There are thousands of reasons people believe or not believe in God. One may believe just because their parents do. One may not believe because of God’s lack of intervention in such an evil world. Research is available online why Christians become atheists (deconvert) or why Christians leave the institutional church but not God (disaffiliate). What can Christians control to not deter those who may want more of a relationship with God but don’t pursue because of unnecessary obstacles?
Lies About God!
I am convinced many may not pursue a relationship with a Creator because they believe lies others claim about God. I know “lies” is a strong word, but no one can claim with certainty their view of an invisible, inaudibly God is TRUTH! Most would agree a God who isn’t perfect isn’t worth believing in. We can only compare God’s love to perfect human love. My moral intuitions tell me a loving God couldn’t condemn gays for choices they can no more control than straights; God couldn’t discriminate again women by denying them equal roles with men which has encouraged centuries of domestic abuse and other atrocities women face; God couldn’t create a place such as Hell to torture unbelievers forever. See here.
Christians with a hidden agenda or mission is a turn-off.
It is wrong to engage in friendships for the purpose of converting them to your beliefs without advising upfront this is your agenda. We must stop being so damn certain and do more listening. We can’t prove God exist. If God truly exists, wouldn’t God be capable of convincing individuals on Their own. Engage in relationships both to love and be loved. Discussions about God best come up naturally. The sinner’s prayer to avoid Hell isn’t in the Bible. Jesus seemed on a difference mission according to the Bible. See here.
Christians have a problem – it’s how the Bible is viewed.
It is believed or implied biblical writers somehow magically got their words and thoughts directly from God. Such an unprovable process implies God approved everything written about God in the Bible. Many don’t accept the God of the Bible for good reason:
- God supposedly would send wild animals to kill the children of the disobedient (Lev. 26:22)
- God supposedly orders the murder of women, children, infants, and animals in war (I Sam. 15:3)
- God supposedly ordered killing boys and non-virgin women but sparing virgins for the warriors (Num. 31:18)
- God supposedly approved rebellious children put to death (Lev. .20:9)
- God supposedly approves a wife’s hand being cut off when grabbing another man’s genitals (Deut. 25:12)
The Bible can be viewed as recorded experiences of beginnings with God and Israel culminating with the life of Jesus that we don’t possess in any other documents. God didn’t necessarily have in mind that recordings wouldn’t be questioned or that writers had perfect views of God. We have every right to question interpretations suggesting a Creator doesn’t love how we were created to love others. We must use our moral, loving sense. You can see my railings about the Bible HERE.
Evil and God just don’t mix sometimes.
God’s inactiveness with so much evil in the world is one reason many are atheists. Why doesn’t a supposedly all-powerful God intervene more? How is God allowing evil any different than a parent who stands by and watches this child being sexually abused? Let’s stop rationalizing by saying God’s evil is sometimes good. Maybe God can’t control or violate freedom and love perfectly. Divine love limits divine power. Maybe God can only stop evil with the help of others freely helping. See God Can’t by Thomas Oord.
Similarly, promises Christians make about prayer turns many away. The truth is miracles are rare. Maybe God is already doing all they can in a free world, by working through individual lives to change the world. Maybe prayer is more about a relationship with God as we attempt to change the world together. It seems God creating freedom necessitates one being able to do as much harm as they can do good. Authenticity, the highest good in relationships, is impossible without freedom. God, like parents, had a choice – to not create or create knowing suffering was a possibility in the pursuit of intimacy.
I’m not so sure hypocrisy is a big stumbling block
It doesn’t help that Christians don’t get along, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of denominations, all claiming their beliefs are the right ones. The truth is that we all are hypocrites. What human being lives up to the standards they know in their heart are honorable? But it is reasonable to expect those who talk about God to act godly. As mentioned possible hypocritical beliefs, supposedly according to the Bible, present a challenge. Christians must avoid claiming certainty, especially when such views seem to go against our moral intuitions.
Other challenges to not get in God’s way with individuals exist in the research. The church seems so focused on certain beliefs, such as sexual purity, rather than focusing on helping those less fortunate. Why can’t we focus less on sexual behaviors and more on the homeless? Abuse by leadership representing God surely turns others away from God. Sexual abuse is too often sweep under the rug. Most Christians believe God’s spirit works in the lives of people. If Christians want others inclined to consider their God, control what you can to not interfere with God’s work.
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