On Non-Christians and the Existence of God

The current existence of a humanity that does not ‘walk with God’ or feel any need to even know God throws our claims about the Creator God and his purpose for creation into complete jeopardy. People who do not know God, or care to know God, are a walking statement against the Christian view of God and creation.

The existence of non-Christians is proof that either:
God does not exist,
or, that he is weak (and therefore not the Christian God),
or, that something has gone badly astray from his original plan (and then we must ask, how? and, how is it possible?)

The Christian will obviously wish to opt for the 3rd possibility (or cease to be a Christian). What makes this a valid choice?

NarrativeEvery individual human being that I have encountered, both in the flesh and in writing or other media, share a particular trait. We perceive events in the world to be linked by cause and effect. Causality isn’t something that we can see in the world. It is something that happens in our minds as we relate different events. It happens on a very small scale when we connect the gas flame and the saucepan boiling. It happens on a much larger scale when we link chains of causes to create narratives – stories about how we came to be here, why we behave in certain ways, why some features of our world are specially significant and others not so.
Every single person I know sees themself in some sort of narrative. I’m not saying that we all live in a dream land of epic quests and heroic deeds, although that might be true for some. I mean that we all structure our lives by see a causality into the world around us. We use it to explain and situate ourselves. Concepts like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ refer to this narrative structure of our world, and specifically to our ability to achieve our objectives.
But the crucial question comes when we zoom back the lens a little. Why? Why do we view the world in this way? It is not at all clear that any other living being on our planet has this approach to reality. Why do we believe we have objectives? And by objectives we often mean something much grander than food, shelter, reproduction (all of which are very efficiently achieved by species who have no consciousness of them as ‘objectives’).
Of course, these things can be adequately explained as ‘epiphenomena’ – by products of an evolutionary process preoccupied with passing on genes. So Richard Dawkins believes. Honestly, it’s a patronising fudge to say that the things which nearly every person would say are most important to their thinking and identity are in fact weird by-products of another process – but if it works for you, hey!
The real problem is this, why do we all think something is wrong. Every narrative centres around a problem, if a piece of writing is a narrative, rather than just a list or description, it must have a problem somewhere for a character to overcome.
We all think of our lives as a narrative,
(one of our weird epiphenomenal developments has been the writing of narrative literature)
all narratives involve a problem.
Everyone thinks there is something wrong.

Feel free to test this claim.
Everyone one I have ever met, read about, read/heard/saw something by – from numerous cultures spanning thousands of years, agree on this: there is something wrong.
We do not control our environment (big deal) – but we think we should, why?
In spite of overwhelming experience we still get disappointed when people betray us or demonstrate a lack of integrity in pursuing their own interests. why do we, why shouldn’t they?
The list is virtually endless.

A person who does not have any belief in God’s existence, or desire to know him, will happily engage me in a discussion of the ills of our State political system, the problem of climate change, or our need to find a solution for homelessness.

It seems to me that one of the most fundamental experiences of any human being is discontent. Any theory about the phenomena of human reality (world view) that does not account for this experience is fatally flawed. And a theory that explains this fundamental experience as merely a by-product is pretty crook.

Back to our three options:

The existence of non-Christians is proof that either:
God does not exist,
or, that he is weak (and therefore not the Christian God),
or, that something has gone badly astray from his original plan

The first two options can never be proved or disproved conclusively. So what can we say about the quality of the third option? Well, it concurs comprehensively with the universal human belief about reality. The Christian explanation for the existence of non-Christians makes great sense of the world as we know it, and explains a great deal more to boot.

If Paul the Apostle is correct in saying of Christ that,

    “all things have been created through Him and for Him.
    He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17 (HCSB)

then without Christ
all things have been created through infinitely extending causality, and for what?
we really cannot be sure that anything was before us,
and we have no reason to believe that anything can hold together or will continue to hold together.

Without Christ we are consigned to live in a world without a narrative,

and that isn’t our world…

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2 thoughts on “On Non-Christians and the Existence of God

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading that. If you don't mind, I will be handing a copy of your essay to everyone in my bible study tonight. We're doing a topical study entitled ‘What’s wrong with the world?’

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  2. wow, I'm so impressed that you waded through it all. And made a comment..
    You are now my favourite reader,
    as well as a jolly nice guy, and a good friend.
    Let me know how Bible study goes, I'd be interested on people's feedback.
    dan

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