Today: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Obstacles to faith: are we all crazy?    (8/18/2013 )

Over the past 10 weeks, we’ve been looking at some of the main reasons people might give for refusing to consider Christianity — or even any faith at all. Some say religions cause war; others say the Church is sexist. Some feel the Church treats homosexuals badly; some think that what we now know about science makes the whole idea of having a faith ridiculous. You can read these articles by clicking on 'archive' in the toolbar above. 

And yet…

  • Christianity is the largest religion in the world today
  • There are currently 2.18 billion Christians around the world
  • That’s almost a third of the estimated 2010 global population
  • The number of Christians around the world has nearly quadrupled in the last 100 years
  • Since the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly, Christians make up about the same portion of the world’s population today (32%) as they did a century ago (35%).

So a third of all the people on the planet today choose to put their faith in Jesus Christ. Are these people all deluded, or crazy? Are they racist, homophobic, violent, sexist bigots? Of course, some of them may be. But not a third of the population.

Despite everything we now know about the way the universe works, from teeny quarks to immense galaxies, a third of us believe there is something — someone — beyond all that. Many of them are even leading scientists, who understand that science and faith are in no way incompatible.

Many of them recognise that people can do all sorts of good and bad things in the name of religion — but that they aren’t God, and don’t always speak or act according to his will.

They are ALL people who have, at some point, taken the first tentative steps towards getting to know God. Perhaps they think they reached out to him, but actually he reached out to them first, and they responded. Some of those contact points were dramatic, or supernatural; many were quiet, gentle and slow. Sometimes it was very obvious that God was speaking directly; sometimes God spoke through other people, issues or events. In the same way, God is reaching out to you. He’s reaching out to everyone.

But God also gave us free will. We have the right to listen, or to cover our ears. We have the right to turn to him, or to turn our backs. God won’t force the issue.

So what matters is our response. God loved us first; we don’t have to go earn it. We don’t have to go looking; he’s already right here. We don’t have to do anything much at all; God already did it, on the cross. All we have to do is accept it. Believe and accept.

A third of the people on earth already believe, and want to accept that love and salvation. They can’t all be crazy. What’s your response?

Pray: Lord, open my eyes and ears to hear you. Help me to understand the truth about you. Amen.

Think about: The difference between Christianity and a philosophy or belief system is that Christianity is built on relationship — it’s not just a bunch of rules or routines. People who explore Christianity decide to stay with it because they discover that this relationship exists, and is real, and is reliable. What holds you back from being in a relationship with God?

Challenge: Read this parable which Jesus told. What does it tell you about the nature of God?

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