It seems almost humorous sometimes. Other times, it’s mind-boggling. And still other times, one just isn’t quite sure what to think. For centuries, millennia even, the debate has raged on. Does God exist or not?
In some ways, there are times it reminds me of political campaigns. We saw in the last campaign, prominent Democrats pledging their support to the Republican candidate and vice versa. I see the same thing with Theists vs. Atheists. Some atheists become theists and vice versa.
So, there are pretty much four different “categories” that I’d like to cover in the “Christian vs. Atheist” area:
- Christians who remain Christians
- Atheists who remain atheists
- Christians who become atheists
- Atheists who become Christians
If I may, I’d like to take these four categories one at a time. I realize there could be other categories such as “Atheist who become Muslims” or “Christians who become Hindu” or whatever. Being a Christian blog, however, that’s where I’m going to focus. Also, one could substitute “Agnostic” instead of “Atheist.”
Let’s take the first one: “Christians who remain Christians.” We could, I supposed, sub-categorize this but I will try not to push it too far.
There are Christians who are born into a Christian family, raised in Christian traditions, taught Christian beliefs and accept the things that they have been taught. Perhaps they even built on the things that they were taught and further strengthened their faith. They may have even asked some hard questions and really challenged themselves, or perhaps they were challenged by others.
Often, when those types of things happen, these people’s faith is tested. In some cases, their faith is deepened and strengthened. They end up learning a great deal more about not only what they believe, but why they believe what they believe.
At the risk of getting too sub-divided, there are a couple different groups of Christians who remain Christians. First, there are the Christians who are simply never tested. They believe what they’ve been told. They accept it as truth and they try to live by the “code” of “Christian ethics” and profess faith in Jesus Christ as their savior. Certainly nothing inherently wrong with this. After all, they start of Christian and stay Christian. From a Christian perspective, this seems to be a pretty good thing.
Others are perhaps tested, but perhaps the fire doesn’t get all that hot. Maybe they’re asked a few questions and they have to come up with an answer, but the questions really aren’t all that deep or difficult. They might get some superficial questions about why certain traditions are kept or why they believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Perhaps they can satisfy the “skeptic” with some pretty simple answers, but they don’t get much of a fight. Again, nothing necessarily wrong with this either.
Then there are those who get asked or who ask some tough questions. And the answers had better be good. None of this, “Jesus loves me. This I know because the Bible tells me so” stuff. These are people who are tested to dig in and do some research…What basis do we have to believe the historicity of Jesus? How do we know that the Bible hasn’t been altered, tampered with or subject to legendary exaggeration? How can you be so sure that God exists?
There are far tougher questions than this, too. And, hopefully, when asked these questions the Christian doesn’t attempt to just try to “fudge” the answers and leave out key facts in order to build a case to support the conclusions they’ve already drawn. For a great post on this, see this post on Parchment & Pen.
When Christians truly keep focused on finding the truth based on the evidence, we see quite a number of them who become ever more convinced that God is real, that Jesus did die for our sins and rose from the dead, and that Bible is the inspired Word of God. Also, there are some who, after doing their research, fall away from the faith. But we’ll get to that when we talk about #3.
Come back again and we’ll continue and cover #2. Atheists who remain atheists.
Grace, love and peace.