I have been a Christian for a very long time. I enjoy arguing for the truth of my faith. However, I run into a lot of trouble when it comes to doubt. I have read many of the articles on your site talking about things like, "Why Isn't the Evidence Clearer?" The problem that I have is that it is difficult to fully devote myself to the Lord in the presence of the plausibility of His non-existence. I believe there is very good evidence for the historical reliability of the scripures and so forth but there is such a huge possibility still open for this not to be true. Just because there is a reliable historical record about something doesn't make that thing true. It just seems that the every day experience that I have as a Christian can be interpreted in any number of ways. In fact many other people of other antithetical religions to Christianity and schools of thought explain answered prayer and things like that in seemingly acceptable ways. It seems that to simply say that our evidence is the "best" isn't good enough. I know I have made mistakes about things that I believe in the past because I wan't careful enough about examining the arguments against it. Therefore I think that it is possible that there are other ways to interpret my beliefs.
Lots of people struggle with doubt, so you are in good company.
You're right, it is POSSIBLE that other religions and other worldviews may explain what happens in life. It's possible there is no God and we are all one giant cosmic accident (except that we wouldn't be a giant accident, we would be a small, insignificant, meaningless accident, right?). It's possible there is no heaven, that we all go into another life form in reincarnation. These things are, indeed, possible.
My challenge to you is, what evidence can you find that these explanations are better than the revelation from God in the Bible? Don't just look at it in your own head, thinking, "Oh yeah, that could be true." Actively pursue the evidence for the truth of alternate worldviews.
If your biggest problem is that it's possible God doesn't exist, then you might want to explore other expressions of Christianity. Is it possible that you have only been in churches where people live in their heads, like many Baptist or Bible churches? Do you have any experience with supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit? Do you have any experience with churches that truly understand the depth of reverence and holiness in worship?
I have a hunch that your problem may well be that your God is too small. That you have only had a peek at the true God, the God who is a consuming fire as well as a passionate Lover as well as one who speaks in a still, small voice.
I suggest you start seeing what else you can learn of God's heart and personality and experience by trying different types of Christian churches. Go to a charismatic or pentecostal church if you've never done that. Go find a Catholic or Episcopalian church where the leadership knows Christ and seeks to make Him known. If you've never known a church with excellent Bible teaching, try that. Especially look for a church with deeply meaningful worship where people are intentionally and effectively drawn into greater intimacy with Jesus Christ. Get outside the box of your experience up to this point. And at the same time, ask God to reveal Himself to you in ways you've never seen or heard or experienced.
Is it possible there's no one there to answer? Sure. But if that is the case, why is there such a deep longing to know Him? We have stomachs because of food, and we have eyes because there is so much to see. . . and we have longing hearts because God made us for Himself.
I hope this helps. I send this with a prayer that the God Who is there will touch you in such a deeply intimate part of your heart that you will KNOW He is there.
About the Author
Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Tapestry Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075