Every time I talk about following Jesus to a specific friend of mine who declares himself agnostic, he says he doesn’t believe in Jesus because he hasn’t seen proof. To this, we dive into the fact that technically you can’t prove anything and that the world requires faith—whether it relates to belief in a deity or belief in what you read in the newspaper. We agree on this, which is fantastic.
So, we move on. If everything is a matter of faith, then, why do we believe some things and discard others? Is it because we have more “proof” for one matter and less proof for another? I don’t think so, especially because we don’t have time to weigh and measure the sheer amount of proof for one thing or another. Therefore, we’re left with something a little different, a little better in my opinion. We’re left with trust. Consequently, trust is awfully close to truth, and the two are intertwined so intimately that they’ll never be separated.
In fact, if you think about it, we believe every fact in the world based off of our trust in people, websites, books, senses, stats, experiments, and so on. Without trust, we’d doubt everything and lose our sanity. So we trust things as fact even though theoretically we can’t prove them. Now, the fact that every human was made to trust something outside of themselves is truly remarkable because it shows we were made for relationships.
But enough talk on mere beliefs and truths and facts and trust. The meat of this matter can be pinned upon morality. For you see, if we were perfect and holy, we’d tell the truth, people would trust this truth, and the truth would be passed on to people even if they couldn’t see it. The truth would live on and never be distorted. However, this is obviously not the case. In turn, we have evil and perversion, and where the truth should shine, it is instead twisted into lies and passed on by our selfish motives to rise above others for our own gain. But this selfish desire does not end with triumphing over man. Instead, it continues onward to God himself. Our evil desire tells us we can be better than perfection itself and that God is no ruler over us. Our morality and level of trust is then skewed, and paradise is lost.
Working with this method, though, we can now see why people such as my friend doubt such a loving, life-changing, hopeful, and positive person and God such as Jesus Christ. Jesus even says himself, “The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil” (John 7:7). My friend hates this fact. Because if he’s done evil, it means he’s not perfect, isn’t the ultimate authority in his life, and, once realizing his faults, should work to change his lifestyle. But change is hard. Picking up a cross and following Jesus isn’t easy. It’s simple—and it’s not about what we do—but what Jesus does for us should still lead us to produce fruit and become more like him.
One of the coolest things about Jesus and the Good News is that Jesus doesn’t just accuse everyone of being evil and punishes them. Instead, as John 3:17 points out, “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” This means:
We did bad things so we deserve justice and punishment + Jesus = Jesus taking the punishment for us, which in turn grants justice and mercy, giving us a second chance while still being full of goodness and fairness.
Isn’t Jesus so good?
So the next time you’re about to get into a heated debate with someone about the existence of God, remember that it isn’t about battling the existence and proof of something we can’t prove. From a neutral standpoint, atheists can’t prove God doesn’t exist, and we can’t prove God does exist. It’s about the heart. It’s about our battle with the flesh and the spirit, and only a battle Jesus can win. I pray my friend would realize this, and I continue to love him and show him how Jesus already paid the price for his failures. The realization of our faults is the first step toward walking in freedom through Christ.