“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). (To inquire more about belief, now or after reading this post, click here: Searching? Consider this…)
I’ve been in debates over Bible passages like that one, as well as John 14:6 and John 3:16, with people who seem opposed to believing. I often hear something like, “That Jesus-stuff is a myth. But since you’re the religious one, try to prove it as that burden lies with you.” I then try, but usually my Apologetics are not adequate for them. I admit, my apologetic ability needs refining. But, when my part of the discussion/debate moves beyond the tight window of what is considered allowable—pure scientific evidence, it is usually thrown out as non-allowable evidence for belief in God. There indeed is a lot of other, non-scientific evidence available to consider belief in God. Can’t it at least be considered rather than simply discarded as “myth?”
Moving on. I highlight one thing, with which I imagine we all can agree: responsibility and accountability before God ultimately lie with each individual. I write that, understanding that some of you who are my friends and who do not agree with “belief in God” will not necessarily disagree with that statement, but it will probably not be meaningful to you. Yes, effectively explaining Truth about God—or burden of proof if you want to call it that—is a responsibility of a pastor like me, and really, of every Christian called to be a witness, but ultimately, IF “God is” as described in the Bible, THEN every individual will come before Him and have to give an accounting to Him. The three parables in Matthew 25 are clear about that.
IT’S YOUR THING; BETWEEN YOU AND GOD. And, I imagine that’s really how we want it to be, right? If you say, “prove it,” that will be for another day/another blog post, because I realize the concept of faith can be complicated and nonsensical (Religious Nones are Growing) for many of us in this Post Modern Age.
2 thoughts on “It’s Between YOU and God”
You managed to pack a lot into a short post, Fred! Well done! A few thoughts:
First, I agree with your statement that IF a god exists, then “responsibility and accountability before God ultimately lie with each individual”. I think that’s a fair thesis. Given the tribalistic nature of religion, however, it’s almost inevitable that individuals are going to insist that THEIR understanding of God is the TRUE understanding of God, and that’s where conflict and in-fighting happen. Christians could benefit greatly from some of the Buddhist philosophies of changing selves vs changing the world/others.
Second, I think discussing what the Bible says and the existence of God are two different arguments. If you’re having a debate over a particular part of the Bible, and someones response is simply, “The Bible is all a MYTH, you can’t prove any of it!” that’s fallacious reasoning, and the person making that claim is either lazy or doesn’t have a good counter argument. I always try to stay on the same playing field when debating – if we’re talking about John 3:16 and how it lines up with the rest of the Bible, I’m going to try to use the Bible itself to make my case. But if the debate is about the validity of the Bible itself, or the existence of God, etc. that’s a different playing field with different rules. Does that make sense?
Third, regarding evidence (you know what I’m going to say here, Fred😉), there is no such thing as “non-scientific” evidence. Unless it is something which can be demonstrated, tested, replicated, and falsified, it can’t be classified as evidence. That isn’t to say that certain claim or arguments don’t have validity or merit and should be dismissed, it simply means that further inquiry may be necessary.
And finally – stay away from apologetics, Fred. The only people persuaded by apologetics are those who are already believe the premise. You’re not going to convince any non-believers with that stuff. Most of us know apologetics better than the people spouting them.
Good food for thought. Thanks Robert. Personally I especially find your “Third” point practical; it will help me term things in a more helpful way. Regarding your “Second” point, I agree and typically seek to do that. Unfortunately, during some interaction recently with a Jehovah’s Witness friend, our discussion started on different understandings of passages, but it quickly moved to overall belief discussion. I regret it, because I think I challenged too much and he has backed away much from our friendship. It showed how many Bible passages cannot just be discussed isolated–“in at test tube,” apart from worldview & belief in God, for example with the Bible passages I highlighted (Romans 10:9, John 14:6, John 3:16). I will say, I think you and I do that quite well in our conversations with each other, so while our worldviews are very different, we can value friendship. WORKING AT IT….
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