Submission by Eon: So I have a huge fear. I’m afraid that God isn’t real and that we would spend our whole life chasing after a God that’s not real. What should I do about this fear?
A Response from Zach:
Thanks for your question, Eon. There was a time in my life when this fear weighed on me very heavily, so I can personally relate to what you are going through. Having this fear is a good thing in many ways, and it shows that you are searching for God and want to find Him. Some people do not want God to exist and do everything possible to avoid Him, so it is commendable that you desire to find God and worry that He might not exist.
I think you correctly recognize that the reality of God makes an enormous difference to your life. The fact that you are afraid that God is not real shows that you are not comfortable going through life accepting atheism. This is a good thing because the logical consequences that follow from atheism are depressing (e.g. there is no eternal life; we are mere accidents of nature; our lives lack ultimate purpose and meaning; there is no basis for morality beyond human opinion; there is no final justice). However, at the same time, you are not convinced that God does exist, and you are not comfortable putting your hope and trust in a belief system that is false. Where does that leave you? It leaves you in a very appropriate place. It leaves you wanting to believe in God, but fearing that God may not be real. It leaves you wondering whether it is worth spending your life believing in something that may be nothing more than wishful thinking.
So I hope that what I have said so far shows that your fear is both good and normal. You have taken the first step by recognizing this fear. The next step is to find God and have the blessed assurance of knowing that God is real and that you are a child of God. Finding God involves God drawing you to Himself, and it also involves you seeking for God and accepting Him. Let me explain a little more.
God is constantly drawing all of us to Himself. Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” (Jn 6:44). We need God to reach out to us and convict us of the truth about Him. God reveals Himself to all humans through what He has created (Ps 19:1-6; Rom 1:18-20). As we examine the world that God has created, I believe that there are many good scientific, historical, and philosophical reasons to believe in God. God also reveals Himself through the Bible (2 Tim 3:16-17) and by sending Jesus into the world (Heb 1:1-3). God uses all kinds of resources that can serve to draw us to Him (e.g., Christian books, Christian radio stations, pastors and teachers in local churches, and Christian websites). In fact, He has put you in contact with the resources of this website and stirred your heart to submit this question (and hopefully receive some helpful, biblical feedback).
Although God draws all of us to Himself, it is also important for you to be open and respond to the various ways in which God calls you. The fact that you submitted this question shows that you are open and want to find God. God promises that He will not turn away from those who seek Him (Mt 7:7-12). God very much wants to enter into a personal relationship with you, and He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). So I encourage you to pray to God that God will reveal Himself to you in a personal way. I encourage you to seek God by letting Him speak to you through reading the Bible. You will also benefit from exploring the evidences for God’s existence that are discussed on this site and reading Christian apologetics books, such as William Lane Craig’s book On Guard. I recommend On Guard because it is easy to follow and lays out many scientific, historical, and philosophical evidences that point to the existence of God and the truth of Christianity. I think it will be very eye-opening for you, and I believe you will be blessed to see how powerful the evidence is for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity.
I pray that these comments will be encouraging to you and that you won’t be concerned about your fear. Scripture says that “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). This chapter in the Bible shows that our love for God drives out fear, and God’s love for us also drives it out. God is actively pursuing you. Pray to Him, listen to His Word, reflect on the evidences for God’s existence, and look forward to a personal encounter with the God of the universe!
-Zach Breitenbach, Director of the Worldview Center at Connection Pointe in Brownsburg, IN and the former Associate Director of Room For Doubt