“I don’t want there to be a God,” wrote Thomas Nagel in The Last Word. “It isn’t that I don’t believe in God and naturally hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God.… I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
I appreciate Nagel’s honesty for he states, without apology, a sentiment not often admitted to by my non-religious friends. It isn’t that they don’t believe in God; everyone claims to believe in God. It is Jesus that is the object of their disdain.
My friends, almost without exception, know little about Jesus Christ. They admit they have never read the New Testament, know nothing of his life or the purpose for which he lived. And, tragically, they have no interest in checking things out.
I cannot tell you how this saddens me. Jesus’ life and ministry has been at the center of my research since my youth. What I have discovered has revolutionized my thinking. I hurt for those who have chosen to remain ignorant. I am baffled but believe I understand. They fear a sincere look at his message will demand changes they are not ready to make.
And with reason. An honest look at the record forces each of us to decide: what will you do with Jesus Christ? Lee Strobel’s journey of faith is a classic case in point.
“Recently I was chatting with a former colleague from my days as an atheist and legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. ‘You were the last person I ever thought would give up your journalism to go tell people about Jesus,’ he said. ‘You were one of the most skeptical people I knew.’… Ironically, it was my skepticism that ultimately drove me to faith in Jesus.
“That’s because my wife Leslie’s newfound belief in Christ provoked me to investigate the historical underpinnings of Christianity.… To my dismay, the data of science (from cosmology and physics to biochemistry and human consciousness) convinced me there was a supernatural Creator, while the evidence from history satisfied me that Jesus of Nazareth was resurrected from the dead, confirming his identity as the unique Son of God,” (Miracles, p. 23).
All truth, truth that is consistent with reality, begins with Jesus Christ. Those who, like Thomas Nagel, believe the here and now is all there is to life, need to evaluate the Gospel record. The meaning and purpose of life, the strength to live responsibly, and the state of our life after death, all find their fulfillment in our Lord.
I am not writing here about a new faith; I am heralding a new relationship. Review the Gospels; note what God did for those who accepted Jesus as Lord. One cannot encounter Jesus Christ and remain unchanged. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”
I know that, along with what the Apostle Paul has to say, we come across as fanatics, out of touch with reality. Believe me, however, when I tell you there is a reason for our commitment. He has changed everything. We cannot imagine what our lives — past, present, and future — would be like were it not for Jesus Christ.