own reassurance of my salvation and relevance of my faith in Christ and God.
Question 1: Why do I not NOT believe, like Atheists do?
Answer : From how I understand it, they do not refute the existence of any gods, but they refuse to acknowledge or accept the existence of any gods in the absence of proof of such existence. To me that is senseless and foolish. Once, long ago, the existence of air could not be proven. In Atheistic fashion, if I had lived in that time, I would then have to refuse to accept the existence of air in the absence of proof thereof. Only once air was proven to exist, could I then acknowledge or consider its existence. Yet, I would be breathing it. It would be keeping me alive, whether I believe in its existence or not. It would EXIST, no matter what I or anyone else believe of it, its existence, or its relevance. I, my belief in it, my belief of its existence, the presence or lack of proof of it and its existence, does NOT have ANY relevance on its ACTUAL and FACTUAL existence. Denying its existence until it is proven would then seem kind of silly. There are, to this day, and based on history, many things that do in fact exist, and exist within the absence of proof thereof, that scientists just still have to discover. Some of those things might never be discovered. Yet, this, in itself does not make those things not exist. If God exists, as I believe He does, and I refused to acknowledged or believe in Him until He proves Himself to me, that would be too risky and foolish for me. MY opinion. MY choice. I will be the first one to acknowledge that, yes, out of a pure factual and logical viewpoint, choosing to believe in ANY religion is a "risky" and unexplainable thing. But then again, choosing then to believe in NOTHING seems equally risky. There is much proof that, for example, the Bible came where it says it comes from, and that validate many things the Bible claims, but I also know there are many sources that claim the opposite. I was not there, I am not a scientist, I do not have the means to go out and verify all or even any of the claims of either side. So whether Christian, or Atheist, or Jehovah’s Witness, or Muslim, I, as well as many people out there, am merely accepting what other people tells me. What we read on the internet. What we read in books. Until we can all go out and by means of scientific discovery prove ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, very little of us really have factual PROOF of ANYTHING, but instead only have other people's words.
Question 2: Why do I believe then?
Answer: There are many answers to this. I grew up in a Christian home, but Christianity basically went as far as going to Church every Sunday, going to Sunday School, but that's it. So, Question 2.1: Was Christianity something that was forced down my throat? Answer: NO. I also, although wearing the "badge" of "Christianity", was never a true Christian for a long time. I knew about the Bible, I knew that a lot of people said God really exist, but I never had any reason or factual proof to convince me that He does. Until one day, things happened in my life, and my life started changing. I prayed to God, and He answered me. I gave my life to Him. Then, my life started changing. I did not spend much time in the Bible then, so Question 2.2. Did I change JUST because of the Bible's influence on me, a book that COULD be false? Answer: NO! God started changing me without much or any effort on my part. Change occurred, and it was not me that did it. Many things happened in my life that I cannot explain logically, and the sum of all those changes, the totality of all those occurrences, is what convicted me finally of the true existence of my God. Because of the things that I have seen happen, and also experienced, I now KNOW God exists, and believe in Him as much as I believe in the air I breathe.
Question 3: Why do I believe in the Christian God, and not Allah, or the Jehovah’s Witness God, etc?
Answer: The answer to question 2 also partly answers this. Christianity is the one religion where my salvation is based not on anything that I need to do to EARN it. God gives it to me. I realized my own hopelessness. How deep I am in my own sin and pleasure. I've done things in my life that I am not proud of. I've been enslaved to things that I did not like. I tried many, many, many times to change these things before turning to Christ, and NEVER got it right. Ever. When I turned to Christ, these things started to change, and many of them without much or any conscious effort of my own. And that, I feel, is the answer to this question. Firstly, I cannot do it myself. I've proven that to myself in my 30 odd years of existence. Secondly, God can do it. He's proven that to me in the little over a year that I've been a Christian.
Now, how I can expect this to make sense to anyone who has not experienced things like this for themselves? I can't. If you try and convince someone of the existence of love if he has never experienced love, how can you expect him to believe it exists? You can merely tell him of YOUR experience with it, right? If someone tells you that Thor is the only true god, would you believe him? No. Because you've NEVER experienced or gotten anything from Thor, have you?
We can only be ambassadors of Christ, and pray that they do experience His love. Until then, expect them to not understand, and bear with them in love. But do not let their arguments shake your belief. The existence of anything does not rely on the existence of proof thereof.
PS. This is not aimed at my Atheist friends. It is to strengthen and encourage my fellow Christians. It is not meant to upset any Atheists, and you are free to believe whatever you wish until you are convinced otherwise. In the spirit of peace and respect, I will not respond to any condescending comments or attacks, and I implore my fellow Christians to also not do this. Remember Col 3:12-14.
Yours in Christ.