Original sin, eternal damnation, tortured souls, predestination—each of these is an idea or issue that has flamed into controversy over the centuries. How can a person believe in a loving God who sends people to hell? Why do Christians believe they are the only ones who are right and worthy of heaven?
My mind tracks two recent conversations that merge into these shared thoughts. I alluded to the one in the previous post, the conversation between my friend Ken and me while riding bicycles. The other was with David, an “agnostic atheist,” through the comment’s section of another blog.
For many, these questions cripple any belief or trust in a living, personal God. The answers fall flat in their estimation. And I would agree that answers are insufficient to generate belief. In fact, having the right answer to a question doesn’t mean I’ll live out the acknowledged truth.
Whoa! Wait a dad-blame minute. You lost me on that one.
Okay, okay. Let me give you an example. Most of my adult life, if you’d been bold enough to ask me about my weight, I would have admitted, “I’m a little overweight.”
My doctor knew it. My wife knew it. One look at me and you would have known it. In fact, my wife said yesterday, “You were obese.”
Obese? Ouch! That I didn’t know. A little pudgy, sure.
I knew the answer to losing weight—burn more calories than you consume. For the entire time that I remained pudgy (obese sounds so, so…well, fat), I knew how to lose weight. I had the right answer. I just didn’t live it.
So knowing the answer to a question doesn’t mean I’ll apply it. Knowledge alone won’t cut it.
On the other hand, I don’t think my faith is illogical. I remember reading about one person’s conversion as “the sudden rush of reason.”
The logical C. S. Lewis wrote of his own conversion: “You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”*
My faith is not unreasonable. It engages my mind.
But as I pedaled and conversed with Ken, as I mustered up arguments in the back-and-forth comments with David, I recalled one simple fact. In January 1972, with no initiative, effort or desire of my own, I encountered…
…not an issue.
…not an answer.
…not a controversy.
…not a religion.
…not a historical fact.
…but a person.
In fact, the Person.
The ONE who…
…calls me by name.
I encountered Him.
He engaged my heart.
And I opened it to His presence, power, and influence.
And my mind followed.
Question: If you follow Jesus Christ, what brought you to faith in Him and initiated your journey?
*Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis, pp. 228-229