Ask Your Preacher
I have gone to church all my life. I have never had an issue with my faith; I’ve always believed, but recently, with a lot of negativity towards religion and science explaining everything, I feel like I am losing my faith rather quickly. Do you have any words of wisdom that can help me believe truly again?
Need To Believe
Dear Need To Believe,
Everyone faces times of doubt in their life; the key is to strengthen the weaknesses in our resolve. Like the man who cried out, “I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24), all christians must recognize that faith must grow and increase over time.
Faith is the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). We can’t see God, but there is plenty of evidence that He exists. The whole creation cries out as evidence of God’s existence (Rom 1:20). As science and our knowledge of the natural world have increased, the proof of God’s existence has increased as well. Books like Has God Spoken? by A.O. Schnabel, Case For A Creator by Lee Strobel, and Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell are excellent resources that make clear the existence of the God of the Bible. Take the time to fill your mind with information from sources like those mentioned above, and you will find yourself more confident in no time (Php 4:8).
God tells us to come and “reason together with Him” (Isa 1:18). There are entire scientific communities such as Answers In Genesis that are dedicated to the study of the science that proves God’s existence. There are reasons and evidences that prove that God exists, and it is surprising how few people ever talk about those evidences. We have an entire category in our archives dedicated to evidences that God exists and the Bible is His Word because we here at AYP are so frequently asked about that topic.
Not only is it possible to prove God exists, it is possible to prove that He authored the Bible. The Bible is the most unique book in the world. The Bible is scientifically accurate (though written long before modern science), historically accurate (down to the last archeological detail), prophetically accurate (the Bible predicts events down to the smallest detail hundreds of years in advance), and it never contradicts itself (even though the Bible was written over the course of hundreds of years by dozens of different writers). In a world of rare writings, the Bible stands alone. For further details, read our post “Who Wrote The Bible?”.
There is no doubt that God exists – the evidence speaks for itself.
I am currently a Deist, not tying myself to any one religion or belief; however, I do believe that there is a Supreme Being, One who orchestrated the birth of the universe. However, I also believe in the findings of our scientists, such as the Big Bang theory and the scientific theory of evolution. Because I believe in a god, but not a Christian god, where does that leave me on that Great Day (according to Christianity)? I just figure that if Christianity WAS the correct path after all, would that "kind and just" God send me to an eternity of damnation, or would He understand my doubts because He created me in His own image?
It is understandable with all of the opinions that are thrown around as science for you to feel torn between belief in God and the belief in evolution, but it isn’t enough to believe in a generic god – we must place our faith in the God. After all, even the demons admit belief in deity… but that won’t save them on the Day of Judgment (Jas 2:19). Jesus is a very exclusive Savior. He very boldly claims, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no comes to the Father, but by Me.” (Jhn 14:6). If you don’t have a life of faith built upon following Christ, you won’t be saved. That may sound harsh, but let’s talk about the evidence that God provides to make it possible for a deist to turn into a christian.
First of all, all faith is built upon some sort of evidence. That evidence may be historical data (like when you trust traffic lights to work properly because they have statistically done so in the past), it may be personal experience (i.e. when you trust a friend because they have shown good judgment and loyalty in the past), or circumstantial evidence (like when a jury convicts a murderer based upon the evidence presented to them – even when there weren’t eyewitnesses at the scene of the crime).
Your belief that there is some sort of Supreme Being is probably based upon some sort of basic evidence from the world that you see around you. Rom 1:20 says that God has provided evidence of His existence in the creation around us. From galaxies to atoms, this world shows the signs of design. A design requires a Designer. God’s handiwork is seen in the finely-tuned craftsmanship of the human eye, just like Nikon’s handiwork is shown in the craftsmanship of their cameras. You’ve done well to acknowledge His existence in a general way… but we would beg you to keep digging deeper.
Don’t be dissuaded by the scientists that say we evolved from goo. First of all, not all scientists are evolutionists – no matter what the media tells you. Thousands of biologists, geologists, doctors, paleontologists, etc. believe in the Creator of the Bible, and they are intellectually honest in doing so. The scientific evidence has led them to the Bible, not away from it. Second of all, things like evolution and the Big Bang are a way of interpreting the scientific data, not a concrete finding from the data. One scientist sees a bed of fossils, and because he doesn’t believe in God, he interprets that the fossils were created over millions of years. Another scientist sees the same fossil bed, and because he does believe in God, he interprets that a catastrophic event (like Noah’s Flood) is what caused such a sudden build up of fossils and silt. They see same evidence, but come to vastly different conclusions. Read “Atheism-Colored Glasses” for further details on the subject of scientific bias.
Next, after looking at the general evidence of God’s existence, it is time to look at the specific evidence of the Bible’s supernatural origins. The Bible is a unique book; it is a book that no human could ever write. We would encourage you to read “Who Wrote The Bible?” for a comprehensive list of reasons why the Bible is a book that only God could have written. Once we begin to see the evidence for the Bible’s divine origins, we have no choice but to ask ourselves, “Will I follow God’s Word?”.
God expects us to follow Jesus because He has given us plenty of evidence that Jesus is the one and only true Son of God. We would encourage you to follow the evidence – it will lead you straight to Jesus the Christ.
All the major faiths of the world preach that only through following their teachings and believing in their god will one reach heaven. This means everyone else goes to hell. To a christian, all the muslims are hell-bound. To a muslim, all the christians are infidels and will never reach God. I find it hard to believe that a loving God would set up half the world for failure. Each faith is strict about the requirements to spend eternity with God. How do we come to terms with this concept that ours is the only way?
Dear Too Exclusive,
One of the key components to any religion is that we accept that particular religion’s god as he is. It isn’t fair to simultaneously try and find which god is real (Allah, Buddha, Jehovah, etc.) and also have a pre-conceived notion about how we want God to behave. If the Muslim’s are right, then Allah exists, and it doesn’t matter whether Allah is loving or not – Allah is what Allah is. If the Buddhists are correct, it doesn’t matter whether we like reincarnation or not – reincarnation exists. The same is true with Jehovah, the God of the Bible. God is who God is, without regard to our opinion of how we feel He ought to be. We may feel that He has “set up” a large portion of society for failure, but if the God of the Bible is real (and we feel confident He is!), we must take Him at His Word that all have evidence of His existence and are without excuse if they don’t follow Him (Rom 1:20).
The key to finding which god is the true God is to look at the evidence – primarily the key documents for each religion. When you compare the Koran, the Dharma, the Veda, and other books of faith to the Bible… there is no comparison. The Bible is accurate scientifically, prophetically, historically, and contextually consistent; it never contradicts itself and contains truths that only God would know and yet can be proven true by practice. We highly recommend you read our article “Who Wrote The Bible?” for further explanation of the proof that the Bible is from God. When analyzing religion in the search for truth, follow the evidence, and it will always lead you to the Bible.
I work with a co-worker who claims to be an atheist. There are a myriad of apologetic books that speak to these types of people and their claims. However, I would like to seek your insights on how to best reason with this person. In the process of talking with him, he has actually asked me to share Scriptures of encouragement that he could share with his girlfriend. I have bought him his first Bible, Bible Dictionary, and a pamphlet on how to study the Bible, which he was moved by and gladly received. I also offered to study with him, but he has not yet accepted my offer. Still, he needs to be convinced that God is real and that we did not get here by accident. Is there a simple format or practical approach I can use?
Ironically, one of the best places to start with an atheist is to discuss their faith. The relationship you mentioned sounds like it is a “talk when we can” sort of situation, and so it can be hard to cover anything in a systematic, step-by-step way. Lord willing, you will eventually be able to have a sit-down class with this individual, but until then, you are really just trying to get him thinking about how important this issue is.
In the past, we have talked with our atheist friends about their faith, and it can really jar their eyes open. Most atheists believe they don’t have faith, but this simply isn’t true. An atheist cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no God any more than you or I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is. At some point, both the atheist and the theist have faith. Faith is an inevitable element of life. Anytime you trust something you can’t see, it is an act of faith (Heb 11:1). When we take an aspirin, we have faith that it isn’t laced with arsenic. When we drive, we have faith that the traffic light is telling the other lanes to stop when it tells us to go. We visit restaurants because we have faith in the recommendation our friend gave us, and we buy houses based on our faith in the home inspector’s report. Everyone lives by faith – this is an important aspect of life. If your atheist friend had no faith, he couldn’t function in life.
This is a great place to start because when an atheist realizes that they already live by faith, you can begin to discuss the fact that faith is based off of evidence. We believe in God because we have been given enough evidence that we can reasonably believe in His existence. Read “Is God Real?” for a basic list of evidences. When an atheist begins to view their life as a life of faith, it changes the discussion from “science vs. religion” to “which faith do I choose?”. In our humble opinion, this is a good, practical place to start.
My question pertains to one omitted book of the Bible, in particular, the book of Enoch. I have learned that certain religions have omitted certain books, mainly the Gnostic gospels. I have found adequate reasons for these New Testament scriptures to be omitted in certain cultures, but what about the book of Enoch? I have recently purchased a book containing the writings of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it includes the book of Enoch! I was SOOO excited because I had previously purchased a single copy of this book, but couldn't find any evidence of it containing any truth. The Dead Sea Scrolls and my purchased book of Enoch are in correlation. Also, in the book of Jude 1:6, there are references made to the fallen angels which are made known in the book of Enoch! What is this mystery all about? Did they omit it because people were somehow calling upon fallen angels (or their offspring) by name (demonic worship)? Is this book valid?
Dear Connecting Dots,
There are many writings that were included with the Dead Sea Scrolls that have non-biblical origins. There are non-biblical writings that include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and wisdom writings. Just because the book of Enoch was included in the Dead Sea Scrolls doesn't mean that it ought to be included in the Bible.
The question of what books to include in the Bible and what books to exclude as false is a major issue – and it is an issue that the early christians had to face. Twenty-seven books are included in the New Testament canon (the word ‘canon’, when applied to Scripture, means ‘the officially accepted list of books’), and each one of these books is documented by early christians as being a divinely-inspired piece of literature. In other words, the early christians believed that God wrote it.
The key to understanding why some books are included in the Bible and other books (even books from the same time period) are excluded is to remember that the Bible claims to be God’s Book (2 Pet 1:19-21). The early christians (or Jews in the case of the Old Testament) lived during the time when these books were being written, and they were fully aware of who was doing the writing. Today, we can’t tell which religious documents were written by apostles and which documents were written by heretics… but the early christians certainly could! If someone claimed that a letter was written by the apostle Paul, all they had to do to verify the authenticity of the letter was to ask Paul for themselves. The early christians were in the best position to differentiate between authentic apostolic writings and manmade documents. This is exactly why the early church quickly adopted the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, and they have been almost universally accepted as the only New Testament books ever since. Numerous historical documents verify that the New Testament canon that we use today was accepted, read, collected, distributed, and used by the early christians from very early on. People who seek to say that they have “found” some new Bible books that have been missing from the canon have to prove that their books were accepted by christians (or Jews if discussing Old Testament canon) from the beginning – no one has been able to do that.