What It Takes To Believe in God
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 53:1
Annoyed by the fact that his company had to be closed for Christmas and Easter, a certain man who was an atheist was complaining that Christians seem to have all the holidays. He mentioned Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Good Friday and All Saints Day, adding, “We who are atheists have no holidays at all.” “Oh, yes you do,” rebutted a friend, “April Fool’s Day.”
Long ago the Psalmist wrote, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’....” (Psalm 53:1), but the fact that he denies His existence doesn’t change the reality of God’s being there, just the same.
Question: Why do you believe in God? Possibly you grew up with that belief. Perhaps you look at the magnitude of the universe and find it easier to believe that all of this was the result of some power or presence who created the world than to think it happened by chance. You aren’t convinced that an explosion in a print shop could create an unabridged dictionary. You believe Someone out there put it together. You are much like Ronald Reagan who once said, “I have long been unable to understand the atheist in the world of so much beauty. And I’ve had an unholy desire to invite some atheists to a dinner and then serve the most fabulous gourmet dinner that has ever been concocted and, after dinner, ask them if they believe there was a cook.”
Someone once said that there are two kinds of atheists in the world: ordinary atheists and ornery atheists. They are the ones who really are not hard-core atheists but use atheism as a screen. Such was a young man who once confided, “Actually I’m not an atheist, but I can’t believe in God and live the way I like to live.”
What does it take to move from atheism to a belief in God? A near-death experience, a loud voice from heaven, or the still quiet voice within saying, “There’s more to life that what you see.”
For Dr. Paul Brand, it was the intricacies of the human hand. As this skillful surgeon began to understand how marvelous is the human hand, he said that this alone would make him believe in God. For Sir Charles Scott Sherrington, the famous English physiologist who taught for many years at Oxford, it was the human eye. He said, “Behind the intricate mechanism of the human eye lie breathtaking glimpses of a Master Plan.” For anthropologist Fairfield Osborn, it was the human brain. He wrote, “To my mind, the human brain is the most marvelous and mysterious object in the whole universe.”
Ultimately, however, a belief in God is not simply theological or philosophical, not the bottom line of persuasion, or the winning argument—whatever that may be. It is the result of a simple step of faith. The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament put it, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Thousands of men and women around the world, finding themselves torn between belief and unbelief, have cried out, “God, if you are there, please show me.” Did the heavens open or did they experience a clap of thunder? Usually not. Did they find an answer? Almost always. How that answer came may be different, but it comes nonetheless. Suggestion: If you really want to know about God’s existence, then read the stories of men and women who have searched for Him and have found Him. You’ll find the biographies of those men and women in the Bible.
Frankly, if I were not a believer, having read the biographies of atheists and having glimpsed the pessimism and darkness surrounding them at the end of their lives, there is little in the way they lived and died that would make me want to walk in their footsteps. And that’s for sure.
Resource reading: Hebrews 11:1-12.