9/21/15 Tim about 24
Why faith? Of all the positive attributes God could use to distinguish between people, why does salvation come through faith? Why not love, or kindness, or obedience, or generosity? A sidewalk conversation with Tim, an atheist, began with an acknowledgment on my part that I couldn’t “prove” Christianity, but that it is a faith after all. A reasonable faith, but a faith nonetheless. I think my candor won his attention.
After a conversation of more than an hour of reasoning through that faith, we ended up at the importance of faith once again. “So what is it that makes faith so special? Why is it so important to God?” Tim asked. I answered, “Because of all the attributes we may have, like good works, loving kindness, patience, tolerance – faith is the attribute most directly opposite to dependence on ourselves.” “But don’t all religions require faith” Tim said. “Yes, but what is the object of that faith? Most religions require you to have faith in your religious actions or goodness.” I answered. “Only Christianity requires faith in a Savior – Jesus – rather than in one’s moral actions.
In fact, the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11) We must trust that God exists and that He rewards our efforts to trust Him – that He is both great and good. This seemed to make sense to Tim, though he still refused to acknowledge God. Our conversation had taken the focus off of his complaints against Christianity, and clarified the fact that he absolutely refuses to trust God, to obey Him “Because He says so”, rather than sit in judgment of Him as if he could be judged by human standards. Why faith? Given who God is, the better question is – why not?