Reasons for Unbelief
Tens of millions of people in the United States do not believe in God. Hundreds of millions of people across the world, especially in countries such as China, do not believe in God. If the evidence proves Christianity is reasonable and legitimate, then why doesn’t everyone in the world believe in God as the Creator, the Bible as God’s Word, and Jesus as the Son of God ? Let’s look at a few of the major reasons why people do not believe in God.
- Just Haven’t Thought Much About It
Suppose a person grows up in a culture that is irreligious. It is not that the concept of God is mocked or attacked, it is just that the idea of God is hardly ever brought up or discussed. The main goals of people in this type of environment are physical goals of being healthy, making lots of money, gaining power or prestige, or conducting their lives in a way that brings them the most pleasure. Because of these activities, and the focus on them, some people simply have never really thought much about God. If you asked them, they may say they don’t believe in God, but their unbelief is not one that has weighed the arguments for God’s existence. It is more of one that comes from a busy, worldly life that doesn’t have time to think about God. The apostle Paul talked about people “who set their minds on earthly things” (Philippians 3:19). There are millions of people in the world who just seem “too busy” for God and have not stopped to seriously ask the most important question any human can ask, “Does God exist?”
- Sin Often Leads to Unbelief
Not long ago, a distraught mother contacted us and asked us to contact her son. She mentioned that he grew up having a faith in Christ but had recently explained to her that he no longer believed in God or the Bible. We agreed to contact him and asked her to give us some more information about his situation. She further explained that he had moved far away and was currently living with his girlfriend. His sinful living arrangement made perfect sense as it related to his unbelief.
It is so often the case that people begin to “question” the evidence for God, the Bible, and Jesus, when they read something in the Bible that tells them they cannot be involved in certain sinful behaviors. Instead of accepting the legitimate evidence for Christianity, and admitting that what they want to do is sinful and against God’s will, they simply reject the idea of God’s existence so they do not have to feel like they are doing anything wrong. In the book of James, we read that in order for a person to come to a saving and active faith in Christ, that person must “lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). The person who refuses to give up sin in his or her life will look for ways to justify unrighteous living. One common way to do that is to reject a belief in God.
- Sinful Lives of Believers
If you have friends who do not believe in God, or have read atheistic writings on the Internet, you are probably familiar with this line of reasoning. Often, atheists and unbelievers will list horrible things that “loving Christians” have done. They will tell of the “witches” burned during the Salem Witch Trials or the heretics tortured during the Spanish Inquisition. They will talk about the atrocities committed by “faithful Christians” during the Crusades. Closer to home, they will bring forth stats about how “born again Christians” are just as likely (or more so) as unbelievers to get divorces, have affairs, or steal money from their places of employment. They may even tell stories about individual Christians they see getting drunk or high on Friday and Saturday, but then are sitting as hypocrites in the pew on Sunday saying “amen” to the preacher’s sermon on drunkenness. The sinful lives of people who call themselves believers definitely pose a serious obstacle to belief in God. This is nothing new. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul wrote to many religious Jews. They had become such hypocrites and abused God’s Law so badly that he wrote: “For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you’” (Romans 2:24).
- False Teaching About God, the Bible, and Jesus
God is the all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing, perfect and righteous Creator and Judge of the Earth. Jesus is the sinless Son of God Who died to save the world. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God that contains everything that we need to know to be what our Creator wants us to be. Sometimes, however, people teach things about God, Jesus, and the Bible that are not true.
When a person believes false ideas about God, His Son, and His Word, they often let those false ideas push them away from God. You can understand why this would be the case. For instance, some people teach that the Bible says babies are born with sin and that if they die and are not baptized, then those babies go to hell. How could a loving God send babies to hell if they have never sinned? Anyone who believes the false teaching that the Bible teaches babies go to hell will have trouble understanding the love and justice of God. False teaching about God, Jesus, and the Bible often causes unbelief.
There are many other causes for unbelief. Sometimes people choose not to believe in God so that they will fit in with certain groups of intellectual or popular people. Other times, people do not believe in God because their parents were atheists and actively taught them not to believe in God. Some people have chosen to disbelieve in God because they are not prepared for eternity and they do not want to think about changing their lives in order to be ready. Others disbelieve in God because they can write and speak about their disbelief and get rich or famous for their atheism. Still others choose not to believe in God because their scholarly professors have taught them that only ignorant or weak-minded people believe in God. These are just a few of the many reasons people choose unbelief.
The Solution To Unbelief
The solution to all unbelief is simple. First, a person must have an open and honest heart and love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Second, a person must be willing to change when the truth goes against how that person lives and thinks (Mark 10:17-22). All honest-hearted people who love the truth and are willing to change their lives to obey the truth will come to the understanding that God exists, Jesus is God’s Son, and the Bible is God’s Word. Furthermore, they will come to know that their Creator loves them and has provided a way for them to live with Him for all eternity. It is our prayer that all people will look for God “and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).
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