Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Backside of One God Too Many

One argument used by atheists is that their reason for not believing in the Christian God is the same as our reason for not believing in all the other gods. Therefore, if we just realized this we would become atheists. Now the assumption here is that we are basically naturalists who have tacked our belief in God onto our naturalism. But the question is, Are we? And should we be?

Now it is not surprising that Christians are influenced by naturalism. It is the underlying assumption in the classes we take, the shows we watch, and the books we read. It is, in fact, so pervasive in our culture it is difficult for us as Christians to weed it out of our lives. I am amused when I hear the claim that Christians hold to their beliefs because they are raised in them. In the United States if a person maintains a belief in a supernatural God into adulthood, they are going against the flow. The idea we can maintain someone in their Christianity by protecting them from all other ideas is futile.

 But naturalism is unproved and unprovable. Just because there are orderly laws that govern the physical universe does not mean there is not Someone above the laws who can intervene if He chooses. It cannot even prove there are not beings mightier than us (for instance angels and demons) whose actions from our perspective would appear like magic. (There are also other problems with naturalism, such as where the universe came from and how life began.)

But do we as Christians see the world through naturalistic glasses? The reason Christians should reject other gods is not through a naturalistic aversion, but because we believe in the one true God and He forbids us to believe in the others. This does not mean there are not specific agreements against the other views. But if, having weighted the arguments pro and con for all the views (including naturalism), we conclude that Christianity is true, we are required to reject all other gods (Isaiah 43:10; 44:8; 1 Corinthians 8:5,6). But because we believe in only one God does not mean we should reject all other supernatural influence in the world. I am not saying that actual demonic beings appeared to individuals such as Mohammed and Joseph Smith, but I would not preclude the possibility. There are two opposite reasons for believing in only one God. You can believe that God is immensely great and powerful and the other beings called gods are meaningless and unnecessary in the presence of His majesty. Or you can want a God who is  marginal and irrelevant. Who possibly started and superintends the universe and then leaves us to live our own lives. And compared to Him, the other gods are seen as too much. We as Christians need to honestly ask ourselves which God we believe in. Do we believe in the true and living God or a pale imitation?

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