April 13, 2012

The Existing God

Something I wrote a while back then.

Sept 1, 2009. Woah I've never realised that Facebook has done a very great job in storing my life documentation. I wrote this on my Fb notes and published it in my old blog, which is pretty much nonexistent now.

2009 was the year I got converted. A self-proclaimed agnostic turns into a believer. I remembered the initial rush of falling in love in Him. It was soooo amazing and until now, He's been faithful :)

I remember, at this time period I was so hooked with many books about Christianity. The topic that attracts me the most is the logical arguments and hypotheses surrounding God.

God. Always been, and always be the most notorious subject of debate.

The Existing God

Hey there. So yeah, I’ve been reading this book about Christianity, titled I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist written by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek. It was published in 2004 so the book’s been circulating for a great 5 years. Their writing has been a wonderful blessing to those who’re curious enough to seek answers and have doubts on religions (specially on Christianity) and God related issues.

Above all, it’s an exceptional book that does nothing but strengthen my newborn faith on Christianity. If you’re a skeptic or atheist, worry not for there are millions of people out there who stand exactly on the same ground as yours. We demand truth and we seek answers to questions on almost everything. Yet with all our limitations as a mere human being those ceaseless search will tire us off and confuse us even more! Even the great Einstein can’t answer everything.

Anyhow, I just wanna share this pretty cool passage in the book p41-44. I find it very entertaining.

Keep in mind that the main issue is on the existence of God. Not on Christianity as the truest amongst all (at times I still have some quandaries on this glaring statement), or blaming one set of belief just because I strongly believe in another set. The purpose’s only to share my opinions and point of views, cause we all wear our unique, individual, rose-tinted glasses.

Evangelical Christians believe that they ought to obey Jesus' command to make disciples of all nations. Thus, in order to help Christians carry out this Great Commission, Mr Kennedy created a door-to-door evangelism technique called Evangelism Explosion. If you're a Christian, the EE technique allows you to quickly ascertain where a person is spiritually. After introducing yourself, you are to ask questions like these to the person answering the door:

1. Can I ask you a spiritual question?

2. If you were to die tonight and stand before God, and God were to ask you, 'Why should I let you into my heaven?', what would you say?

Most people are curious enough to say yes to Q1.
If they ask you back, "What do you mean by a spiritual question?" you go ahead and ask them the second question.

As for Q2, the EE manual predicts that the non-Christian will usually give the good works answer. You know, something like, "God will accept me because I’m basically a good person. I haven’t killed anybody; I go to church; I give to the poor..."

In that case, the EE manual tells you to respond with the gospel (literally the good news): That everyone (including you) have fallen short of God’s perfect standard, and no good work can erase the fact that you’ve already sinned. But the good news is that you can be saved from punishment by trusting in Christ, who was punished in your place.

While this technique has been very successful, some non-Christians do not respond to the two questions as expected. And here the writer (Mr Norman) with a fellow of his church member decided to take EE to the streets in one evening. Mind you, I laughed hard reading this conversation.

Knock, Knock.

"Who's there?" (A man came to the door.)

I stuck out my hand and said, "Hi! My name is Norm Geisler, this is my partner, Ron, and we’re from the church at the end of the street."

"I'm Don," the man replied, his eyes quickly sizing us up.

Immediately I jumped into action with Q1: "Don, do you mind if we ask you a spiritual question?"

"No, go ahead," Don said boldly, apparently eager to give a Bible thumper for dessert.

I laid Q2 on him: "Don, if you were to die tonight and stand before God, and God were to ask you, 'Why should I let you into my heaven?' what would you say?"

Don snapped back, "I'd say to God, 'Why shouldn’t you let me into your heaven?'"

Gulp.. He wasn’t supposed to say that! I mean, that answer wasn’t in the book!

After a split second of panic, I offered up a quick prayer and replied, "Don, if we knocked on your door seeking to come into your house, and you said to use, 'Why should I let you into my house?' and we responded, 'Why shouldn’t you let us in?' what would you say?"

Don pointed his finger at my chest and sternly replied, "I would tell you where to go!"

I immediately shot back, "That's exactly what God is going to say to you!"

Don looked stunned for a second but then narrowed his eyes and said, "To tell you the truth: I don't believe in God. I’m an atheist."

"You’re an atheist?"

"That’s right!"

"Well, are you absolutely sure there is no God?" I asked him.

He paused, and said, "Well, no, I’m not absolutely sure. I guess it's possible there might be a God."

"So you're not really an atheist, then you're an agnostic­," I informed him, "because an atheist says, 'I know there is no God,' and an agnostic says 'I don't know whether there is a God.'"

"Yeah . . . alright; so I guess I'm an agnostic then," he admitted.

Now this was real progress. With just one question we moved from atheism to agnosticism! But I still had to figure out what kind of agnostic Don was.

So I asked him, "Don, what kind of agnostic are you?"

He laughed as he asked, "What do you mean?" (He was probably thinking, "A minute ago, I was an atheists―I have no idea what kind of agnostic I am now!")

"Well, Don, there are two kind of agnostics," I explained. "There's the ordinary agnostic who says he doesn't know anything for sure, and then there's the ornery agnostic who says he can't know anything for sure."

Don was sure about this. He said, "I'm the ornery kind. You can't know anything for sure."

Recognizing the self-defeating nature of his claim, I unleashed the Road Runner tactic­­­­ by asking him, "Don, if you say that you can't know anything for sure, then how do you know that for sure?"

Looking puzzled, he said, "What do you mean?"

Explaining it another way, I said, "How do you know for sure that you can’t know anything for sure?"

I could see the lightbulb coming on but decided to add one more point: "Besides, Don, you can't be a skeptic about everything because that would mean you'd have to doubt skepticism; but the more you doubt skepticism the more sure you become."

He relented. "Okay, I guess I really can know something for sure. I must be an ordinary agnostic."

Now we were really getting somewhere. With just a few questions, Don had moved from atheism through ornery agnosticism.

I continued, "Since you admit now that you can know, why don't you know that God exists?"

Shrugging his shoulders, he said, "Because nobody has shown me any evidence, I guess."

Now I launched the million-dollar question: "Would you be willing to look at some evidence?"

"Sure," he replied.

This it the best type of person to talk to: Someone who is willing to take an honest look at the evidence. Being willing is essential. Evidence cannot convince the unwilling.

Since Don was willing, we gave him a book by Frank Morrison titled Who Moved the Stone? Morison was a skeptic who set out to write a book refuting Christianity but instead became convinced by the evidence that Christianity was indeed true.

Yeap that’s it. I sort of laugh myself off reading this conversation solely because I can imagine myself as Don, being asked those questions and answered them in a similar manner few months ago. I have never been an atheist in my life, afterall. But I’ve had a period of agnosticism (the ornery one) for quite a time. Even till now, there are many issues on Christianity’s teachings that I’m still struggling with (so does every other Christian on earth.) Nonetheless I’m very much certain that the answer will appear on its own as time goes by, when I’m ready and able to handle the load of responsibility that comes with knowing the truth.

Atheists, I may say, need to realize that their strong belief in the non-existence of God actually amounts to an identical belief system as those who follow a particular religion. Buddhists believe in Buddha and reincarnation, Muslims believe in Mohammad, Christians believe in Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity. Atheists, believe in their own trinity: I, me, and myself.

Skeptics, well, take a step forward. Get out of the probability system and seek answers to your uncertainties. We’ve been living in an era where everything’s deemed possible, where multiple belief systems is considered okay and greater moral tolerance needs to be practiced even if some ridiculous contradictory notions are presented to us. Parallel to science, be open-minded toward evidence, weighs the pros and contras then stand on your ground, receptive to new ideas that might challenge your firm stance.

Truth is not a relative term. Do not undermine truth and twist it around to accommodate our convenience.

My major breakthrough is that I choose to have faith in God's existence, and make a lifelong commitment to discover more about Him.

What about you? :) 

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