Summary: This sermon deals with doctrinal beliefs we should have about God.
Does the topic make you a little uneasy? Have you ever said this to God or wished you had enough nerve to say it? Maybe you have had questions in your mind but you have never voiced them out loud. Perhaps one of the questions that has floated through you mind is whether there is even a God to ask life’s most important questions to. I mean, have you ever seen God or heard him speak to you? Has anyone ever shown him to you? I believe in God, but I have never seen him or heard him. God’s Son is my Lord and Savior, but I can’t show him to you.
I recall one of the All in the Family episodes where Archie and Edith were having some discussion that had to do with God, and Mike-their atheistic son-in-law, asked the question, “What God.” Then their daughter, Gloria, said, “Yeah, what God.” Archie could not believe his ears. He knew his son-in-law was an atheist, but he could not believe his daughter said such a thing. When questioned about the statement, their response was, “We just don’t see any evidence of God.”
A recent study from the Barna Research Group-who does much research for religious life, found that hundreds of thousands of adults who are atheists or agnostics attend Christian churches. These are people who don’t believe in God or doubt the existence of God. The study shows that roughly 7% of the adult population-approximately 14 million people, describe themselves as atheists or agnostics. America has more atheists and agnostics than Mormons, Jews or Muslims. Most of these individuals believe that heaven exists but believe that one gets there based on their good deeds. According to the research, most atheists and agnostics are men, under 35, white and residents of the Northeast and West. College graduates and political liberals were also more likely to be atheists or agnostics.
Barna did a survey in 1999 to find out what Americans believe about God. Four percent believe everyone is God. Sixty seven percent believe that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator that rules the world today. Seven percent believe that God is the total realization of personal, human potential. Three percent believe that there are many gods, each with different power and authority. Eleven percent believe that God is a state of higher consciousness that a person may reach. Finally, three percent believe there is no such thing as God.
A casual perusal of world history will quickly reveal that it was common and is common for most people to believe in some deity or deities. Reading the Bible will reveal the same thing as it talks about other neighboring people in addition to God’s people.
Many psychologists and psychiatrists have been unfriendly where religion is concerned. They might say that we appeal to a God whom we believe can help us through life’s troubles that we feel we can’t face. Since we can’t face them on our own, we appeal to someone we believe is more powerful than we are. This leads to another question, “Do we believe only when we need him?”
We might start by asking, “Hey God, are you there?” But if we start with the premise that there is a God, what are some questions we might ask him? “Do you love me? How old are you? Have you always been around? Who made you? How could you always have existed if no one made you? Does it make you mad when people do bad things? Is there really a heaven and hell? Was Jesus really your Son? Are you going to take Christians to heaven with you one day? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why don’t you help the police catch all the bad guys? Why do you allow natural disasters to take many people’s lives and homes?
Many of these questions have run through your mind before. It is no use trying to hide the fact that we have questions to ask God. It is no sense in trying to act as if we have it all figured out. We don’t. If we did, we would be God. I want us to hear some answers from God today.
It is difficult to believe God exists when we have no scientific proof that he does. And we place a great deal of confidence in scientific proof. We place a great deal of confidence in our sense perceptions to aid us in knowing what exists as well as information about what exists. They do us no good when it comes to proving God exists.
Some of you may have seen the movie Santa Claus. It is the story of a little boy whose father becomes Santa Claus. The trouble is, he can’t get his mother and her new husband who is a psychologist to believe it. It begins to cause trouble in the family. One day, his stepfather is trying to get him to see how it is scientifically impossible for one man to get presents to all the children on the same night. Then he questions the young child about flying reindeer. He asks, “Have you ever seen flying reindeer?” The young boy says he has, but the stepfather says he hasn’t. Then the young boy asks him a question. “Have you even seen a million dollars? Just because you have never seen it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”