July 20, 1999
In an age of reason and technology, believing that Jesus Christ existed is not popular. Many people say His story is a myth or if they grant that He existed, they draw a line at a literal interpretation of the Bible.
The trend to dismiss the story of Christ began centuries ago with scholars who decided faith and reason could not coexist. These skeptics described faith as a “leap in the dark.” For them, that “leap” was like the invisible bridge in one of Harrison Ford’s movies. He could see it only after taking that first step into “nothing.”
During the enlightenment, even those with faith might have agreed with this “faith is a leap” explanation. When they turned from sin and entered the kingdom of God, they began to understand realities that had previously been mysteries. Because this new realm was so fantastic, it seemed they had jumped from what they knew into something they had not known anything about before they had faith.
Nevertheless, the skeptics were not finished. They added another assumption about faith: it is not objective and rational but subjective and irrational. They said we cannot measure faith nor does it make sense. For those reasons, enlightened, logical thinkers could not live by faith. This supposition took the definition of faith even further from a biblical understanding.
From those assumptions, the popular view of God and the Bible slid from believing what God said about himself into doubt and then denial. Today’s agnostics and atheists have concluded that God is not knowable and Jesus is a myth. Believing in Him is illogical.
They also insist faith is illogical because the Bible is man’s invention. If Jesus existed, He was only a man who came to fame because of the false notions spread by His disillusioned disciples. Again, faith in the biblical Jesus cannot coexist with rational thought.
For years, even Christians bought some of those assumptions. They divorced faith from logic, education and intellectual thought. Yet what if those assumptions are wrong? What if faith is not a leap in the dark, but a leap into light?
The Bible says it is. It also says the way is clear and easy to see. Instead of picturing faith as a leap in the dark, imagine a person walking in the dark with a flashlight held on the path ahead. Each step into the light that he can see moves that light ahead so he can take the next step. Faith eventually guides the person where he wants to go.
Faith is more like that; people living in a dark world take steps into the light they can see. They say yes to what God has revealed and move ahead into greater revelation. This walk is like any other, with a beginning and an end. As the Bible says, it begins with the first flicker of light about God in the soul of every person. That light is an inner understanding that God does exist. Everyone has it, no one tells us. We just know.
Sadly, while there may be no five-year-old agnostics or no atheists in foxholes, even a child or a person in great duress can deny that initial bit of light. They can say no to the existence of God, refuse to move into the light, and take a giant step backward into darkness. The Bible says this rejection does not come from ignorance or confusion between faith and reason. According to Jesus, this is a moral choice. He said, “Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”
God invites people to Himself knowing many will not come. Some will excuse themselves by saying the story of Christ is a myth. Others will say faith is fine but they do not believe it or it is not for them. Yet God knows the real reason for lack of interest. Most people simply love their sin too much and despite how logical trusting God is, they will never see faith that way.