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People are migrating away from religion at an unprecedented rate—Christianity in particular. Once upon a time, people believed religion offered solutions. Today, many people view religion as the problem.
In this 6-part series, Andy Stanley addresses this tension and sets a foundation for faith that will stand up to the rigors of the real world. DOWNLOAD ONLY
More Americans than ever are backing away from religion . . . and God. Not because atheism is attractive, but because religion is unattractive. Religion is seen as the problem. It’s thought of as a source of conflict and violence. So, it’s worth asking the question: Who Needs God? Psalm 119:30
Everyone has religious doubts. Certain things about God are unsettling. Our circumstances can make God seem distant or vengeful. Science can make God seem unnecessary. Those doubts can cause us to abandon faith. But maybe our perspectives are wrong. Maybe the gods we abandon never existed to begin with.
Faith in No Testament gods— the bodyguard god, on-demand god, boyfriend god, guilt god, anti- science god, gap god, and angry-Old-Testament god—leads to unmet expectations, childhood explanations, ill-informed interpretation, and blatant manipulation. We invent these “gods” based on expectations we put on the true God. That’s an irrational way to determine if God is real. 1 John 4:8
Do you find some of the Bible’s stories about God unsettling? Do you ever wonder how you can trust Jesus if it requires you to believe everything in the Bible is true? Does Christianity seem like a fragile house of cards that may tumble down in the face of scientific or archeological discovery? Before you abandon your faith, it’s worth exploring this question: What if the Bible isn’t the foundation of the Christian faith?
Before the Old and New Testaments were combined and called the Bible, the debate about the Christian faith centered on an event, not a book. We believe Jesus rose from the dead, but not because the Bible says so. We believe because of the testimony of eyewitnesses who gave up everything— including their lives—because of their confidence in Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:13–14
Are you caught between doubt and despair because you’ve been trying to worship the bodyguard god, on-demand god, boyfriend god, guilt god, anti-science god, gap god, or angry-Old-Testament god? If big-G God has lost his appeal because you’ve mixed him up with a gaggle of little-g gods who don’t exist, then how can you know what God is really like?
If you could see God just once, wouldn’t it settle your fears, give you assurance, and motivate you to hold firm in your faith? If you want to know what God says, listen to Jesus. If you want to know what God is up to, watch Jesus. If you want to have a closer relationship with God, follow Jesus. John 14:7-11; John 4:24; Luke 11:2; 1 John 14:6
We all want to rid the world of injustice. But we can only recognize injustice if we know what justice is to begin with. But maybe the best way to rid the world of injustice is to rid the world of God. We don’t always agree about what is just. So, who gets to define justice if not God? When God is gone, injustice leaves with him because justice leaves with him.
If anyone had a reason to stop believing in God because of injustice, it was Jesus. The man who stands at the center of all we believe was treated extraordinarily unfairly. The man who taught us all people have inherent value was executed. The man whose definition of good and just informs your definitions of good and just was treated unjustly. Evil and injustice are not arguments against the existence of God. They are evidence of our need for his mercy and grace. 1 John 4:7-8; John 12:47; Luke 18:7-8
We all want to be masters of our own destinies. We all want to feel in control of our lives. The idea of autonomy is attractive. It makes life feel ordered and predictable. But our desire for automony can stand in the way of faith. One of the biggest barriers to belief in God is that we don’t want to believe because we don’t want to need anyone. But what if autonomy is an illusion?
Don’t let the illusion of autonomy stand in the way of a relationship with your heavenly Father. Don’t be turned away from God by the prospect that his existence means you’re guilty, accountable, and wrong. Acknowledging your sin and reaching out to God doesn’t lead to condemnation. It opens the door to forgiveness, relationship, and truth. Romans 5:8; James 4:8-10