By Joe McKeever
“In the beginning, God….” (Genesis 1:1)
Nowhere does the Bible try to prove the existence of God. He is. Period.
Deal with it, earthlings.
Humanistic evangelists and atheistic peddlers are sure that we mindless theists have never considered the superior evidence for the positions they hold. Surely, if we did, they think, we would renounce the church and join them.
Once again, believers are lumped together by those who “just don’t get it” as the terminally naive, the hopelessly hopeful, the unthinking uneducated and the irrationally illiterate.
Most of the solid believers I know have considered atheism at one time or other. I did, while in college. This is not to say I joined the humanist society of Birmingham or majored in skepticism at Birmingham-Southern. But I read some of the stuff, talked to a few of the people, thought about the ramifications of it all, and made my choice to take my stand with believers.
I’ve never regretted it.
1) As a rule, atheists tend to be a pretty miserable lot, while the best Christians I know are also the most put-together, positive, and effective people in the room.
I heard someone say once, “The devil has no godly old people.” Indeed. We could add that the Lord also seems to have all the best-mannered, generous-hearted, goal-oriented achievers. If you look at the product of atheism and Christianity, there is no contest.
2) Since faith is required for either position, choosing to believe this amazing universe came together by chance and will go out the same way requires far more faith than this Alabama farm boy can muster. As has been said in the book by this title, “I don’t have faith enough to be an atheist.”
3) While it’s true a large portion of Christians have probably not investigated various apologetic aspects–evidence for the resurrection, the historicity of Jesus, the integrity of Scriptures– a great many have. I sat in the room with Dr. Carl F. H. Henry in the summer of 1978 as he said to some of us, “Christianity is the only world religion that has come through the scientific revolution and emerged intact.” Some of the others are fighting tooth and claw to keep modern technology from taking a look at their authoritative writings.
4) I do like the old line of reasoning that goes: “If the atheist is true and after death, we all disappear into nothingness, then as a Christian I have lost nothing. But if Jesus Christ is true and after death life just begins to get interesting, then the atheist is in a lot of trouble.” What about that can they not see?
5) If we know people by their fruits, then philosophies should identify themselves the same way. So, does anyone know any charitable ministry ever started by the atheists? Show me one and I can show you a hundred hospitals and colleges, children’s homes and crisis centers begun by Christ-followers.
6) There are the miracles, such as the existence of Holy Scriptures (the uniformity of them, the prophecies, the clarity, and a thousand other aspects), the existence of the Man of Galilee (His birth, life, death, and resurrection; His teachings and promises, etc), the existence of the Church (so flawed, without its divine nature, surely it would have vanished long ago), and the existence of honest inquiry among believers (a sure sign, if you ask me, that God’s people are into Truth and nothing else).
7) My testimony–and yours–on the power of Jesus Christ who changed our lives. And, as C. S. Lewis pointed out, if a skeptic scoffs that my life is so far inferior to what a true Christian should look like, I do not argue with that, but reply that my life is still so far beyond what it would have been without Christ.
The fact is we need God.
We need Him for the simple reason that, as the prophet said, “it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.”
I need God to make me more than I would ever be otherwise. I need growth.
I need God to save me from my natural self-centeredness. I need love..
I need God to take care of friends and loved ones with real needs who are outside my ability to help. I need prayer.
I need God to guide me in decisions since I do not know what tomorrow holds and thus what to do with today’s opportunities. I need wisdom.
All by myself, I make a pretty small (and miserable) package.
Thank God, I am not alone here on this small planet. The living God has singled this one out and has dwelled among us and made it possible for us to live on a higher plane here and with HIm in Heaven forever.
I need God to get me to Heaven.
And because I need God, He sent Jesus.
I could not be an atheist on my worst day. God has done far too much for me to be so ungrateful.
Joe McKeever is retired missions director for the New Orleans Baptist Association. Before that Mr. McKeever pastored churches in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and North Carolina.