The God You Don't Believe In — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

The God You Don’t Believe In — Morning Devotions

Due to a real or perceived bad experience, many people don’t care about God. In the end, it is a matter of personal choice. What is yours?

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.

By Chris WittsTuesday 13 Apr 2021Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 5 minutes

I am a retired minister of religion. And one of the fascinating things I find is seeing the reaction on people’s faces when they ask, What did you do for a living before you retired? And I tell them.

There is often stunned silence—a kind of uneasy feeling—while they change the subject. It’s happened to me more than once. It seems many people don’t know what to say in meeting a minister. I haven’t got two heads. I am quite a normal person who is grateful to God for the opportunities my working life gave me. I can’t help the awkwardness others feel when they are told what I did for a long time, prior to my retirement.

I guess they embarrassed—not sure why. One of the reactions we ministers tend to get from strangers when they learn what we do for a living is for the stranger to tell us that they don’t believe in God. That religion is dangerous—it obviously leads to hate, bigotry, superstition and violence. Or worse. Again I have heard similar reactions—and that’s a shame.

What may have led people to unbelief

I know of one minister colleague who responded by, “OK, tell me about the God you don’t believe in”. And I thought that was a terrific answer. Because I know many people don’t believe in God. They think it’s a fairy story. Or they may have had an unhappy experience of the church or with people inside the church. I’ve heard it said, You people are all hypocrites. You preach at others on Sunday and live sinful lives during the week.

In other words, they had a negative experience of the Christian faith. Through their family, through a church, or simply through media sources reporting on things Christians were saying or doing. They have a cynical attitude about the church, clergy, and the people who attend. Their experience of Christians was judgment, control, condemnation, and a sense of superiority over others—or they may have attended church themselves until something bad happened, and they left. So, as a result, they don’t care about God, and ignore the topic altogether.

As a result, they don’t care about God, and ignore the topic altogether.

Why don’t people believe in God? It probably has a lot to do with their upbringing, and what happened in their family. If you grew up with parents who didn’t believe, it can be difficult to break out of the mindset that became ingrained early in life. That’s not to say it’s impossible to break out of the mould. Situations can change, and often do.

Many teenagers find they are asking questions about Christianity, and give their lives to God. Others let go of their faith despite going to Sunday School and decide it’s not worthwhile anymore going to church or following the Bible’s teaching—they have ignored the past. And then there are what is called the ‘intellectual challenges’. For example here are three questions that cause some people a lot of trouble:

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  • If God is loving, why is there so much evil in the world?
  • If God created the world in six days, what about evolution and dinosaurs?
  • Why would a good God send people to hell?

A lack of faith in God often traces back to emotional challenges more so than intellectual reasons. Why do people lose their faith? Some turn because God didn’t answer an important prayer or rescued them from the consequences of a bad decision. They may have been hurt by a church or turned off by hypocritical Christians. One study found that many of the most well-known atheists grew up without a father. It can be challenging to believe in a good and loving heavenly Father when you’ve had unpleasant experiences or maybe the absence of a father.

The best argument for the Christian view

The French philosopher Pascal said that inside the heart of every man there is a ‘God-shaped vacuum’. And Augustine said, “Lord, you have made us for yourself. Our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has put “eternity in the hearts of men,” meaning that the longing for ultimate answers comes from God himself. God put that longing—the ‘God-shaped vacuum’—inside the human heart to cause men to look to him.

But the most important thing I can say to you is this: God has revealed himself to us in Jesus.

When all is said and done, I believe the best argument for the Christian view of God is found in the person of Jesus Christ. God has revealed himself to us in the Person of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Father sent the Son to the earth in the form of a little baby, conceived through a miracle of the Holy Spirit, born in Bethlehem, born to Mary and Joseph, born in an out-of-the-way corner of the Roman Empire, raised in a carpenter’s home, misunderstood by his own family, rejected by his own people, convicted by the religious leaders, put to death for blasphemy (!), and on the third day God’s Son rose from the dead.

Now we know what God is like. Jesus has made him known to us.

Now we know what God is like. Jesus has made him known to us.

In one of his books, Christian author Tony Campolo tells how he shares the gospel with secular-minded university students who ask him why he believes the Bible. “Because I decided to,” he replies. Then he asks the student, “Why is it that you don’t believe the Bible?” The answer is almost always the same: “I guess because I decided not to.”

After all the arguments on both sides are finished, you still have to decide for yourself. You still have to choose. What choice have you made?

I believe in God because nothing in the universe makes sense without him. God exists—he is real and Jesus Christ is his Son. He knows you and he loves you and he gave his only begotten Son that you might be saved. I believe in God! What about you?