From time to time we get messages from detractors suggesting that a ministry titled Does God Exist? should not exist. Sometimes such a message comes from atheists who feel that religion is so destructive and violent and so free of reasonable evidence that no support should be given to it. Sometimes the message comes from traditional religionists who believe that there is no such thing as a real atheist and that trying to defend belief in God is an admission that there is a problem and thus should not be mentioned publicly. Sometimes the message comes from people who want to be politically correct and do not want to tolerate any message that claims an absolute Truth — especially when that Truth has an effect on other humans. We also hear from people who just do not want to be told to think and investigate and learn something new.
The fact of the matter is that there are logical reasons for this ministry to exist. In 1968 when we began this work, the world was a very different place than it is now. Even then there were many of us who saw the chasm of disbelief that lay in front of the passage of human civilization. Mankind now has to deal with the crossing of the chasm of atheism, agnosticism, secularism, naturalism, pluralism, and religious extremism. No one living today would deny that these areas and issues exist, but why would we spend a lifetime attempting to convince men and women that God is real, that he is the God of the Bible, and that the Christian way of life is the way all people should live?
REASON 1: BECAUSE GOD COMMANDS US TO.
When Jesus gave his last message to his followers, he told them “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18 – 19). Teaching people the message of Christ is to show people how to live successfully. Christians are told to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
Even a superficial reading of the message of Christ tells us that the message was not about politics or man-made religious issues. The message of Christ was about serving one another, loving one another, peace, kindness, and living in a way that brings us close to God and in obedience to his instructions.
REASON 2: BECAUSE OF THE DESTRUCTIVE NATURE OF THE ALTERNATIVES.
What happens when we do not follow those instructions? The whole message of the Old Testament is that when we live God's way, good things come our way. When we reject God's ways, pain and death and suffering result. One of the best summaries of this is Deuteronomy 28 where God lays it out before ancient Israel. In verses 1 – 13 God tells Israel that living God's way will bring them prosperity, health, peace, and long life. He then picks it up in verse 15 through 68 and for 53 verses tells them all the bad things that will happen if they do not live as God has called them to live. The rest of the Old Testament is one sordid story after another of humans living selfishly and immorally and the result of that behavior.
In today's world, the same scenario is being played out. God has given us a plan for life. In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 – 7, Jesus spells out how to live life successfully. In Galatians 5:18 – 26 specific behaviors are listed showing the contrast between living as Jesus taught us to live, and living as human philosophies would dictate.
There is an incredible need for people today to be confronted with the cold hard evidence of where a life based on politics, secularism, man-made religious systems, and modern moral compromise leads. This is not just a mental exercise. This is the cold, hard reality of where we end up in life when we do not do things God's way — not to mention the loss of hope for a better existence when we die.
REASON 3: BECAUSE OF OUR NEED TO EQUIP CHILDREN TO LIVE LIFE SUCCESSFULLY.
None of us wants to see our child in pain. I have had a parent collapse in my arms sobbing hysterically as his child is escorted off to prison or carted off to a morgue because it lived by the rules of the world instead of by the Word of God. Sometimes the parent is overcome with the realization that his failure to “train up a child in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4; and Colossians 3:21) has been the cause.
Sometimes we do our best and still fail because Satan is strong. Sometimes we fail because we did not try. Sometimes we fail because we just did not have answers to our children's questions and never took the time to find someone who did. No one has all the answers, and as parents it is not our job to know everything. We do need to know where to find answers. Having a place to go that can help us have reasonable answers is important. For nearly half a century we have tried to provide such a place. In the twenty-first century, our websites have become a place of help. Where answers and references are provided free of charge and personal contact can be made with Christians who have the training and expertise to help. This is an important aspect of this ministry, and our work in prisons and workshops continues to consume a large part of our energy and resources.
REASON 4: BECAUSE OF THE NEED TO STRENGTHEN OUR OWN FAITH.
No matter who we are, there are times in life when our faith is strained. Anyone who denies that is asking for Satan to come in and take over. Even the Apostle Paul expressed concern about this when he said “so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:27). I have had events in my life that shook my faith. When my son was born blind, mentally handicapped with cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, I struggled with my faith. When my wife of 49 years died, I struggled. When our faith is challenged and we weaken and have doubts there is a need to have our faith strengthened. We need to push our unbelief down and re-affirm why we believe what we believe.
Every once in a while I read someone else's book in apologetics or watch his DVD. Sometimes I look again at my own arguments to see if they still ring true with me. I go back to Paul's statement mentioned above and realize that if Paul could have his time of doubt and concern I will too. We need to keep reaffirming and strengthening what we believe to keep our own faith healthy and alive. This can be done in many ways. Sometimes I just have to sit still alone in a woods or on a lake and talk to God. But sometimes I need to be taught once again the primary evidence for God and Christ and the Christian way of life.
REASON 5: BECAUSE ETERNAL LIFE IS INVOLVED.
This is not just about good things here on earth. This is not just making up a philosophy that sustains me in a debate or in class. This is about the fact that one day I will stand before God and give an answer to how I have used all he has given me. I need all the help I can get, and sometimes I feel like the father of old who said to Jesus “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
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