In Romans 12 we read that in the body of Christ there are many members each with their own special function. At this point in time, God has me rising up to the challenges from atheists. The Holy Spirit has placed within me a strong desire to seek out those difficult questions atheists like to ask and answer them as best I can. I find this a very satisfying exercise in apologetics, even though the questions sometimes lead me into those areas that really challenge my faith, I just keep going.
So with that in mind I present five questions atheists tend to ask a lot.
Question One: If faith in God is worth anything, shouldn’t he want us to reach him through our reason rather than unthinkingly through blind faith?
Yes, which is why we have the theological discipline of apologetics which attempts to answer those tough questions everyone struggles with.
I have never met any Christian who is unthinking in their faith, everyone struggles with faith and the big questions to one degree or another.
I like to think that there are two kinds of faith, the emotional faith and the reasoned intellectual faith.
The emotional faith is the faith of those who come to God in a desperate need for salvation. It is the faith of the drug addict who has hit rock bottom, it is the faith of the parent watching their sick child wither away, it is the desperate plea of the person who has painted themselves into a corner with their sin and does not know the way out.
This kind of faith is the faith that purifies us of our sins and changes lives, it drags us out of our personal hell and sets our feet of firm ground.
An example of emotional faith and the power of it would be an experience I had about eight years ago. Through various stupid choices I found myself homeless for a third time in the middle of a Canadian winter and a -35 cold snap (-31 for you Americans). I had no friends or family to go to and no hope. I had lost everything including my will to live. So I sat down in a snow bank. Fully ready to sit there until I froze to death, I prayed one of the most desperate (and foul language filled) prayers ever. I told God that if he wanted me to live he had best do something or else I was just going to sit there and wait for death.
Well He did do something. Within seconds of finishing that prayer the Holy Spirit came upon me and had me up and walking down the street singing His praise. Within two minutes I ran into a person I knew, who after hearing my story gave me the phone number of someone she knew who was renting rooms. I called and was told to move in after the weekend. When I entered the room there was a picture of the Last Supper hanging on the wall and my neighbor gave me a blanket that this verse on it:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
It was then that I decided to be baptized.
The other kind of faith is the intellectual kind of faith. It is the questioning faith that comes to all of us at one time or another. It challenges us and pushes us to understand God and his mysteries. While it is not as exciting as the emotional kind of faith which gives us strength to get through the hardships of our lives, the intellectual faith is the deeper side of our relationship with God. It is in questioning things that we find the answers we seek and the more we seek the closer we come into a deeper relationship with God.
God is our Father, we are His children and as anyone who is a parent knows, children ask a lot of questions. It is from the back and forth of question and answer that a child and parent develop a relationship. It is the same with us and God. We ask questions, big ones and small ones, hard and easy ones. But we all ask questions.
So yes, God does want us to use reason to come to him and not just rely on blind faith.
What kind of faith do you have? When have you had to use reasoning faith to explain your relationship with Christ to someone else? When has emotional faith given you the strength to go on?