Monday, September 17, 2012

Words of Comfort: The Atheist’s Faith

A professing atheist called recently and asked if we could have lunch together. During the meal he made a strange statement. He said that he didn’t have “faith.” To him, faith was a belief in something for which there was no solid evidence. He said that he instead had “trust” and “confidence.” He was above faith.

This common misconception in many modern atheists is often sparked by Mark Twain’s thoughtless, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so.” So I asked him, “Do you have faith in your wife?” He looked stunned as he began to think of the implications of saying that he didn’t. He loved her, so of course he had faith in her. Like a horse and carriage, faith and love go together. If he didn’t have faith in his wife, something was seriously wrong with her or their marriage.

Faith for the Christian isn’t a shutting of the eyes and, despite all the evidence to the contrary, saying that we have “faith” that some invisible God exists, somewhere. Rather, we know that God exists because of the order in nature--from the incredible order of the atom to the amazing order of the universe. We know God exists because all human beings are born with a God-given conscience that is then shaped by the society in which we live. We know God exists because our conscience agrees with His moral Law—the Ten Commandments. We intuitively know that it’s wrong to steal, to lie, to murder, and to commit adultery. We know God exists because we have obeyed His command to repent and trust alone in Jesus for our salvation. In doing so, we have come to know God Himself, and like in any good marriage, we have faith in Him and what He says in His Word.

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