Letter to a Young Atheist, a Leap of Faith
You can doubt everything and everyone. You can even make a scientific argment that we do not exist and everything is an illusion (The Matrix). Sometimes, to believe in God we must first believe in people or at least a person. In some matters, we must trust the word and the experience of others. We all need to remember that our knowledge and experiences are finite; we personally cannot know and experience everything. Because we have not found or experienced something does not mean that, it does not exist; it simply means that I have not experienced it. I personally believe in many things that I have not experienced. I believe in them because I trust that someone else has experienced them and I trust that person’s word or testimony. The big question is whom can we trust and who should we listen to. After surveying a huge number of men living now and throughout history, I believe that Jesus can be trusted. In fact, I have trusted him with my life and eternity. However, it is not just Jesus; the greatest and most loving men I know are followers of Jesus Christ or had great respect for him and his teachings.
The following is a short article I wrote about faith, in the story Jesus is the old man. “In many cases, faith is the most reasonable thing you can embrace. Let’s say that you were climbing a large mountain and it grew dark. Now suppose that because of the difficulty of the climb, it would be impossible to retreat off the peak at night. The problem worsens when you learn from your radio that a storm is coming, which would make the conditions hopeless to survive the night. As you huddle on the mountain waiting for death, you remember a story told by an old man in the camp the week before. He had mentioned that there was a hidden outcropping of rocks, which forms a small ledge just below the summit and off the ledge was a small cave that one could go into to escape the weather. He said it was marked by a small pile of rocks just a short distance below the summit. However, to reach it you must jump down about ten feet to the outcropping below, which is a large first step. Now here is the problem. It is pitch dark, and you have found the marker, but you cannot see the ledge below because it is so dark. The jump requires a leap of faith-based upon the testimony of the old man.”
In view of the conditions, is the leap reasonable or is more rational to be pessimistic and doubtful, and do nothing? Would it be logical not to make a choice? It seems that to both the pessimist (atheist) and the indecisive (agnostic), a leap of faith is not the reasonable thing to do. Both would have to choose to die on the mountain. In this case, not to choose is to choose. It is to choose death over the possibility of life. What I am saying is that in some circumstances, the reasonable thing to do is to act on faith. Sometimes reason tells us that it is not time to use reason. In some cases, moving forward in faith is the most reasonable thing you can do.
Once the disciples of Jesus were listening to the Master, and when they turned around the crowd was walking away murmuring that they just could not believe what the Teacher was saying. When the Teacher saw the despair on the faces of the disciples, He asked them, “Are you going to leave too?”
Their answer was their leap of faith in the midst of despair. “Where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”