Questions about Faith
As the flight from Chicago to Dallas climbed in the sky, I became engrossed in conversation with the passenger to my left. “Aimee,” a French businesswoman, asked me about my work. On learning I was a Christian communicator, she related that a professing Christian had signed a contract with her, attempted to lead her to faith, then later deceitfully undercut her. “How could a Christian do such a thing?” she asked.
I told her that Christians weren’t perfect, that some fail miserably, that many are honest and caring, but that it is Jesus we ultimately trust. Aimee asked question after question: “How can you believe the Bible?” “Why do Christians say there is only one way to God?” “How does one become a Christian?”
I tried to answer her concerns as tactfully and clearly as I could. Stories I told of personal pain seemed to open her personal interest. As we ended the flight, she seemed appreciative to have a new perspective to consider.
Have you ever asked questions similar to Aimee’s, questions about God and faith? Maybe you’ve heard people say that becoming friends with Jesus has given them new meaning, joy and peace. “It sounds inviting,” you might think. “But is it true? If God is so great, why is there so much suffering in the world? What about people who never hear of Jesus? And isn’t faith simply a crutch?”
These are excellent questions. I’ve asked them myself. For many years, I was quite skeptical about faith in Christ. Then I met some friends whose answers made me think again. May I present to you some of what my friends shared with me? You may not agree with all I say, but I have a hunch that what they told me may get you thinking.
This article considers four common questions. A subsequent article will examine others.
1) It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.
I once gave a speech arguing for this proposition. Later, I reconsidered. In the 1960s, many women took the drug thalidomide seeking easier pregnancies. Often they delivered deformed babies. Sincerely swallowing two white pills may cure your headache if the pills are aspirin. If they are roach poison, results may differ.
After discussing this point, a widely respected psychologist told me, “I guess a person could be sincere in what he or she believed, but be sincerely wrong.” Ultimately faith is only as valid as its object. Jesus demonstrated by His life, death and resurrection that He is a worthy object for faith.[i]
I don’t have answers to every question. But if my conclusion about Jesus is wrong, I have a bigger problem. What do I do with the evidence for His resurrection, His deity and the prophecies He fulfilled? And what do I do with changed lives, including my own?
2) Why is there evil and suffering?
Sigmund Freud called religion an illusion that humans invent to satisfy their security needs. To him, a benevolent, all-powerful God seemed incongruent with natural disasters and human evil.
The biblical God, though sovereign, gave us freedom to follow Him or to disobey Him. Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis estimated that 80 percent of human suffering stems from human choice. Lewis called pain “God’s megaphone” that alerts us to our need for Him.[ii]
This response does not answer all concerns but it suggests that the problem of evil is not as great an intellectual obstacle to belief as some imagine.
Pain’s emotional barrier to belief, however, remains formidable. When I see God, items on my long list of questions for Him will include a painful and unwanted divorce, betrayal by trusted coworkers, and all sorts of disappointing human behavior and natural disasters. Yet in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection I have seen enough to trust Him when He says He “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.”[iii]
For more complete treatment of this and other questions, visit www.Probe.org.
3)What about those who never hear of Jesus?
Moses, the great Jewish liberator, said, “The secret things belong to the Lord.”[iv] Some issues may remain mysteries. God’s perfect love and justice far exceed our own. Whatever He decides will be loving and fair. One can make a case that God will make the necessary information available to someone who wants to know Him. An example: Cornelius, a devout military official. The New Testament records that God assigned Peter to tell him about Jesus.[v]
A friend once told me that many asking this question seek a personal loophole, a way so they won’t need to believe in Jesus. That statement angered me, but it also described me. C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity wrote, “If you are worried about the people outside [of faith in Christ], the most unreasonable thing you can do is to remain outside yourself.”[vi]
If biblical Christianity is true, the most logical behavior for someone concerned about those without Jesus’ message would be to believe in Jesus and go tell them about Him.
4)Isn’t faith in Jesus just a psychological crutch?
My mentor Bob Prall has often said, “If Christianity is a psychological crutch, then Jesus Christ came because there was an epidemic of broken legs.” Christianity claims to meet real human needs such as those for forgiveness, love, identity and self-acceptance. We might describe Jesus not as a crutch but an iron lung, essential for life itself.
Christian faith and its benefits can be described in psychological terms but that does not negate its validity. “Does it work?” is not the same question as, “Is it true?” Evidence supports Christianity’s truthfulness, so we would expect it to work in individual lives, as millions attest.
Of course, I don’t offer “proof” but rather evidences for faith. “Proof” can imply an airtight case, which neither you nor I have for our spiritual beliefs. I prefer to aim for certainty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” just as an attorney might in court.
After examining evidences for Jesus, I concluded that He had died to pay the divine penalty for my wrongdoing and had risen from the dead. I asked Him to forgive me, enter my life, and become my friend. There was no thunder and lightening, no angels appeared, and I did not become perfect. But I discovered a genuine inner peace, assurance that I was forgiven, new inner strength, and the best friend I could ever have. I’ve not regretted that decision.
What about you?
You can become His friend, too. Might the time be right in your life for this discovery?
If you would like to come to know God personally, you can do this simply by placing your trust or faith in Jesus as the one who died in your place. One early believer wrote, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”[i]
May I encourage you to discuss this with God right now? You may wish use your own words or words like these:
Thanks for sending Jesus to die and rise again for me. I accept your free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Please enter my life and help me to become your good friend.
If you just placed your trust in Jesus, He has entered your life and forgiven you. I encourage you to click the “Yes!” button below for more information. Some fine people have some free material they would like to get to you to help you grow in your new faith. And, if you have additional questions – whether or not you believe in Jesus – they would be happy to seek to answer them. Just click the button below.