1 Corinthians 1:22-24
“22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,…”
Do you believe God? Do you believe in God? These can be tough questions to address, especially if you are trying to work with someone who seeks truth, but hasn’t gotten there yet.
This past week as I blogged on WordPress, “thelovemanifesto” read one of my posts and liked it. I went to his blog and read some interesting posts. He’s a Christian turned atheist. I gave him some (lengthy) responses to issues he raised. And I have to hand it to him; he treats you with respect. This is the first “atheist blog” I’ve run into that isn’t in to slamming Christians. He welcomes – even applauds – others’ points of view.
His logic is compelling. The problem is he doesn’t always get the syllogisms right. The means he can get a perfectly logical answer and still be wrong. I would have a hard time trying to explain why a particular argument doesn’t work. I know it’s off, but trying to explain it…
If you haven’t heard of it, try the book “Blink: The Art of Thinking without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a book about how your brain often analyzes on a subconscious level and just delivers the right answer without giving you any explanation. You just…know. This is the same thing with looking at some of his arguments. I know, but I can’t explain it…at least not very well.
How did he transition to atheism? Logic, reason, testing… He reads to me like someone truly seeking truth, not hiding behind that banner to snipe at Christians that happen by. He got into a dialogue with another blogger, “proverbs31wife”, a Christian. He said he’s open to proof that the Bible is accurate. “proverb31wife” cited a number of instances where the Bible/God are scientifically accurate on the nature of the planet, hygiene, and several other cases. She is cogent and very well-informed.
I also offered one of my favorite books for consideration; The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller. It documents incredible archeological finds that support a literal reading of Exodus.
And even if you buy everything Moller’s book says, you’re still left with the question, “Yeah, but is GOD for real?” A tough nut to crack. Realizing I can’t argue God into someone’s brain – and I use “argue” as discuss, dialogue, explain, etc. – I had a blinding glimpse of the obvious. A passage from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians quoted at the top of this post.
“proverb31wife” and I can provide all of the arguments we want, and they still won’t answer the question. Not really. Oh, this is all very good information for her and I to have. But…
“…in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
So she and I can do that. Good. We can give folks something to think about. I know I can tell stories about things happening in my life that also confirm to me that God exists, that He is the God of the Bible. Like the time He gave my eldest daughter a backrub. But that’s for another time.
You can’t figure God out. You can’t reason your way to Him. He’s too big for any of us to understand. His ways, His wisdom, His love are all too far beyond us. No matter how many reasons we can give to believe in the truth of His Word, the Bible, at the end it’s always going to be that leap of faith. Why?
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the essence of things not seen.”
So to all atheists and to thelovemanifesto; instead of trying to present arguments, convince…whatever, let me offer you some of the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians:
I Corinthians 1
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;…
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 2:13-15
13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[a]14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,
1 Corinthians 3:18-20
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a]; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”