Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Christian Knowledge of Nonbelievers

    There was a recent quiz posted among a few friends on Facebook that was being used by news outlets as a picture of religious knowledge by different groups of people (quiz can be found here:  The quiz itself is comprised of questions of religious nature spanning everything from Christianity to Judaism.  I took the quiz after seeing some of my friends' scores and I made a 100%.  Now I don't say this to be boastful, but to add to my point.  The story associated with the quiz states that the Atheist/Agnostic groups (groups were separated by beliefs) were the highest scoring individuals that took the quiz.  The question is: why?  Of course, from a statistical standpoint, one could say that the surveyed group is not a true representation of the population as a whole, but is that really true?  How many Christians do you know that could make a decent score on a quiz of this nature?  How many could make a decent score using simple questions straight from the Bible? 
    My main realization was that atheists and agnostics spend much more time in study of religious items in order to defend their position than Christians spend reading, studying the Bible, and praying to spread the Gospel (which, by the way, is the great commission).  I was atheist for 13 years.  I denied the Truth I knew, but refused to accept.  Not only did I deny this Truth, but I also studied feverishly to defend my position.  Strange isn't it?  Atheists and agnostics feel it necessary to be more studied in religions in order to defend their position.  Why do you suppose that is?  I say this not as a generality, but from personal experience.  Myself and the people I associated with that were atheist or agnostic knew quite a bit about the Bible and other religions and continuously studied more and more.  Looking back now, I can see why I did it.  Was it because I knew I would be challenged constantly and wanted to back up my belief (or lack of)?  Sort of.  That was definitely part of it, and to be honest, especially in Alabama.  However, I think the main reason I did it was not to prove that God didn't exist or to back my position, but rather a search for Him.  I guess I wanted to come across something so much to prove myself wrong.  So that I would have no choice but to relinquish my pride and accept what I wanted so much.  I didn't know I wanted it at the time.  I remember seeing someone full of the Spirit and who loved God, and wanting the light in their eyes, wanting the joy in their heart, wanting the purpose of their lives.  I studied religion to find God. 
    Some of my friends who are Christians have asked me how they should approach their atheist or agnostic friends with the Gospel.  The truth is, I would just be with them.  Show them by example.  Let them see the light in your eyes.  Let them see the joy in your heart.  Let them see.....Christ....Christ In You.  That is how you approach them.  Also, talk to them.  Calmly.  If they want to discuss religion, Christianity, God, or anything, then discuss it with them.  I remember as an atheist trying to talk to Christians experiencing many rejections.  This was in part to the Christians fear that I would convince them God did not exist.  They were so insecure and doubtful in their faith, and all I wanted them to do was convince me that He was real.  That He did love me, and show me how to get that light in their eyes, that I did not have.  Does a study like this disturb me and make me lose faith in the Christian community?  No.  On the contrary, it gives me faith.  It gives me faith that the Atheists and agnostics are searching for God.  They are searching and all we have to do is show them He is there, and He loves them.  We show His love by loving them.  Show them you care, and show them that YOU are there for them, and they will see Christ in you.  One thing we have to realize is that we may not see the result.  We may not see them accept Christ.  Do not be discouraged.  God's time.  God's plan.

God Bless

Monday, September 27, 2010

Testing Me

    I got up to my alarm clock at 4:30 AM and started getting ready for work.  About midway through my "getting ready" routine, I heard the sound of thunder from outside the house.  I basically did a mental shrug of the shoulders, confident in my driving ability and lacking in fear of storms in general, and went on about my morning.  There have been few times driving in the rain when I have actually questioned my ability to keep going.  I see multiple people on the side of the road waiting for the rain to let up, but I press on in my stubborness and perceived invincibility.  This morning was different.  It began to rain so hard on interstate 565 that I could not see the road in front of me, much less any car that would be brave enough to lead this blind driver.  I actually felt fear for the first time in this situation.  I, of course, calmed myself and restated my firm belief in my driving ability.  Upon reaching my destination, I went about my routine of grabbing my bag and going into my office.  It wasn't until I sat down that the thought, feeling, and utter shock set in: I wasn't paying attention.  I completely ignored everything around me and pressed on so I would make it to work on time.  Would it have made a difference if I would have been a few minutes late? No.  Why did I do this?  Even more worrisome is during the whole experience, I never once asked God for protection or asked Him if I should pull over. 
    I think this is an analogy for our lives in general.  I know it is for my life.  At Epic Church we are doing a 60-60 experiment where we are reminded every 60 minutes, by a watch that beeps, that God is with us.  This is wonderful and definitely has helped me develop a closer relationship with God; however, I think one of my main problems is not only knowing that He is with me, but also that He is in control.  He is in control and I am NOT.  I constantly rely on myself to fix things.  From relationships to finances, I only trust myself with taking care of things.  It is so hard just to let go, follow His voice, and trust that He will provide what He wants me to have.  I didn't stop in the rain or even try to assess the situation because I was trusting myself like I have so many times before and like I do every single day. 
    Now I give this example and point this out not to give some magnificent fix or tool to remedy this issue, but to point it out in my life so that I can see it and openly express it.  I need to trust Him with EVERYTHING.  Not just with blessing my food, not just with leading my study of His word, not just with major decisions He has put in front of me, but EVERYTHING.  How do I plan to do this?  Give up.  I know that sounds strange and in complete contrast to what one might exect, but it is the only way.  I will give everything up to Him.  I will give up trying to control my life.  I will give up trying to trust myself to fix things.  I will give everything to Him so that, WITH Him, my life will be controlled.  I will give everything to Him so that, WITH Him, His will is the focus instead of my own.