In my previous post I argued that secular Western culture often makes belief in God problematic. For those who go with the secular cultural flow, instead of continually challenging and fighting it, God can seem less than real, less plausible. This has nothing to do with reason or logic or evidence, but with only what seems real. As I argued, for many people God seems no more real than Santa Clause. Whether he is or not isn’t the point, only the seeming of him.
This is a huge problem for the 21st century church, but invisible as a topic of concern. Most Christians are taught what they believe at church, but rarely why they believe it. Without the why, however, the what has much less staying power in the current secular cultural context. I have a very simple solution to this secular plausibility challenge. It’s called explanatory power.
In case you’ve never come across the phrase, it simply means what best explains what ought to need explaining. The reason for the awkward form is that atheists are fond of telling us that what is needs no explaining at all! They are adamant that existence, all of it, life, death, beauty, goodness, truth, lies, suffering, sex, bugs, trees, moon, sun, and stars just are; they need no explaining at all. Philosophically the atheist turns all these wondrous things into “brute facts.” If you ask what any of it means in any ultimate sense, you’re told in so many words to shut up.
But Christians ought to never let atheists or secularists (i.e., those who just don’t care if God is there or not) get away with this. Life needs explaining! Death needs explaining! And so does everything else!
So to my title, “When In Doubt . . . ” Every human being doubts. Whatever they believe, God or no God, turn left or turn right, get married or not, buy that car or not, and I could go on. You get the idea. We all live by faith because we are finite creatures with limited knowledge. Here’s what I do when the common occurrence of doubt dogs my steps: I open my eyes.
There will be times when I’m praying and I wonder if I’m just speaking to the air. Or I’m in church and I look around seeing people singing and worshiping God, and wonder if they’re worshiping the air. Is it all just air? Then I come to my senses. Hmmm, I think, what are the options if God is in fact an illusion? Let’s see. There is basically one option. Everything that exists, all of it, came from nothing for no reason at all. I’m sorry but I just don’t have enough faith to believe something so absurd, but that’s exactly what atheists expect us to believe.
Let’s just make sure we’re clear about this. If there is no God, if atheism is true, if material reality is all there is, then we are forced to believe that:
- Chaos produces order
- Lifeless matter produces life
- Chance produces intelligence
- Accidents produce purpose.
Really? This makes sense to you? To anyone? On the other hand, that order, life, intelligence, and purpose have a Creator makes perfect sense. I always wonder when I’m challenging the atheist in my mind, where in the world did the matter that makes up existence come from in the first place? From nothing? We know, scientifically, that matter is not eternal. So where did it come from? The only plausible explanation, the one with the power to compel our belief, is God. Yes, when in doubt, open your eyes.