Why Believe in God? Pt. 4
Why Believe in God? Pt. 4
According to research conducted by Barna, PewResearch, and Gallup there is a rapid reduction in America’s belief in God. In the last 14 years, there has been a 15% decline in those who say “religion is very important” in their life, and a 17% increase in individuals who say “religion is NOT important at all in their life.” Perhaps the most staggering statistic is the recession of those who believe God exists. In 2011, 92% of U.S. adults said they believe in God. Just 11 years later, that number dropped to 81%. To put that in more perspective, 81% of Americans believing in God is the lowest percentage it has ever been, since the data began being collected in 1945.
There are many reasons why people surrender their belief in God. Some get burned and hurt by the church they are a part of and that pushes them away entirely. Some get comfortable with their circumstances in life and do not find a need for God. Others simply have not pursued or engaged a conviction in God’s existence due to lack of necessity.
The resurrection of Jesus, for many, is the turning point in their conviction. When an individual journeys from the foot of the cross to the uninhabited tomb, they move from compassion to conviction. Why should someone look to the resurrection to believe in God?
The Resurrection was Popular — Paul confirms in the letter written to the Corinthians, in 15:5 by saying “…then he appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time.” There was a large majority of people who witnessed the resurrected Christ. Moreover, consider how the gospel writer, Luke, gathered his documents (in addition to divine inspiration of course). “Just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you.” Perhaps most significant of all, consider how MANY religions have resulted from the very fact of Jesus’ existence. While it is unfortunate to see religious confusion by way of thousands of Christian denominations, it remains impressive to me that people from all around the world believe in the story of Jesus.
The Resurrection Was Personal — When faced with an opportunity to speak in the presence of king Agrippa, Paul tells his personal encounter with Jesus (Acts 26). John recounts his experience of Jesus as he concludes his gospel account, “this is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that this testimony is true.” When Jesus rose from the tomb, it was not merely a public spectacle; it was a personal invitation to believe in Him. And those who believed in Him could not help but proclaim Him.
The Resurrection Is Powerful — As mentioned earlier there have thousands, albeit millions who have come to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. One of the most powerful displays of this belief is seen through how individuals shape their life once convicted of the truth. Writings from Justin Martyr, Ignatius, Tertullian, and other second, third, and fourth century writers have all demonstrated how Jesus becomes the utmost priority even when they face unruly death in coliseums. Take also into consideration how nearly 2,000 years later, people all around the world are STILL talking about the Christ and His life. Christianity has been under a hostile magnifying glass by antagonists of every background, yet Christianity remains. There is eternal power in a risen Lord. Paul passionately wrote, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Ph. 3:10).