A few days ago a question was posed to students in a secular student alliance club at a local high school in my area. The question was “What will it take for you to believe in the existence of a god?” Answers begin to come it and last I checked there was 230 comments on the question. As I read through the answers and discussion that followed I noticed how misconceptions about God, the Bible, and Church can keep many people from having a theistic worldview and from trusting in the Christian worldview. Here’s what I mean.
One student answered, “To believe in the existence of an all-powerful god with the general well-being of humans in mind as most universalizing religions do, I would have to see evidence of a world with less… ‘bad’…” I believe this student has a misunderstanding of why the world is bad. Perhaps he thinks God is not great enough to create people who are perfect, or that perhaps God is to blame for the bad in the world. This is clearly a misunderstanding of the free will that God gives us as humans and the sinful nature that we are born with. God doesn’t create evil, he only makes it possible. This is a misunderstanding of human nature.
I have already covered the misconception about faith, it you missed it you can click here to read about it.
Another student says “For me to worship that entity in addition to believing it exists, I’d also need evidence of the power of prayer, heaven, or hell” Among other things, this student is looking at the power of prayer as a possible proof. What do most people think about prayer? Is it like a magic genie where God grants you whatever you want? Do we as Christians push this thought by our words and actions? We know God answers prayer, but we know that He doesn’t always answer them how we want. We also know what the Bible says that we pray we must pray in Jesus name and that we must align our requests with the holy scriptures.
A student that I have been talking with recently made this comment, “The holy scriptures that people study today are translations of the originals (which we don’t have) and as we all know, things are always lost in translation.” he went on to add “the original documents were written centuries after the stories that they depict took place. Doesn’t this make you wonder about the validity of the words that you’re studying?” This student has received some faulty information that I have seen before. Unfortunately there are people who want to misrepresent the truth, on both sides of the debate I might add.
There were some great questions and comments made by the students, some of them I could see are genuinely searching God and welcomed any thoughts by the Christians that interacted with them.
So what do you do to clean up the misconceptions? Here are a few suggestions. Know what the truth is for yourself. Do the research, look at the evidence, and be able to communicate with others the evidence in a way that is easy and makes sense. You should also know what others are saying against the truth and be prepared to respond to it. Winston Churchill once said “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” For those who know the truth and yet try to cover it up or repress it, do the most damage.
It is amazing to me how many people have already made up their mind about the validity of the Bible, but have never read more than a few chapters of it for themselves. I do understand why some may have difficulties with it. Miracles for example may be one reason. In the near weeks we will look at the miracles within the Bible. Maybe they even read through it once completely, and think that they have a good grasp on it, that might be more dangerous. I’ve been reading and studying it for about 25 years now and I have much to learn of it myself.
As always questions, comments, and discussions welcome.
I’d like to add that the students had some great questions and answers as for the evidence that would need to believe that God exists. Some, I’m not sure that I or God would be able to give them, but I will keep the conversations open. Thanks to the SSA members who let me use there quotes in my post.