For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. –Rev 19:10
With having a blog about Christianity and spirituality geared towards seekers I of course every now and then have a reader with atheistic views. I completely welcome them and I try to get a better understanding from them at where they’re coming from. I’ve often asked God how I should reply to their arguments against His existence and I often would not hear much back from God about it. I would read all the books like The Case For Christ and books that give you theological and Christian philosophy answers to the “tough questions”; but no matter how many books I read I still couldn’t give them a good answer to their points. And what I realized is that they often had the same exact arguments and tough questions that I used to affirm my agnostic/borderline atheist views for years. What I’ve realized is that theology and philosophy will not change anyone’s view. What changes your view on God is when you encounter His love.
In realizing that I recently asked the Lord, “How can I show what you’ve given me to others? How can I show them the truth that you’ve shown me?” One of the things He told me is “Your testimony is truth.” My testimony is a story of what God is doing, the stories of Jesus in the Bible are testimonies of what God has done, and prophecy is a testimony of what God is going to do. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. So I’m going to make it a point to share more of my testimony in hopes that sharing the experiences of Jesus that I have had will become prophecy to others. I hope that they will see what He has done in my life and ask Him to do that in theirs. What God has done, He will do again. It’s in His nature to constantly be doing good things—new things! So below is a recent reply I wrote to an atheist reader. I felt led to share this today since it has quite a bit of testimony in it.
Basically for me what it comes down to is experience and intuition. I’m sure you’d agree that most of us learn best from experiencing something ourselves. That’s what life is all about in my opinion. But I’m a very analytical person myself too. If someone tells me something I don’t just believe what they say, I ask “why?” And I’ll research until I come up with satisfying answers. The thing is though, with a subject like the meaning of life and spirituality, intellectually I cannot find satisfying answers on a lot of things. We can try and that gives us religion and philosophy like you mentioned. But with me I have to approach life’s meaning and my own spirituality by intuition and personal experience. I then try to intellectually tie together my intuition and experience and it becomes my world view. This doesn’t mean I understand all the ways of God, in fact the more I come to know Him the more I realize things I have been wrong about in the past. It’s a process of humility in yielding our understanding to a higher power. Many people (many Christians) are afraid to do this and they try to come up with black and white answers on things like salvation. I avoid having black and white answers on topics like that because I don’t think God works that way.
But let me ask you this… If you encountered God, and had a similar experience to what the Apostle Paul had in the book of Acts where God basically knocked him on his butt, blinded him with a bright light and spoke to him in an audible voice, would your misunderstandings of God matter to you at all to believe in His existence? Of course not! You would have experienced God first hand and you would know He existed though you would only have your testimony and story to tell others. Many would probably think you were crazy – as they did to the apostle Paul. Well something happened to Paul on that day that caused him to have a drastic conversion from killing Christians to being one of the most influential people of history in spreading Christianity. This is just one story of thousands – probably millions of testimonies of people who have encountered God. And not just stories of encountering God but also of encountering the demonic and spirit realm in general. For example all the ghost stories and near death experiences we hear of again and again.
I was talking to a man yesterday whose son died three years ago after being a drug addict and overdosing in a hotel. The man told me his son came to him in a dream and told his father that he was ok and he was with Jesus now. The father instantly converted to being a believer in Jesus Christ. Did his son repent and accept Jesus by saying a “sinner’s prayer” before overdosing? Probably not. He wasn’t a regular church goer and who knows if he read the bible. But regardless he came to his dad in a dream and said he was with Jesus now. That’s just one story and this stuff happens every single day. I go to a charismatic church where we believe and pray for miracles. We’ve seen some crazy stuff. My friend’s wife was almost completely blind and was a Christian for about ten years when in a healing service one day her eye sight after prayer was completely restored! I used to watch her walk around with a cane and could see the cloudiness in her eyes. To this day she can see! Just one more story of many that happen every day.
For over ten years I was an agnostic/borderline atheist. I had the same conclusions that you did. Christianity did not make sense and therefore God must not exist – or at least not the God that Christians believe in. Well one day I was at an old Inn and I encountered the demonic. I was woken up in the middle of the night by a strange cranking noise. The entire room was cloudy and the wall behind me started glowing. An evil presence (How do I know it was evil? This is just one of those intuition things) came on top of me. I could not move and I thought this thing was there to kill me. I could barely breathe but I cried out to God and the demon went away.
From that day on it’s been a long journey of finding humility in yielding my limited finite understanding to what is eternal and beyond my full comprehension. Since that day I have had many encounters with God. I have trembled in the power of His presence, spoken in tongues, been delivered from alcoholism and porn addiction, I have heard his audible voice a couple times, I have had many spiritual dreams and I feel His presence with me every single day. He is more real to me than anything else. And if you want to believe that I am deceived then I am completely fine with that. I have found a better way to live than the way I used to live. He makes me come alive! He makes me experience life like I never could before. I have never felt so free before in my entire life! I love Him and will praise Him for the rest of my days. Whether my life is blessed abundantly or burdened with hardships and loss, nothing will ever change my belief in God because I have personally experienced His love and salvation.
One of the first things Jesus is recorded saying is, “the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” He said it’s at hand. Not you’ll get to heaven when you die. Approaching Christianity as only a get out of hell when you die concept is not the Kingdom of God that Jesus was talking about. He said the truth will set you free. He was talking about finding peace and truth in this life and being set free now from the bondage sin has on us. I have experienced this personally which makes my testimony the only truth I need to believe whole heartedly in God.
Jesus said, “Seek and you will find.” I have found this to be absolute truth. The more I seek the more I find. But you should know that it’s not easy. The deep encounters of God that I have had have been when I am so desperate almost to the point of wanting to die if I could not encounter Him. Why He works that way?? I don’t know.. It’s a process and He designed life to be that way. It’s a journey and the ups and downs make us appreciate the ups. It’s life and the process of seeking truth. I’m not in the rightful position to question Him and tell Him the way I think life should be – although I tried that for a period of time and became very angry with God. Things are what they are and me being mad at God is not going to change that. Anyways I’ve rambled for quite some time and am not sure if I even answered or gave you a good opposing argument to any of your points. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that God is not found intellectually. He is found intuitively when we humbly yield ourselves to that which is beyond us -the power that gives us life. I pray that you find Him. And once you do you’ll realize that He’s been there right in front of you the whole time. Happy seeking my friend.