You get a phone call from a friend. You like this person, in fact they are one of your “best” friends. Over the years you have shared a lot of times with them. You have a lot in common. They want to take you out to lunch. That’s sound ok so you wind up going. Later at the lunch table, your friend reveals that they are going through a tough time in their life and even though you felt you knew them well and have talked about spiritual matters with them, they now reveal to you that they have no faith in God. God would not allow them to go through the hardships they are currently experiencing. God does not exist for them anymore.
And then comes your tough question…
“Why do you believe in God?”
Can you come up with an excellent answer?
You realize that this is your time to help your friend. You can turn them back to God as a Savior. In your panic, you recall your pastor citing Matthew 28:19, you know, that verse about going and making disciples or something like that and you know that this is your chance to return a sheep to the fold or something like that.
Can you do this?
Sadly, most Christian believers feel they can’t.
Words of doubt pop into your head. “I’m not a pastor or an expert on theology.” “I don’t have the plan of salvation memorized, much less any other key verses from God’s word.”
Worse than that…
Believers have to admit…
“I don’t know why I believe in God.”
In conversations I have had with fellow Christians over the years, I have heard the following reasons given about why people believe in God.
- “I believe in God because I was told by my parents that I should believe in God.” That’s wonderful that your parents told you that but is this kind of logic going to help your friend? I don’t think so.
- “I believe in God because I have gone to church all my life.” Going to church your whole life is wonderful but can you articulate what you have learned in church to your friend? Just telling your friend that you believe in God because you have gone to church is not going to provide any proof that will help your friend unless you share what you have learned about God.
- “I believe in God because it feels good to believe.” Feeling good is a great thing but what is your source of feeling good? Why do you have these feelings? Do you feel good all the time? Are solid believers exempt from “down times?” You can see where this is going. Having feelings is great. I like the feelings I have. I would not want to live a life without them but I often do not make key decisions in my life based on my feelings. I like to employ my brains from time to time.
Certainly your friend needs you to make some sense to them about your belief in God.
Paul Little begins his book in chapter one with the Sunday School teacher who asks a little boy “What is faith?” The little boy says “Believing something you know isn’t true.”
Well, that is shocking enough in itself.
The next statements are even more shocking. “That many non-Christians define faith this way is not surprising. That many believers overtly or secretly hold this view is tragic.”
Little spent his life trying to express his Christian faith in a reasonable manner. He [to use his expression] refused to kiss his brains good bye when he became a Christian. If he found himself at lunch with a good friend and he had the question “Why do you believe in God” he would have an answer. He refused to adopt the attitude that many of us have that just because you believe, doesn’t make your faith true. That is equivalent to the times when I questioned the reasoning my father had in his instructions to me [instructions that I did not want]. I would say to Dad “Why?” and Dad would say “Because I said so”. I was not a very satisfied child with that explanation.
Your friend needs an answer. They are in a period in their life when your friendship can mean the most. They are in a period in their life when your faith in God can mean the most to them.
They need an answer because they have become a doubter.
You need an answer because you want your faith to be real.