“Don’t think too deeply about Christianity or it might start to make some real sense. In other words. Lead to atheism.” – @mr_stinkynuts on twitter.
I recently saw the above post on twitter and wondered whether or not it had any validity. After seeing it, I remembered a conversation that I was having with my wife yesterday. (By the way, guys. Find a woman to marry that will make you a better man in the name of Jesus Christ. It is awesome!) In the conversation, Kati brought to my attention that many Christians don’t want to think too deeply about things because they feel like they are cheating on Jesus. She also stated that sometimes Christians don’t want to think about things like God’s existence because if they question it, it seems almost like they are already giving in and already disbelieving in God and in Jesus Christ. Because of this, I just want to share a bit of my story. Most of you, even my parents, have probably not heard this.
I was almost an atheist. Growing up in church I was exposed to a great number of people who believed everything that they were taught and refused to question what they heard. One phrase stands out as I think about my childhood within the context of church, “Just have faith.” My question toward that statement was not, “How can I have faith in something I cannot see,” but instead, “Why would I have faith without reason?”
I prayed and got baptized several times in order to please both my parents and others within the church. I guess I also hoped that it would save me from some type of eternal fire. I was taught not to question God and not to question what was taught about God. Take everything on faith. We are saved through faith. We are made whole through faith. The only problem was, I didn’t feel saved and I most definitely didn’t feel whole. I called myself a christian, but I didn’t believe.
When I was fifteen, I finally met God. It was not because I had the faith to meet God, but because God had the grace to reveal Himself to me, just as Christ revealed Himself to Thomas. I had given up on trying to have enough faith. The surprising thing is, when I stopped relying on myself to have the faith, God revealed Himself to me in a way, I fear, that many professing Christians never get to experience. I am also afraid that the same is true within other religious communities and withing many intellectual communities. It is not a lack of faith that keeps us from God. It is not thinking deeply that keeps us from God. What keeps us from God is the fact that we rely on ourselves and anyone who wishes to rely on his or herself to find God will ultimately become an Atheist. They will ultimately lose their own faith, which isn’t really faith at all. We must turn to God and rely on Him instead of on ourselves. After all, we are all imperfect.
As for whether or not Christians are afraid to think. Yes, I believe some are. My question, then, is this: what reason do we have to fear if God has already revealed Himself to us? Through questioning, we gain a greater knowledge of God and we know God more. If thinking about the world and about God allows us to grow closer to God, what then should we take on faith? We take on faith what we know to be true: God has revealed Himself to us. He is with us. Still, we do not take this on the basis of our own faith. We take it according to the grace and the faithfulness that God has to offer. Remember, we cannot rely wholly on ourselves.