I talked to a friend of mine recently who’s an atheist. He doesn’t believe that God exists. Every couple of months we have a discussion about the new “theories” of science or what atheist leaders are saying about creation and the lack of a loving God in our decrepit world.
Thankfully, we respect each other and the discussion never gets contentious. Recently he said we can “gently agree to disagree”. I’ve never heard him use the word “gently” so I said he must be getting soft in his old age. I had to get a friendly jab in somehow.
Our newest discussion began with an atheist leader who says that afterlife is a “fairy story”. He contends that we should “do good” while we’re here on earth because nothing comes afterwards. It’s worth noting that this leader is close to death’s door.
My response was this: One of us (this leader or me) is wrong.
So what if he’s the one who’s wrong? What if God does exist and there are two options–believe and spend eternity with Him, or not believe and spend eternity in hell. There’s much more to it than that, obviously, but God is in the business of redeeming broken lives and giving people the opportunity to be in relationship with Him now and forever. That’s a really long time. And the consequences are huge.
And if there’s no God and no eternity, what’s the point of “doing good” on this earth? No one will remember us or what we did in 100 years. We’ll be nothing but a distant memory, if that. Or is this man now saying we should “do good” because we have an intrinsic desire to “be good”–something inside us that makes us want to pursue truth and goodness? Maybe in his final years he’s seeing a glimpse of God inside himself. We’re made in God’s image, after all.
But what if I’m wrong? First, I know the work the Lord has done in me and in my life to transform me into a completely different person. I know the miracles He has done for me; I don’t just read about miracles in the Bible. I know His presence each day and His power in the lives of other people. I’m living proof that God does exist and that Jesus gave His life so that I could be in relationship with Him–face to face, one on one. And if it’s all a “fairy tale”–simple answer, it’s not. I know with certainty. There is no qualifying “what if”. I may stumble, I may not have all the answers to life’s questions, but I know one thing for sure–my Savior is alive and He lives through me. Until He comes back to take me home, I hope my life will show others that they’re never too far from the love of Christ to find new life.
I ended my “response” with this: It was interesting when Ben Stein interviewed this leader and asked him what he would do if he died and then was brought before God to be held accountable for his life. And he said, “I would ask Him why He didn’t show me He existed.” It sounds like he’s thought about the possibility that he is wrong. And the truth is that God has shown him that He exists–but his stubbornness (and maybe pride) keeps him from acknowledging it. As James Bernard Shaw once said, “Death is the ultimate statistic. One out of one will die.” Based on how this man looks, that statistic will come true for him pretty soon. I pray he’ll rethink the “what if”.
I pray that our family and friends will rethink the “what if”. I pray that we will rethink the “what if.”
“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” Mark 9:24
May I pray?
Jesus, there are so many uncertainties in life. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp the idea of life with You in heaven for eternity. Sometimes we struggle with both sides of “what if”, especially when we’re challenged to prove to others why we believe in You. Today I pray that You would strengthen our faith. I pray that You would again show Your power to love, comfort and save us in every situation. Not because You have to prove Yourself, but because You love us more than we can ever imagine, and You want us to know You like never before. Help us overcome our unbelief. And may we boldly praise You today. Amen.
Q4U: What is one way that God has shown you that He exists, even if it’s not something that can be supported by scientific proof?