I No Longer Believe in the God of the Bible – 5th and Final Part

Angry God

This is the 5th and final part of the series “I No Longer Believe in the God of the Bible.”  See Parts 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. This started when an old acquaintance of mine I met in church told me that He no longer believes in the God of the Bible. He said he no longer believes Jesus rose from the dead and he said he de-converted from Christianity.

He has also written a book about what led him to his new way of thinking.  He and I are still in conversation about how he came to be where he is and he is aware that I am using his materials in a Bible class I teach and in this blog.

Part 1 of this series was from a chapter in his book.  Part 2 is the beginning to my response to his chapter.  Part 3 is a continuation and talks about the purpose of sin and how God is developing us. Part four is about the role of the Judgment. And finally part five takes a step back from faith and looks at why it is rational to believe in Jesus as the one to put your faith in.

At this time I will not use my acquaintances real name.  We call him Billy.

Earlier I said I was not a real science buff, but I believe the average person can learn a lot about the working of the brain from simple observation.

A lot has been written about left and right brain thinking. There does seem to be many dualities in the created world.  Examples like male/female, good/bad, internal/external, truth/lie, life/death, law/grace etc. etc. abound all around us.

I would rename the dual approaches the brain takes to rational or spiritual.  Rational thinking tends to deal with the known, where spiritual deals with the unknown.  Rational thinking does not speculate about the unknown.

When you speculate about the unknown, you move into faith and spirituality thinking.  This is not limited to religious people either, and I would say some scientists have developed what I would call a scientific religion based around their theories of the unknown. Though they would never call it a religion, they have placed their faith in what to them is their best guess to explain the unknown. And some of their theories take a tremendous amount of faith to believe. More faith than I could have.

Unfortunately, modern society has elevated the value of rational thinking over spiritual thinking. To me rational thinking is a low level basic way to think.  It is beneficial for our routine decisions, but is very limiting when it comes to what is unknown.

In many ways spiritual faith based thinking insults and embarrasses the rational side of the brain because it does not rely on known facts. My guess is that is why so many people are reluctant to express their spiritual and faith based thoughts.   

However, I don’t think Spiritual faith based thinking has slowed down much. I think that all great innovators engage in spiritual thinking. Where does inspiration and ideas come from in the first place? This is another mystery of the brain and I don’t think it odd that many innovators say an idea simply popped into their head and they followed the path to a discovery.  This sounds like God to me.

My observation is that rational thinking has killed more projects and business ideas than any other thing.  When that which is known doesn’t add up and decision makers can not see with the eyes of faith, they reject ideas. Spiritual thinkers believe that even though the rationale doesn’t yet exist, a way will be found.  Therefore, these faith thinkers plow ahead on their businesses to innovate and create.

A simple example of this would be the person on the top of a cliff considering jumping off the cliff.  The rational brain would say this is irrational since rocks below will kill you.  The spiritual thinker says I believe I can figure a way to jump off the cliff without killing myself.  Of course, a thousand years ago this idea might have been absurd.  Today, not so absurd and we see people safely jumping off cliffs with parachutes and hand gliders and other contraptions. The first to do it had to set aside rational thinking and have faith it was possible.

I believe God created both sides of our brain for our good. The rational brain develops naturally with experience, but thinking spiritually is more of a practiced way of thinking.

Though I continue to make a case for spirituality and faith, I also believe it is very rational to believe in Jesus.  The rational reasons are really too many to number in such a short article, but obviously the prospects for an unbeliever being wrong in his conclusions are devastating for sure.

The rational reason I want to focus on is happiness in this life. Much has been said and written about the connection between meaning and happiness.  The general consensus is that for a person to be happy, her life must have meaning. 

Even the atheist will tell you that life has meaning.  The life of a tree, the earthworm, the human all have meaning.  One is as meaningful as the other because they exist. The atheist will say, enjoy this life as much as you can.  It is all there is.  This 70 -80 years means everything.

Regarding the meaning to life, something very special came along after 4000 years of human history with the entrance of Jesus.  He became the God who now said he loved you so much that He was willing to die for you, so you could experience eternal life with Him.

Now, what is so special about that as it relates to happiness?  What is so special about that is that He redefined your value.  Human life went from being relatively cheap to now it is as valuable as the life of God Himself.

Since Jesus, the value of human life skyrocketed among those who believe.  I believe the freedoms you experience and the advancements in your quality of life all came from man’s new concept of how valuable he is as given him by Jesus. There is no doubt that most of these advancements came out of societies that were believers in Christ.

This explosion of value now gives your life an explosion of meaning too.  The more meaning your life has, the greater your potential for happiness.

I don’t think it is very rational to be an atheist.  For as the end of life creeps near, the meaning he has left decreases leaving him with less and less happiness.  My guess is that it turns into despair as he has no hope for anything better and he sees himself moving toward being irrelevant.

However, the meaning and happiness can increase for the believer in Jesus, for as death comes near, his hope increases, leading to even more happiness.

If it were up to me, you would join me in this hopeful faith in Jesus.  But it is not up to me.

These are just some of my thoughts. I would love to hear yours too.

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