I asked a friend of mine to explain to me exactly why he is a Christian and why he strives to live in a manner that honors God. Specifically, I asked him this question because I have seen him experience more pain and suffering than most people will ever face. Through his journey of affliction, I’ve seen him grow stronger in his love and passion for Jesus. His response to suffering got my attention as many atheists I know say they do not believe in God any longer because of the suffering in the world. Trevor Ray Slone seems to be a great example of 2nd Corinthians 4:17 “This light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison!” Please read and enjoy Trevor’s response to my question below.
Should I just cheat? Should I just go ahead and sleep around? Should I do whatever I want? After all, God cannot honestly care about me, like the Bible says, considering all the evil and affliction that He has allowed me to experience!
These are some of the thoughts that have continually gone through my head most of my life. I have been through a horrendous amount of suffering, and it seems to just keep coming day after day, month after month, year after year; from unwanted divorce to suicidal oriented hospitalizations, to terrible child abuse and the mental and physical consequences thereof. Regardless of where I have lived, what job I have had, or who I have allowed into my life, it seems that pain and horror is always right around the corner.
So I have asked myself countless times, “Why should I remain a Christian in the midst of all of this personal affliction? After all, the Bible says that God is supposed to love me, but it does not seem as if God loves me since He allows me to experience this torturous life. Given my pain, it seems easier to think the Bible is false and that atheism is true!
In my early years as a believer I simply held onto my Christian beliefs as inherently true because I believed them and the Bible said it. But as I have grown older, such sentimentalities were no longer sufficient to cause me to maintain faith in a God who I repeatedly felt was “ruining my happiness and destroying my life.”
Thankfully I was introduced, by accident, to apologetics through a book called “Dinner with Skeptics” in 2009. I instantly became infatuated with the subject, and over the next 5 years I read multiple thousands of pages on not just philosophy and theology, but apologetics (the reasons why Christianity is true). I was surprised to see all of the evidence that God exists and that Christianity is true! Moreover, I was astonished to see how we can know the Bible is the inspired Word of God! I examined all of the evidence I could get my hands on; evidence derived from logic, science, and the historical method all cumulatively pointed to the same conclusion: Christianity corresponds to reality!
I am not saying that reason alone apart from experience and faith can always get you to a place of true and unadulterated belief in God, but this could be what opens the door for many. What I am saying is that the more I learned about Christianity and its evidential and philosophical validity, the firmer I became in my intellectual assent to the necessity of being a Christian. This is because, quite simply, I began to realize that regardless of how I felt about God and what was currently going on in my life, I knew that the Bible is true (because of its historical reliability and the truth of the resurrection), that God was necessarily real and the creator of the world (due to the cosmological, teleological, contingency, and other arguments, as well as the principle of indiscernibles). If I am to remain rational, logical, and consistent in my intellectual musings and assertions, I must follow the evidence wherever it leads — and it leads to Christian theism!
I must be honest, it is not always easy to believe in God. Actually, it is rarely easy to believe in a God of love when so many horrible things regularly happen in my life. However, I have been a Christian for 28 years now, and the horror in my life started when I was only 6 months old and has readily and regularly continued ever since. I continue (READ THIS CLOSELY), to be a Christian not because I hope it is true; not because it makes me feel good or because it is comforting; not because I was brought up to believe it; the truth is that most of my life I have questioned God’s love for me in an extreme manner. The reason why I am a Christian today is because Christianity is the most logical and reasonable world view, PERIOD. Therefore, I choose to put my faith in what I know makes the most sense. As Tim Stratton says, “After examining all of the data, including evil and suffering, Christian theism is the inference to the best explanation. Thus, I will trust in what I know is probably true!”
If you are struggling in life, wondering if there is a God or why suffering exists, I encourage you not to base your decisions in that regard on subjective feelings or personal experience and the emotions that follow. Base your decisions on nothing other than logically coherent argumentation and a solidly reasoned representation of all the data.
I also encourage you to look deeply and intently into the Christian worldview. If you are willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads and if you are open to accepting whatever truth amounts to, then you will find no other worldview that makes more sense, that is more internally consistent, and that fits the milieu of the world as it actually is and seems to be. If that were not the case I would have long ago become an atheist and abandoned the idea of objective morality. I would be doing exactly as I pleased and enjoying every minute of it!
With that said, however, God exists and so do objective moral values and duties. Therefore, I freely choose to correspond to reality. I freely choose to follow Jesus!