The Choice to Listen
I met someone recently and got into a deep conversation about their background from the Christian faith and the choice to not believe in the Christian God. Though their parents and grandparents are those who evangelize for people to come to Church and follow Christ, that person, over the years in life, decided that the Bible does not have enough proof to show that creation and miracles are from a supernatural God but is a mere coincidence. This person also went on to say that the Bible is full of contradictions and does not correspond in timelines, whereas science with the help of paleontology, carbon dating and geology is more accurate.
This kind of person, is someone I have seen on TV and heard about in my circle of friends but this is the first time that someone would be that open to define their rationing behind why they don’t believe in a God but would rather believe in science. Talking to this person, I had two options. I could either shut down the conversation or continue the conversation to go further into understanding where this thinking finds roots. Many of us Christians, are usually taught to defend our faith by proving that the miracles in the Bible are an act of the supernatural God and make the person agree that it was not mere coincidence by which this earth came to form. So following that pattern was option one or two, just listen and make them my friend.
I chose option two because I just didn’t feel like having an argument. As simple as that. I was curious to learn why science has more weightage than religion, to that person. What does science prove that religion doesn’t? We talked about several things like creation, the passage of time on earth, the great events, possibility of other species and so on but in that were also questions like why do bad things happen to good people, the question of free will and questions on sexuality and morality. The very same questions that we as Christians ask.
It was a profound moment because no matter one’s belief in God, we are all asking the same questions, wanting meaning in our life. One who has found God, or so called “believers in Christ” after thousands of years, ask the same questions, and so does someone who believes in science. If that’s the case, what makes us different and separates us into pockets and categories to being a certain kind of believer? We as Christians talk about God, mass evangelize, and are aggressive about making disciples but how many times can we sit down and answer these basic questions without being self righteous? How many times can we be human, understand the other person’s perspective and agree that there are some things we cannot prove and that taking that leap of faith is so flippin’ difficult. There are some things that are beyond human comprehension but in the place of that, and in the mean time, what do we say or do?
Believing in science, I don’t think, is all a bad thing. I think we all must believe in something but the line to where it becomes negative is something we should be mindful of. The only question I was asking myself through that whole conversation is why can’t one believe in a God, in science, in technology and experience the freedom in their culture? Why should we be focused on just one system and disregard the findings of other systems? Is God not present in other systems? Is He that limited that He won’t move in circles that are under His creation?
I just could not shut down a big/deep argument like this. I stayed quiet because I wanted to listen. There were times, I did not know the answer, but that didn’t mean I agreed with their conclusions. At times, I would counter with more questions because I didn’t understand the reasoning as to where those theories were coming from. Thinking about it now, it didn’t seem like a sign of weakness but just a time to go deeper into the base of where this argument was coming from. I don’t believe in blaming God because people are horrible. People do some bad things because they have wrong motivations, even if they call themselves “a child of God.” I do believe people can be bad without any work from the devil but I also believe in the power of silence when it is required. If we, as well as other humans who do not want to take part in our Christian faith are asking the same questions, then there is something wrong in our fundamental practice to believing in the Christian God. If we say that our God can do certain things, then we must be able to back it up, not only with the word but also with science, technology, history, culture, and evolution that Christian teachings offer. If we are not able to, then we must be able to relate with the underlying yearning for truth that is present in all humans and re-learn our faith.
There is something about learning new thought systems. It is fascinating to see where these thoughts come from as I have found that they are mostly from the same place that makes every other person ask the tough questions- the search for meaning and truth that must satisfy our life. We are all hurt and see life differently. Some take it harder than others but when we all sit down for a cup of coffee, and talk about these things, I think the true meaning of the Christian God, becomes more evident to those those who truly walk in faith.
3 Replies to “The Choice to Listen”
Hey, this is something I learnt from Frank Turek — he would’ve learnt it from somewhere else. If someone backs science as an excuse to not believing in God (he/she must be an atheist or an agnostic). Always root back to Time, Matter & Space — fundamentals of science — without which humanity and every other thing that constitutes the universe would never have existed. If this is the case, a creator needs to be present and should be there to fine tune the universe in such a way that we could be born, lives our lives and die. So the creator needs to be immaterial, spaceless and timeless. I think that’s why we need relentless faith to pursue the unseen. [John 20v29 …..Blessed are those who believe without seeing me]
Mam, you are asking us to listen to atheists. Done. But for what purpose? To ask the same questions? To think like so-called-Christians? To doubt Jesus Christ because science couldn’t explain Him? Remember, we listen to other belief systems to guide them to see it doesn’t exist and never to acknowledge that such a system is possible too. No matter what science does, it couldn’t explain the tiniest fraction of how gravity functions, how a human life suddenly starts to have a heartbeat in the womb, how one day it suddenly stops without a hope of repair and so much more. Science is like a small capsule trying to contain the whole universe inside it. And, logically, it can’t.
Not the point.
Listening or hearing from your peers and learning from their experiences is a sign of maturity.
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