Have you ever seen a debate between and atheist and a believer? By ‘believer’ I mean someone who believes in God. You will hear one question in the debate; ‘Can you prove that God exists?’ Or just a demand: ‘Prove it!’
So, how do we prove that God exists? How can we direct our lives by something that we invented?
These are atheist questions.
Something is happening among us, and it is scary. We are building prisons.
I used to work in a large university, and I think I was appreciated for my work. I wrote and published papers with colleagues and I spoke at conferences. I was also involved in an international organization with members from many schools, and they made me the coordinator of one department. I learned later that some of my papers were required reading in a graduate program. That surprised me.
I had a job and I worked hard at it. Academic work is not for geniuses who think better than the rest of us. It’s for people who dedicate themselves to a few ideas and work hard. The secret to success is hard work.
One time, I talked to the Dean in our Faculty and I asked if I had a chance to apply for a tenure-track position. That means I wanted to be a professor. Her answer came quickly; No. We only hire from outside, we don’t promote from within. I didn’t get into the details with her but the professors that I worked with knew I was a Christian. They knew that I had made a decision to follow Jesus, and they did not want to promote that. Those colleagues had their image to protect.
I had a chance if I kept quiet about my religion and pretended to be an atheist, or at least an agnostic who wasn’t sure. The problem is, I am sure and I don’t want to lie about it. I also had good friends with the same story. If you become a believer, if you open that door, you close other doors.
Jesus told us:
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:26)
One of my friends got tired of the academic game and she worked hard to earn a doctorate degree, and then found a job in a government department, where the rules were different. I think she’s happy with her choice.
I also have a story in the other side. When I was a young man, I spent all my money travelling, backpacking in Europe, and when I got home home, I was broke and I needed a place to stay. After a few months I was able to work and manage my money, and move out. I shared an apartment with my brother, who also wanted to start his adult life.
In the time when I lived with my family, I made friends in a small church. Those Christians were “Charismatic” and their meetings were more animated than meetings in my family church. I grew to like my new friends and they came to like me. It was all good until one of them called me on the phone. I am old enough to remember the time when we didn’t carry phones in our pockets.
Someone in my family answered the phone, at home, and took a message for me. When that person heard the name of the church, they answered “No one in this family goes to a church like yours.” My new friends never contacted me again, and I was told about the conversation later, by my family. The message to me, was that I was confined in a prison, a silo. I had foolishly spent all of my money, and I had to obey until I learned to hold down a job and manage my finances.
I was in a juvenile prison.
Years later, I worked in an academic prison.
The father of rational science, mathematics and physics, was Isaac Newton. Modern, atheistic scientists see him as the founder of their discipline. He is like the founder of their ‘religion’ but Isaac Newton is a puzzle to rational scientists today.
After he died, in 1727, his books were put in storage. Later someone bought his notebooks and read them, to see what the great man thought. The big surprise is, Isaac Newton was a very religious Christian. The father of rational atheistic thought worshipped God:
The puzzle is why we can’t see ourselves. Pretending to believe is important for success. Fit in with the atheists and agnostics in a university job, or go to the approved church and fit in. The only loss is yourself.
So, does God exist?
There is another question that must come first: Do I exist?
Am I free to choose?
Arguments about the existence of God have a secret message about restrictions on our freedom. We can’t step away from the tribe, and think for ourselves. We should see the prison bars in the forceful arguments. Someone wants us in their religion.
In the struggle to be free, I found a job to pay the bills, and I found a spiritual home, but it took years. Finally, I found my freedom and I made my choices.
Freedom feels so good.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40: 28 to 31)