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All human beings have faith. It may be in a philosophy, a religion, a historical figure, a political system, or a relationship. We all have faith in something. We also have more than one faith. I may have faith in America and faith in the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series. One does not exclude the other. Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's” (Matthew 22:21). The challenge that we all must consider is the basis for our faith. There are three different ways we come about faith.
The beliefs of our parents strongly influence us. I was an atheist because my parents were atheists. I was a Democrat because my parents were Democrats. I had Shetland sheepdogs because my family always had Shelties as I was growing up. When there was a conflict between my parents and me, it was usually because I resisted what they thought I should be and do.
The problem with an inherited faith is that you must assume that what you based your faith on is what is best for you. My family based their morality and important decisions in life on their atheist beliefs. Survival of the fittest was what my parents believed, and it was the basis for their moral choices. When I fell in love with a woman who was an insulin-dependent diabetic, my parents tried to stop me from marrying her. When I had a child born with severe disabilities, including blindness, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy, my parents believed the child should be “put away.” “That baby is not fit, and only the fit should survive” was the message of their faith. For some time, I was “disowned” because I did not share my parent's faith.
Intellectually we all know that an inherited faith does not work. Many people reject faith in God because their experience with the religion of their parents has been negative. Many young people tell me that they go to church “because it is a small price to pay for peace at home.” When they leave home, they leave their faith as well.
BLIND EMOTIONAL FAITH
The worst financial decision I have ever made was buying a time-share. We were brought into a conference by a group of people who had an emotional appeal that stampeded us into spending our savings on something that was not true. The salespeople lied to us about all the benefits of owning a time-share. Without checking out what they told us, we made a bad financial decision.
Many people buy into a religion on an emotional basis. It is not just the religious fanatic who moves us that way. It is also the promoter of atheism or of a philosophy. The problem is that the person who moved us emotionally has an ulterior motive for wanting us to buy into their philosophy, religion, or whatever they are selling. When time reveals that their sales pitch was without merit, our faith is damaged, and our response to that damage can be disastrous. Many times people who inherit the faith of their parents or are emotionally brought into the faith become atheists because their faith had no depth, so it did not work. Reading Psalms 10 and 13 can show us that even biblical giants like David struggled with this problem.
You should not accept a faith that is inherited or emotionally based. That is true of something you buy, of a philosophy, or of a religion.
Does it work? One of the unique things about Christianity is that it calls us to an evidential faith. Romans 1:20 tells us we can know there is a God through the things he has made. In Matthew 6:26-30, Jesus tells his listeners to look at the evidence. Psalm 19:1; 139:14; and Proverbs 8:1-11; 22-31 tell us to look at the evidence and think. Christians need to know the basis of their faith as 1 Peter 3:15 tells us. Acts 17:16-31 speaks of Paul explaining to the educated elite of his day, including the philosophers, why they should believe in Christ. John 11:16; 20:24-29 tell the story of a man who lost his faith. The response of Jesus was to give him solid evidence that restored his faith.
Do not listen to what anyone says. Look at the evidence. Do not fail to check out whether the things people are telling you produce a quality of life and a hope for the future. I left atheism because when life got hard, and I was no longer “the fittest,” my atheistic faith did not work. It also did not work for my family and my atheistic friends and coworkers who were and are not now happy people. Our society is full of selfish, miserable people who exploit one another and find nothing but misery and frustration.
This ministry exists to help people find evidence. Do not listen to me, but seek out the evidence. Our doesgodexist.org website can help you do that. We have nothing to sell and no personal gain from whatever you decide. But in the words of Joshua, “… choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, … But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
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Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.