The lover that cannot trust the beloved, who needs more proof than we can provide, destroys something beautiful looking for certainty. Unbelief can kill. Yet suspicion keeps us safe from danger when the flimflam from the grifter begins the pitch. We are unsure, we ask hard questions, and so we are saved from ruin. Unbelief can save. Notice though that the two results, while both good, are not quite equally good. Unbelief is inferior to belief, because while both can kill if misplaced, only belief can bring life.
You can save a soul from error with unbelief, but you cannot create a new soul. Creating beautifully requires love and love is a matter of belief. You are never, quite, sure, when you love a person, because of all the possible errors that broken people can make even if the Beloved is as perfect as God.
This trust between persons is fragile, but it must still be rational. You can hope for love, but one needs more than hope, a person needs faith, a reasonable trust, in the beloved. How do I know? I am not sure, but best reason and experience suggest that the beloved loves me and has done good for me. I am not sure, but love believes as soon as reason gives consent.
The overly skeptical is different. Instead of believing all he can, this man tests, weights, doubts to the point of missing opportunity. He would rather miss love, than be cheated once. “Better,” he thinks, “to never have loved a loser, than to have made a mistake and lost.”
This is sad.
So it is when I am asked to prove that what seemed to me to be a “miracle,” the good actions of the Beloved God, was a miracle. Why do we start with doubt?
I do not use God’s actions in my life to prove God exists, because God exists. I find the doubts of God’s existence, the counter-arguments, the quibbles, the qualms unconvincing. I tried them out. God is there, not silent, and I love HIm. When I ask Him to do a good thing, and it happens, then I assume the good God acted. He often uses natural means. Would it have happened “anyway?”
Maybe. God is after all good and might have sent the good gift to me anyway. How could I know? My summertime interlocutor asks of the miracles I have seen:
30. With any examples that you may have given, can you tell me what methodology one should use to make sure that it’s God doing such things and not the result of something else happening?
There are books on these topic. Here is my favorite, but let’s pause and ask why we would ask this question.
If I used these personal “miracles” as a reason for believing in God, then the question might be just. However, I believe in God for other reasons. If God no longer did miracles, as some Christians falsely believe, then I would still love and believe in God. However, if there is a God, and if I ask God to act, and then God does act, then I believe God has acted. Why wouldn’t I?
Of course, just as with any person sometimes I credit God with actions that were just the result of chance or the good actions of some other person. Yet what is the harm of this? My Dad felt called by God to give away our car. He told nobody. The day was coming when our car would be be gone . . . off to bless someone who needed it more than we did. Dad prayed. Just before we were to be without a car, God told someone that was not even in our church to give Dad a brand new car. It came just in time. This had never happened before to Dad and has never happened since.
Why doubt God acted and used people to help Dad?
I don’t ask an atheist to return to sanity based on this event, but I see no reason to doubt God existed. That would be like asking Hope if she really loves me when she gives me a gift or if she is up to something or worse still looking about for another gift giver! I choose the simple explanation: if I ask God and it happens, then thank God.
Why doubt? What is gained? If I did not think there was a God, I would not talk to God to start. That would be mad. If I do talk to God and He answers, then to say: “Ha! Was it God?” strikes me as bizarre. If I am wrong, and God does not exist, and Dad got the car just then by chance, then no harm has been done. If God had not sent a car, we would not have been able to pretend He did! Instead, we waited, God acted, and we were thankful.
This is belief and it is better than a toxic unbelief that cannot love, cannot be healed.
Imagine a madman given a golden ring who became convinced it must be a fraud. He grinds away the gold looking for the base metal he is sure must be underneath. He grinds until all the gold is gone and he is left with nothing. Instead, the wise man accepts the ring, looks at the evidence, chooses the best mix of glad and reasonable and then believes.
He puts on the ring, wears it for years, and then knows: this was real and it endured.
*M is a non-Christian that sent me 55 questions earlier this year. He has asked that I not reveal his or her name. I will write as if “he” is a male, but this is for convenience. I do not know if I will get to all his questions. I try to limit my answers to hundreds and not thousands of words. Here are questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 44, 46, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, and 55.