3 Reasons Why to Bother with Belief in God

“Oh God, why bother?” “We could actually replace that ‘Oh God’ with anything,” Max Jeganathan says. “Sure; why bother with God; why bother being a Christian; but also, why bother with atheism? Why bother not believing in God?” Today on The Saturday Session, Max Jeganathan outlines three reasons why it’s in our best interests to bother with belief in God.

The thing we have to get past is this myth that there are certain things in the world that we can know for sure and need no faith about, and then other things that we can’t know at all and we need faith about that.

Maybe one of the reasons to bother is because one of the deepest intrinsic instincts and desires of the human heart, regardless of what we believe, is to know who we are and to know where we’re going.

Unless we first know who we are, it’s impossible to know where we’re going.

We do want people to have the freedom to believe whatever they want to believe, but if we take that to the next level then, and to say because people should have the right to believe what they want to believe, therefore all beliefs are equally true, then we make a huge logical mistake.

Truth can stand up to questioning…In fact, truth is the only thing that can stand up to questioning.

What Jesus is saying…is that truth is, at its primary core, not propositional in the way that we know it to be with our everyday lives; it’s actually personal.

The aversion to human suffering is absolutely everywhere.

Happiness is quite simply far too pathetic a reduction in the objectives of the human heart to make our final goal.

[Joy is] not emotional, it’s ontological. It’s actually not part of how you feel; it’s part of who you are.

This God came into the world, called Himself truth, and proved it by taking all the suffering onto him, going to the cross, dying for us, rising again from the dead, leaving propositional evidence, pointing to his personal evidence, ultimately anchored with the relational evidence.

Make it Personal

  • If truth is primarily personal, how does this fundamentally transform how we share the Gospel?

  • What does it look like to share (1) propositional evidence, (2) personal evidence, and also (3) relational evidence of the person of Christ?

  • How might you or how have you answered the objection of “why bother with belief in God?”

When a close friend told me not long ago “I don’t believe in God” I was deeply hurt. I took it very personally. Then a voice in my head said “This is God’s problem, not yours. You must keep on loving this person.”

Later I realised a couple of things about this incident. 1) My reaction in part was based on an assumption - that the God she didn’t believe in was the God I most definitely believe in - in other words there was/is a question of definition. What or who is God? 2) that reminded me that for many many years I myself have considered the word “god” to be a descriptor, or a title. Not a name. A god is that to which we give the highest place in our lives. It is that or whom we allow to determine our values, define our goals, motivate our decisions and actions - god is the thing or person that is most important in our lives. 3) And this led me to the realisation that my friend is deceiving herself - just as many many others do. For virtually everyone has a god in their lives, whether or not they acknowledge or realise it. God may be happiness, pleasure, (generally or of a specific kind), knowledge, financial security, material wealth, fame, good health, status and/or power. It may be “a cause,” an idea, or an interest. It may even be (or become) a person. In most cases, people also knowingly or unknowingly, believe they have the freedom to choose their god - which ultimately means they see themselves as the god-maker. As god-maker, they are in fact placing themselves “higher” than god, or in effect they see themselves as, or wish themselves to be god.

Therefore, “why bother with belief in god/God?” is self-evident: because whatever god you choose, knowingly or unknowingly, is what drives your life, its values, goals and for that matter it determines the nature of your relationships with others.

Being a matter or conscious or subconscious choice, your actual/real belief in god (that which drives your life) is by nature, personal.

My friend definitely has at least one major god in her life, and a few “minor ones”; unfortunately her god is not the one I know as my heavenly Father, as shown by His Son Jesus Christ.

I would postulate that virtually nobody consciously wants to be inherently false, inherently deceptive, untrue. Even when they lie or deceive consciously, most people would think they’re doing it in a “good cause” and in particular good for them, at least in the short term. In this sense, too, truth is “personal.”

If “god” and “truth” are primarily personal, then it is crucial in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, for me to know what these descriptors mean to the person with whom I’m sharing. Jesus, in his incarnation, and throughout his life, indeed in his very death, identified himself with men and women, to the extent that he shared their reality while simultaneously, demonstrating for and with them, the reality (truth) of God. He listened to people’s concepts, to their concerns, to their preconceived notions, and addressed them specifically. He backed up his claims and truth with grace, with acts kindness and healing. He never demanded of anyone a behaviour or a risk-taking that he wasn’t demonstrably willing to practise himself.

I don’t expect to be able to back up my statements about Jesus with “signs and wonders,” but I can bear witness to what He has done throughout my life, and hopefully my own character and behaviour will also have a bearing as evidence. I can listen to a person’s perception of “reality” and, guided by the Holy Spirit, provide a response that speaks to his or her inner need or sense of longing.

Genuine love remains surely the core of all truth (including what most people want to be the core value and substance of life and truth - reality). “Other-centred, self-sacrificial love” is by nature relational. It is also the core of the good news of Jesus Christ. It should be the core of my message to others.

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