The main thrust of the Does God Exist? ministry over the past five years has changed from the pattern of its beginning in 1968. In the early years of this work, our outreach was to college students and young professionals who came to public presentations in college auditoriums, motel meeting rooms, and rented public facilities. There were usually eight to ten presentations, each followed by an open-ended question/answer session that lasted for several hours. (One went over nine hours!) These sessions involved a limited number of people in one location, were labor intensive and costly, and always involved a local congregation. I never really knew when I set up one of these programs what kind of congregation I was going to be working with. In the 40-plus years I have been involved in this work, I have had involvement with every kind of congregation you can imagine, and some you could not possibly imagine.

QR1QR2When the Internet became available, we were led to realize that here was a better way to reach more people. I will always be indebted to Lyle Lindholm, a young telephone company engineer, whom God used to enable us to get established on the web about fifteen years ago. We are now able to present our material all over the world and we have videos of our material available free on doesgodexist.tv (1); our free correspondence course and bimonthly on doesgodexist.org (2), along with a variety of our printed booklets; discussion of pain and suffering on whypain.org (3); and now a new children’s interactive website at scienceterrific.org (4). We are QR3QR4also using QR (Quick Response) codes in our publications to make it easier for those using smart phones, tablet computers, and webcams to scan the codes and go directly to our sites without having to type in the URL. You see some of those codes here and we encourage you to try them out.

The most important part of all this to me personally is the fact that I have a constant open-ended question/answer session going all the time as people can e-mail me at jncdge@aol.com. Every day I have the honor of talking with people all over the world about faith, evidence, and the validity of the Christian system. Once I get through the rants of atheists, the sales pitches, the scams, and the solicitations, I have anywhere from 10 to 200 daily questions from sincere, seeking people, most of whom have been through bad religious experiences and want a secure relationship with God. In our world of pluralism, religious hypocrisy, atheism, politics, economic uncertainty, theological diversity, immorality, church inconsistency, greed, and selfishness it is easy to understand why so many are struggling. Here are some suggestions based on personal experience that I hope will be helpful to you.


buzzardIn the 40-plus years of this ministry, I have had a lot of opposition. The hostility of atheists I expected, but the most destructive criticism has come from religious people, and a majority of those claimed to be Christians. A great Christian preacher told me when I started this work, “Remember, John, you can’t outpuke a buzzard.” There are lots of religious buzzards out there and you cannot allow these tools of Satan to stop you. Jesus told his followers, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6). When the apostles spoke to people the approach was always personal. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) does not mean to do it any way you want, but to use God’s Word individually in building your faith. The Bereans were praised because they “searched the scriptures daily” to see if it was as Paul said (Acts 17:11).

The people around you — family, friends, associates, and neighbors — cannot tell you what to believe and do. This ministry has survived attacks and abuse by keeping our focus on Jesus Christ and relying on his Word alone. I have found 2 Timothy 3:16 –17 to be true and workable in building my faith and my life’s work. “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”


I was raised in a home where belief in God was not accepted and was even ridiculed on occasion. I came to faith through my studies in science. I began my ministry in apologetics in 1968 when I realized how many young people were being given destructive, inaccurate, or evasive answers on important questions that I had wrestled with myself during my journey out of atheism.
woman reading
When atheists and religious critics attacked me, I had to reexamine what I believed. Sometimes that meant going back to the Bible and reexamining what I understood. Sometimes I had to go back to the original language or look at the context and the culture more carefully. Sometimes I had to study the scientific evidence more carefully or look at a new discovery and learn what implications it had for what I believed. The more I looked at the evidence, both biblically and scientifically, the stronger my faith became. There were beliefs I had to change and understandings that were different from what I had originally believed; but these changes enlarged and deepened my faith and that growth process continues to this day.

The web and the media are full of these challenges to faith. The vast majority of these challenges are wild, ignorant speculations that have no evidence to support them, are invented to deny faith, cannot be falsified or tested in any way, or have much evidence against them. It is important to deal with the evidence, not “what if” or “perhaps” types of speculations. We need to keep up with new discoveries and look at any new evidence. The lesson of history is that when new discoveries are understood they inevitably support faith in God and in the teachings of Jesus Christ.


Many years ago during a lectureship at a major university, I had a young man who had asked many questions and posed many challenges, stand up and say, “I can’t deny what you say, but I don’t want to change how I am living so I reject belief in God.” Recently in an e-mail exchange that same young man, who is now an active Christian, told me what changed his mind. “Shortly after you were on campus my live-in girlfriend left me for another guy. Four girlfriends later and after a bad experience with drugs, I asked myself if this was really the way I wanted to live and the kind of people I wanted to be around? I realized it was time to make a change and Romans 6:4 convinced me I could become a new person and start over.”
When a person adopts the belief system of atheism, Islam, Hinduism, etc., what is the effect upon him personally? That question needs to be answered both in an eternal sense and in terms of how it effects this life. In an eternal sense, atheism offers absolutely nothing except an end to the pain of life. In a daily living sense, atheism offers an intellectual guide to life but it is based on the assumption you are the “fit” in “survival of the fittest.” Where atheism has been tried, it has been a dismal failure.

Compare the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5 – 7 with the Koran, the Vedas, or the writings of Buddha or Bahá'u'lláh. Ask yourself what the position of women is in these systems, and how polygamy and its effect on a population compares with the biblical view of marriage. Jesus said it well, “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:20). If you do not like where your life is going, the obvious answer is to change it.


“Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33) is a truism. “No man is an island” is another truism. I can really relate to the person who says “A walk in the woods brings me closer to God than any preacher.” The fact is, however, that we are all social in nature and living with trees and animals only lasts so long. We need each other and we choose whom we friendsspend time with. One of Elvis Presley’s early hits was “Heartbreak Hotel”, and there are a myriad of songs built around the idea that misery loves company.

I do not want to be around people all the time who do not share my values and views. The whole idea of church is made up of people who are “called out” of this world and passages like 1 John 2:8 –11 talk about building a life in which love for one another dominates. The biblical concept of church is not an adherence to ritual or control or politics. The picture of the church that we get in Acts 2:42 – 47 is people who ate together, shared with one another, were joyous at being together, and took every opportunity to learn and grow.

As an atheist, I had been indoctrinated with the notion that life consisted of winning. Whatever it took to win in life was what you did. Survival of the fittest meant always covering your back and trusting no one. As I got older, that kind of existence became increasingly lonely and hard to accept. You eventually realize you can trust no one but yourself and sooner or later we all become less fit, and life becomes unbearable. Being around people who have such a negative viewpoint is a destructive experience, and reading nothing but atheist websites will ultimately depress anyone.

I am not a Christian today because I inherited the Christian faith. I have retained my sanity in the face of religious hypocrisy and opposition by focusing on God and maintaining a relationship with Jesus Christ. I would urge you to do the same.
--John N. Clayton

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