And Another Thing…

Icon

Why I Believe Anyway

 In my last post I came clean about the nature of the doubts that plague me and why.  I have never thought that I was alone with my doubts and the feedback confirms it. Thank you John, Jeff, Kinney (Preacherman), Jerri, Trey, Becky, and Zane (Big White Hat) for chiming in. You blessed me. What’s more, that post got more hits in one day than any other post I have ever had; the subject matter interested people whether they replied or not.

So I owe a post about why I believe in spite of my doubts; the other half of my internal dialogue as it were.  I warn you, this will not be an airtight, unsinkable apologetic, a home run, touchdown pass, or any other triumphant sports analogy.  It will not sparkle with originality. This is not about winning the game, but rather staying in it. Phillip Yancey once said that sometimes the only thing that keeps him in the game is the lack of a better alternative. These are the things that keep me in the game.

  • Doubting is not a sin. If you have ever been smacked, yelled at, shunned, shamed, or endured any other mistreatment for asking tough questions, you have my sympathies. But somebody lied to you. The Bible is riddled with doubt and prayers that God said “no” to, from Abraham to the apostles. Those who have endeavored to serve the Lord have always expressed (either in word or action) serious doubts about Him and what He would have them do. David, the man after God’s own heart, expressed his doubts and resulting miseries in the strongest language in the Psalms. Most tellingly, God’s own Son had doubt, or at least conflict over his mission (what else do you think he was struggling with in Gethsemane?). While the Bible teaches trust, it does not forbid doubt; this tells me that the God presented in the Bible is bigger than all of our doubts. That is a God worth believing in.
  • Meaning. Suffering is a fact, and to varying degrees a universal experience. However, there are only two perspectives on it: either it means something or it doesn’t. If the believer is right, then nobody suffers in vain no matter how difficult it may be to discern a point. If the atheist is right, then the best explanation for suffering is (as an atheist wrote in regards to this question) “sh*t happens.”  Given these two options, which do you prefer?
  • One God From Another. Atheists love to point out that every human being is atheistic regarding certain gods; nobody believes in the ancient Hellenistic gods or the pagan gods of Europe anymore. And they are right. Yet these gods that nobody believes in are qualitatively different from the God depicted in the Bible. If you read the mythologies surrounding each one, their deeds seem more like the antics of drunken superheroes – frat boys with “powers and abilities far beyond mortal men.” The God of Abraham and Isaac does not conduct Himself in any such manner. His manner is often confusing, sometimes it even seems distant, but it is never subject to our whims and wishes. And frankly, I like that I don’t understand everything about Him. I don’t want a god whose perspective is no broader than my own, nor do I want one who doesn’t care. And part of the message resounding throughout scripture is that He does care, whether He explains Himself or not.
  • The Natural World. I will never be able to look at the Cascade Mountains in the Northwest or the Shenandoah Valley right here in Virginia and not hear God saying, “Hey kids, check this out.”
  • Grace Under Pressure. Suffering is the greatest deterrent to faith, yet some of the most faithful people that I know have suffered some of the worst calamities of life. And their faith has not only survived, but also thrived. And each one, without fail, claims that the Lord saw them through. Having not experienced what they went through, who am I to argue?
  • The Fellowship of Believers.  So many believers in my life have blessed me beyond measure. Some of them I studied under in school, some of them I listened to on Sunday mornings, some of them I have taught, but I have learned something from all of them along the way. I am proud to call each one not just a friend, but a brother or sister.

  • Jesus Himself. Beyond anything else, this is where I hang my hat. When every other support for my faith gives way, this is the one that holds. I don’t always understand him. I don’t always like what he said in the Scriptures. Yet the boldness of his life and ministry and his impact on the world always astounds me. His response to every challenge was unexpected. His teaching was revolutionary. For 2000 years men, women, and children of every ethnicity, nation, socioeconomic status, and walk of life have called on his name and found redemption and deliverance. He can be placed in history. His teachings broke an empire and set the course of the western world. Could a myth or charlatan do that? I don’t think so.

Not impressed? That’s okay. Like I said before, it’s my list and these are the points on the map that lead me out of the valley. I encourage everyone to read the thoughts in the comments section of my last post. And once again I am going to solicit the input of believers: what does it for you? Why do you stay in the game? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Advertisements

Filed under: Faith and Religion, , , , , ,

5 Responses

  1. David B says:

    Great post. This kind of goes with your first point, but one reason I believe is the genuine honesty of scripture, with even the ‘heroes’ of faith (with the exception of Jesus) being imperfect people. I think it’s a shame that we so often put men like king David and the apostle Peter up on this pedestal and then are so critical of people around us. Scripture is honest when it says that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’, and this is exactly why we need a savior. I don’t know that I could buy into a religion in which the human saints are depicted as being super-human. Even our savior is very much human, even as he is divine. He ate, got tired, and even got cranky at times, yet all along he was God as well.

    It is good to think about the ‘prize’ before us, to think about going to heaven, but it is dangerous to focus on those things even while we are living a yet-imperfect life. Scripture gives us comfort in our imperfections even while it encourages us to strive for what has been promised.

  2. My answer to that question is far different now than it would have been even 10 years ago. I stay in the game, because I truly love and need God with every breath I take. I feel his presence with me as I rock my little grandson, as I pick up after my family, cook dinner and the other night as I drove home from church, weeping over hearing about the pain someone I love is going through. I’m in the game, because I really do love my brothers and sisters in Christ enough to weep for them and enough to share their joy–and that has to be because of the love God put in my heart for them. I can’t wait to get to Heaven to see the people who have influenced the entire direction of my eternity who have gone there before me! I can’t wait to see how beautiful Heaven is–Jesus Himself is preparing a place for us! And I’m with you, Mike–when I look at the beauty around us, I can almost hear God saying, “What do you think of that?” Can you imagine how it will be to have Him show us Heaven? That blows my mind! Yet I want to stay here to hopefully have some good influence on loved ones who might not be there if they don’t turn to God. I also want to see what else He is going to do with me! I want to live my life with Don and see what else and who else God will bring into our life together. I’m still in the game, because I honestly don’t think there is any other game out there worth devoting my life to–even if we COULD save the world, it is still temporary. Only our souls are eternal, and that’s where I want to spend my life–on the eternal.

  3. preacherman says:

    I can imagine life without God?
    Can you?
    Yes, I have gone through some very thought times in my life.
    I have conquered them this past year.
    It look like I may be going though some tough medicles times in my life right now. (You can read more about what has been going on this past week). I know don’t have any tummors. Praise God! I have a killer migraine with vomitting. I go see the Nuerolgist tomorrow to see if it is compound migraine or seizures. I have congregation who loves my family and of course their preacher. I have errangenments made for class and preaching while I heal. The congregation has nothing but love and support. I just don’t know what I would do without love and the Church.

    I would welcome any prayers on my blog to let my wife and I know that you are praying for us during this difficult time. Blogging my be few as difficulties and pain is severe but hope everyone understands. Your blog has helped me laugh, given me hope, inspiriation and perseverance. Thank. You have a talent. I love everyone deeply.
    In Him,
    Kinney Mabry
    Aka
    Preacherman

  4. Micah says:

    Awesome stuff here. The last month or so I have been following links from Blogs I read to who they read and people who post comments on said blogs. Thats how I found yours and bookmarked it.

    Your reasons for believing make me believe even more. Heh, even your doubts make me believe more. Thanks a lot for your insight.

  5. odgie says:

    Micah – Welcome, and thanks for the encouragement. New readers are always welcome, along with the regulars.

    Dave, Jerri, and Preacherman – Thank you all for your feedback. Good points all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: