As Christians, it is sometimes hard for us to understand why someone would not want to be one too. But most of us will run into at least one person a day who doesn't believe in Jesus. Why is this? And what can we do about it?
The most important thing to remember about our faith in Christ is that it's a relationship with a real Person who loved us enough to die and rise again for us, who stands in front of the throne, bearing the wounds of the cross, interceding on our behalf (John 3:16; Revelation 5). This is a Man with a radical love who will never abandon or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9; Matthew 28:20). A God who became human to show us how much He loved us (John 1:1, 14; John 10:30).
But a lot of people don't see God like that, and they cannot understand faith in Christ because they don't understand their relationship to God.
Some people simply have never heard of God, or they have never heard the whole story. Very often, the people I meet who have rejected Christ as their Savior don't see God as a loving God. They see Him instead as a legalistic dictator who decides what they can and cannot do. They have been taught or have heard of the Ten Commandments—the "thou shalts" and the "thou shalt nots"—and they have been told that to step a toe out of line means they are a sinner of the highest order and condemned to Hell. They've been taught that God is out to get them, and since Jesus died for them, they darn well better not do anything wrong. Guilt doesn't produce love, but so often, it's how people have been taught about Christ.
There are also people who struggle to reconcile what people like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking have to say about science and faith. Men like these Scientific Legends declare that God cannot exist since, with science, we can know everything about the earth. These men often believe that science will grant them all knowledge. They feel obligated to put science and faith on opposing sides of the divide instead of seeing the beauty of a God who gave us scientific minds so we could understand Him that much more (Psalm 19:1). The Apostle Paul is clear that studying the earth should draw us closer and closer to God (Romans 1:20), but some still feel like miracles and science cannot operate together.
The watching world is seeking visual evidence that God is real. They are afraid to trust in something without solid evidence. They see the arguments between science and faith causing derision. They see the mud-slinging among all people. They see bickering among the churches, and they want someone to say that wading into that is worth it. They want to know that God is worth changing their lives for, giving things up for, living radically for. And so, they look to us, those who process to be Christ-followers, to see if we are better people, happier people, more fulfilled people because we love Christ.
G.K. Chesterton once answered a Times article asking what was wrong with the world with just four words: "Dear Sirs, I am." And this is true for Christianity. Gandhi, the radical reformer of India and devout Hindi spent time working in South Africa, and he left saying, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." This radical man, credited to be one of the wisest and humble men, very similar to Christ in many ways, rejected Christianity for one reason: Us. He looked at us and saw us being so lost in Christianity that we failed to be Christian anymore.
Those fighting against the idea of God as dictator look at Christian groups and feel isolated because they feel their past cannot be reconciled. They know that the moment they slip up and sin, they will be ostracized. They are the hemorrhaging woman, the blind man, the Eunuch, the Jew beaten and left for dead. And instead of Christ's love, we offer only that which the Pharisees and Levites did. How does that convince them that God actually cares? He will go find a home with the Samaritan who cared for him.
Many Christians are trying to build bridges in the scientific community, but Christians are just as divisive as the non-Christians on these issues. Many of the science teachers at my private Evangelical school were sneered at by students, teachers, and even colleagues at times because they tried to foster good, wholesome conversation. Instead of understanding that we have a rational God who never contradicts reason (even if we are too finite to understand His infinite glory), we also tend to sling mud at our scientific brothers and sisters—especially those seeking ways to reconcile science and faith.
How does this make the secular scientific community more inclined to listen as we try to introduce them to the true Father of Science? They will continue to consider us ignorant and naive and possibly discredit their colleagues who do believe in Christ. They will see more benefit in not believing than to risk everything by believing (Matthew 19:16-23).
At the end of the day, people struggle with so many unknowns about God: How could God love me? How could He forgive me? How can I know He is real? And some will believe that they do not need a Savior (Acts 28:23-27). But we were given a Commission: "Go, make disciples of all the nations" (Matthew 28:19). We cannot do that in the way Saul of Tarsus tried, with violence and harsh words (Acts 8:1-3). Instead, it takes us having a personal encounter with Christ and His Truth and love (Acts 9:1-22).
We have to live the radical life we want to call others to (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:22-24). We have to show, with our lives, the gospel message (1 Thessalonians 4:1). Few of the people seeking God are going to pick up a Bible, but they will look at your life and view the gospel through the lens of your words and actions (John 13:34-35).
Are you living Christ? Are you the light in the darkness? Use your life to show the world that God is worth following, worth fighting for, and worth living for.
People struggle with so many unknowns about God: How could God love me? How could He forgive me? How can I know He is real? How can science and faith co-exist? Why should I follow a God whose people argue with each other and judge everybody? Matthew 28:19 says, "Go, make disciples of all the nations." Instead of using violence and harsh words (Acts 8:1-3), live the radical life we are called to live (Romans 12:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:1). Few seeking God will pick up a Bible, but they will look at your life and view the gospel through the lens of your words and actions (John 13:34-35). Use your life to show the world that God is worth following, worth fighting for, and worth living for.
Brianna is a manager at her favorite childhood bookstore. She is likely to be found curled up with a book and her black cat, Bear, talking to a stranger, dancing outside in a thunderstorm, singing Disney songs while making cookies, or snuggling her best friend's baby while drinking coffee. Her heart is fueled by the desire to help people find their unique wings and use them in whatever capacity God has created them for. She is passionate about seeing and finding Christ in the secular world wherever she can.