An Atheist Helps Me Understand Why I Believe

Wednesday is for Prayer

I’m in a conversation with an atheist over on Twitter. He is asking me for a proof that God exists. “Give me your best proof,” he says.

I told him I don’t believe because of “a” proof. I believe because of a compounding of various proofs and evidence and ultimately because of the evidence for the resurrection.

The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe
The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe

Still, he presses. So I give him one proof that I have found as a compelling reason for faith in God—the Kalam cosmological argument on the nature of time having to have a beginning. It is an ancient Arab argument that I don’t need to go into now. Then he asks this question:

“If I can show you that your best argument (Kalam) is poor, would that cause some reflection?”

I told him that I would have to think differently about that particular argument but that my faith didn’t rest on one line of evidence or proof, or experience, Eventually, I parried back,

“Cuts both ways. If I could show U that your arguments against KALAM do not rationally hold, would you believe?

But my new friend doesn’t seem to grasp that we who believe don’t believe because of arguments (alone), or proofs (alone), or evidence (alone) or experience (alone) but because of all of these things together. All have their part in sustaining our confidence in what the Bible proclaims. [And of course, the Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit that he is there.]

And things like this when something else is going on.

Monday I went to a conference in Chesterton, IN. I used my GPS to get there. It worked flawlessly. Later, I started home and the GPS keeps losing signal and it’s not long before I’m lost. At one point, I could see two cell towers and yet the little female voice on the phone kept saying, “signal lost.”

Even though I had skipped lunch, I decided that I would wait till I got home to eat.  But after driving around in circles for a half hour, making only minimal progress south and west, I re-thought that decision. I was thinking McDonalds put couldn’t find one. Pulling into a Wendy’s, I was going to use the restroom, then grab a sandwich and see if I had a map in the trunk.

It made no sense but when I got into the building, I saw the line at the counter and decided to get in line. There was a woman in front of me tearing off a coupon. 

“That’s what I need.”

.       “Here, take one.”

“No, those are yours. I was just joking.”

With a friendly scowl:

 .      “Man, take it,” she said forcefully, then, “I’m sorry, I work with a lot of men and sometimes I have to be more forceful.”

Something changed when she mentioned the men at work. Then her countenance changed, her head dropped, and from under her cap she said:

.       “My husband died two days ago.”

Think of the steps that got me to that Wendy’s at that particular moment:

  • GPS works then doesn’t.
  • No lunch
  • Getting lost.
  • Getting hungry
  • Deciding to rethink waiting till I got home
  • No McDonalds
  • Stopping at Wendy’s instead
  • Choosing to get in line to order rather than using the restroom first.
  • A woman with a coupon book
  • Me playing around with a stranger and making a comment about her coupon book

Probably a thousand other small things fell into place to put me in the presence of a woman, in a line, in a town I shouldn’t—wouldn’t have been in if my GPS was working, who needed to know that God loved her and hadn’t forgotten her in the midst of her pain and sorrow and memories. Why did I turn down that street? Why did I double back after making a U-turn? Why didn’t I drive further or stop sooner and go to another restaurant? Why wasn’t there one more person in line so that I never would have seen the coupon book, never started a conversation?

This is already over long. 

But like the movie Ben Hur, where you never see the face of Christ, and yet the perceptible hand of God is there guiding Judah Ben Hur toward his destiny. I don’t understand all of how it was done. But of this I am sure. 

God put me in that place to comfort a stranger named Trudy in an hour of need.

Why do I believe?

Because of the resurrection of Christ, and the accuracy of the Bible, and the strength of philosophical arguments, and because of things science (wonderful as it is) cannot tell me, and because of questions that my soul knows can’t be answered by anything in this world, and 40 years of watching and experiencing God work sovereignly behind the scenes to do things that only a supreme being could do.

One more thing.  

After I left Wendy’s and Trudy, I ate my sandwich and headed home.

My GPS that wasn’t working before meeting Trudy, now worked perfectly.

An atheist has no explanation. A believer believes. 


5 thoughts on “An Atheist Helps Me Understand Why I Believe

  1. Sometimes I struggle to see the difference in religious posts and sarcastic atheist ones. This is no exception.

    1.After all the things that went wrong during the drive, where was GODS hallmark? That could have been the work of any God.
    2. Why instead of talking to you directly did he have to resort to stopping a well functioning GPS from operating? Sounds silly and time wasting.
    3. If God had the power to make you find that lady, surely he has the power to stop her sorrows or prevent them?

    These things happen on a daily basis, it would be a weirder world without coincidences present every now and then. They have to happen. What it sounds like you have done is convinced yourself over 40 years that a God exists and now cannot see normal occurrences without putting a mystical being behind them. You don’t need to do that 🙂

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    1. Religionearased,
      1. The God revealed by and through Jesus.
      2. May sound silly to you but I think it sounds silly to ask or expect God to speak audibly to everyone who needs guidance. How would we hear anything else with all the commentary from God!? Instead, he inspired the writing of a book that gives the guidance we need and helps us interpret what others, like atheists, mystically ascribe to “coincidence.”
      3. Yep. He does. So what? God’s ways are not ours. Everybody has an opinion about what is best.

      But it is much bigger than that. It’s not just 40 years of daily “God moments.” It is 40 years of re-examining, even through doubt at times, the evidence for the resurrection of Christ and finding the evidence compelling. More so with each examination. If Jesus rose from the dead, it proves Christianity true. If he didn’t then a Christian’s faith is worthless. I’ve examined it over and over again. Still find it the best explanation of what happened on Easter morning. Other arguments help, they buttress, they support but in the end a Christian stands on the resurrection.

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  2. Beautiful! As Billy Graham once said to Phil Donahue, “You can’t reason your way to God. You have to take Him by faith.” We walk by faith not by sight. If you did not have faith, you would have chalked up your experiences to coincidence. Instead, you know it happened by the hand of an omnipotent, sovereign God who can capture our hearts in ways we can’t explain. He did so for C.S. Lewis, and He can do so for your Twitter friend. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. I Cor. 15:3ff is becoming more and more precious to me. Central to my teaching and preaching. It is the Resurrection that is the overarching, compelling reason I believe.

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