I’m conducting a non-scientific experiment. Let’s take a look at some of America’s most popular Christian apologists/evangelists and see what it was that caused them to become a Christian. What was it that caused them to believe that a Jewish peasant who lived and died 2,000 years ago is the Creator God and that his bloody execution on a cross bought them eternal life in a location called heaven…if only they believe. As we saw in a previous post, people who have already decided to believe something, regardless of what it was that caused them to believe, are very reluctant to change that belief. They will often seek evidence which confirms their decision. Evidence contradicting their belief only makes them dig in deeper. It rarely changes their mind. This is known as a confirmation bias, and I suggest that most Christians believe what they believe not because of evidence, but because of their emotions! The idea that the Creator of the universe loves them; wants a personal relationship with them; and will be with them and comfort them through all of life’s ups and downs is just too good a promise to pass up.
William Lane Craig on his blog:
I wasn’t raised in a church-going family, much less a Christian family—though it was a good and loving home. But when I became a teenager, I began to ask the big questions of life: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” In the search for answers I began to attend on my own a large church in our community. But instead of answers, all I found was a social country club where the dues were a dollar a week in the offering plate. The other high school students who were involved in the youth group and claimed to be Christians on Sunday lived for their real God the rest of the week, which was popularity. They seemed willing to do whatever it took to be popular.
This really bothered me. “They claim to be Christians, but I’m leading a better life than they are!” I thought. “Yet I feel so empty inside. They must be just as empty as I am, but they’re just pretending to be something they’re not. They’re all just a pack of hypocrites.” So I began to grow very bitter toward the institutional church and the people in it.
In time this attitude spread toward other people. “Nobody is really genuine,” I thought. “They’re all just a bunch of phonies, holding up a plastic mask to the world, while the real person is cowering down inside, afraid to come out and be real.” So my anger and resentment spread toward people in general. I grew to despise people, I wanted nothing to do with them. “I don’t need people,” I thought, and I threw myself into my studies. Frankly, I was on my way toward becoming a very alienated young man.
And yet—in moments of introspection and honesty, I knew deep down inside that I really did want to love and be loved by others. I realized in that moment that I was just as much a phony as they were. For here I was, pretending not to need people, when deep down I knew that I really did. So that anger and hatred turned in upon myself for my own hypocrisy and phoniness.
I don’t know if you understand what this is like, but this kind of inner anger and despair just eats away at your insides, making every day miserable, another day to get through. I couldn’t see any purpose to life; nothing really mattered.
One day when I was feeling particularly crummy, I walked into my high school German class and sat down behind a girl who was one of those types that is always so happy it just makes you sick! I tapped her on the shoulder, and she turned around, and I growled, “Sandy, what are you always so happy about anyway?”
“Well, Bill,” she said, “It’s because I’m saved!”
I was in utter shock. I had never heard language like this before.
“You’re what?” I demanded.
“I know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior,” she explained.
“I go to church,” I said lamely.
“That’s not enough, Bill,” she said. “You’ve got to have him really living in your heart.”
That was the limit! “What would he want to do a thing like that for?” I demanded.
“Because he loves you, Bill.”
That hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was, so filled with anger and hate, and she said there was someone who really loved me. And who was it but the God of the universe! That thought just staggered me. To think that the God of the universe should love me, Bill Craig, that worm down there on that speck of dust called planet Earth! I just couldn’t take it in.
(to read the rest of Craig’s “testimony”, go to his blog using the link above)