Years ago, when I had just accepted Christ and during my high school years, one of the things that began heading my way was views on atheism. Situations and issues came to me almost immediately that began challenging my faith in God and in the Bible. One of these situations started while I was a student at Central Connecticut State College (now CCSU). I took a class in Philosophy and found myself constantly at the edge of my seat because of not only what was being taught in that classroom but because of the professor. That professor was a former Roman Catholic priest who had left the Church and was an atheist. If I remember well, I believe he used to belong to the Jesuit order of the priesthood.
In that class, he began using the Bible in trying to discredit the existence of God. Being a rather new reader of this book, and realizing what I was facing, I prayed often and with intensity. This continued class after class. My faith in God was being hammered.
The turning point came when this professor gave one of his biggest reason for losing his faith in God. He related to the Biblical account in the Old Testament when God tested the patriarch, Abraham, into sacrificing his son, Isaac. This professor posed this question to the class: “If God says, ‘thou shalt not kill’, how can this God tell Abraham to kill his son?”
Being a newly begotten Christian at that time, this question hit me like a ton of bricks. I agonized for a while at this paradox. I prayed and looked into the Bible for answers. I soon realized that this professor had made his decision of losing his faith based on a false premise. What he assumed was that killing someone is the same as murder. It is definitely not. What God stated here in the law was meant, “Thou shalt not murder.” Murdering someone involves hatred in the heart. Abraham did not have this emotion toward Isaac. Also, it was just a test.
I found the answer in the Bible book of Hebrews 11:19:
Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from the dead.
When I saw that verse I was elated, to say the least! Why didn’t the professor bring this idea out? How did he overlook it? It could have made a difference in his decision to leave the ministry.
But, wait a minute! How did the apostle Paul know that Abraham reasoned that God could resurrect Isaac? Well, go back to Genesis 22:4-5:
On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Did you catch it? Note that Abraham told the servants, quote: “…we will come back to you.” Did Abraham lie to his servants when he told them, “…we will come back”? If he was going to sacrifice his son, he would have returned alone. But Abraham reasoned that God would have his son, Isaac, continue to be alive – otherwise God’s promise of making a nation from him would not be true. Abraham had faith that God would keep His promises.
But, more importantly, it pictured what God Himself was going to do with His only begotten son, Jesus. God allowed Jesus to be murdered by others. God sacrificed His son. God was responsible. Is God a murderer for doing this? Not at all.
The lesson I learned is that what the philosophy teacher and atheists do to NOT believe in God is not think deeply as to the existence of God. What most, if not all, unbelievers are doing is refusing to see the truth all around them and look, prayerfully, into the Bible. God is everywhere. There is really no excuse for not believing in God. That college professor in the Philosophy class was using the Bible to disprove God when His existence can be shown by using that very same book.
There are enough answers for the existence of God than there are for His nonexistence. Just because you do not know them at any particular moment should not be the reason to quit believing. This is the reason why I am not an atheist to this day.
It is sad to see students entering public schools and colleges being indoctrinated by topics, teachings and opinions based on unexamined and unsought for premises that may be incorrect.
If you are Christian student in a public (or private, irreligious) school or college who believes in God, and are being challenged for what you believe, my suggestion to you is to be sure you study the Bible. Understand how it is written and put together by its writers – who, I believe, wrote the book through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the answers when you are confronted and challenged by ideas contrary to your beliefs. I survived these onslaughts with God’s help. If I can survive, so can you.