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The Risk of Doubt August 22, 2010

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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2 Kings 18:17-37
Is it easier to believe, or not to believe? We who do believe would say it is obviously much easier to believe. But, where does your evidence come from? Is it true because you believe it is true? Or, is it true therefore you believe it? Truth is truth whether you believe it or not. Truth need not be believed for it to be true. It simply is true. It does not require validation. It only requires acceptance.
What do you site as evidence of what you believe? Do you reference your own experience? Your own testimony is about the only thing that opponents cannot argue with. They cannot say that you did not have an experience. They may question it. They may doubt it, but they cannot say you did not have it. Your testimony remains the greatest evangelistic tool you have. There are countless evangelistic tracts and strategies out there. But, I have not found one yet that does not make you sound like a used car salesman. “What’s it gonna take to put you into a relationship with Jesus today?” Or, there are outrageous and even false claims that if you will accept Jesus, then everything will get better. This is not correct.
I enjoy apologetics. Apologetics, from the Greek word meaning, “to reason out, or argue for” the faith, is a subject unto itself. The idea is not to argue as in a fight that is emotionally charged, but like a lawyer in a courtroom each side presents its argument. The goal is to make the other side doubt their evidence and even their long held beliefs. The idea is to get them just to doubt. Then, you can present your evidence against theirs.
There are a number of authors who have written books listing evidence and reasoning for the faith in the area of apologetics. One of my favorites is Josh McDowell. His approach is to collect all the evidence for a particular subject or topic and put it in a pile. Then he invites any opponent to stack their evidence up against his. He considers archaeology, reason, logic and other evidence to support what the Bible says. All the evidence is compiled and considered. It is out there for us as well as nay-sayers to examine. The problem is, opponents to the Gospel, the Bible, God or just overall religion don’t feel like they need evidence, they have their feelings.
The same argument against the very experience you say you had is not enough to convince them, is the same evidence they claim that for them is enough. It is a shallow argument. Nay-sayers site theodicy (the problem of evil, that is “how can a good God allow bad things to happen?” See my argument on this subject in another post.) as one of their chief arguments against the faith. They site records, or the lack thereof, that support what we believe to be true. They will not recognize the Bible as authoritative literature. But, more than anything they claim what they think and feel. Well, feelings can be wrong. Just ask an existentialist. One main source that many site against the faith is that they cannot see it. Well, of course, it’s called “faith” for a reason. Beyond that, every day that passes that Jesus does not return adds to their evidence that He never will. There is a sense of, “see, He didn’t come today and He won’t come tomorrow.” Then, He tarries longer and they feel
The problem here is that they have not considered too deeply, what if they are wrong. One of us is wrong. If it’s me, what have I lost from my life of devotion? Christians are often regarded as kind, patient, etc. We treat our fellow man with dignity. We are generally regarded as “good” people. If we are right, then we treated others well and when we die we receive some reward. Regardless of what it is, it is a reward. If we are wrong, and death leads to nothingness, then we have lost nothing and others are the benefactors of our good deeds. Contrarily, if the nay-sayer is wrong, the best they can hope for is nothingness. If they are right and death leads to nothing, then they get that. But, if Christians are right, then not only do they not get a reward, but they are punished for all of eternity. So, if we are right we have the potential of gaining everything from a life of devotion with little to lose. If they are right they get nothing, but if they are wrong they lose everything. Is it worth the risk?
Here in this passage, the mighty army of the Assyrians comes against the people of Jerusalem, God’s chosen city. They site their past victories over other kingdoms and other gods. They point to other gods as being as great as Jehovah God. They mock Hezekiah’s actions of tearing down the Asherah poles and high places saying that he had angered his own God, and even quoted what they thought were scriptures. They claimed God was on their side. It all sounded good and authoritative. They may have even persuaded some of the people of Jerusalem to doubt. But…
Hezekiah is regarded as a good king who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He kept God’s commands like his forefather David had. He sought the Lord when this evil empire came against his. He prayed to God for aid and support. He feared God and believed in faith that God would deliver them all. And, God did.
The Assyrians believed their own lies. They did not consider that they could be wrong. People today have the same hang ups. They could be wrong. No, God did not return in the clouds today and the day proceeded like so many other days before it. But, there is coming a day. It will be like no other. We of the faith know it is coming. It is just past the realm of our sight. We believe it with all our being. Nay-sayers will make strong arguments against our faith, and one of us is wrong. If I am wrong I lose nothing.
What happens if you are wrong?



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