Is Unbelief an Intellectual Issue?
"Now, therefore, fear [reverence] the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth…. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."1
"I don't believe in God," say some, "because to do so means committing intellectual suicide." Really?
There is nothing wrong with having honest doubts about God, asking intelligent questions, and examining evidence. This is good for one's growth. Furthermore, most of us struggle with doubts from time to time. I certainly do. And there are many things I don't understand and probably won't be able to this side of heaven. However, is belief in God an intellectual issue?
Partially yes, but I wonder if it's not more a moral issue. For example, if I choose to believe in God, I know that I am morally responsible and accountable for my life and actions. This is a demanding path to choose and follow. If, on the other hand, I choose not to believe in God, I don't have to follow his directives. I then deceive myself into thinking that I am not responsible for my life and actions and am only accountable to myself. This way I can live and do as I please—a very easy path to follow. This, however, is not only self-deceptive but also ultimately self-destructive. For as God's Word clearly states, in the end "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ," 2 and again, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."3
And, by the way, if I say I believe in God but disregard his directives, do I really believe in God? Belief may have many facets but one thing is certain, it is also a moral issue and a moral choice. And it's not what we say that counts, but what we do.
Furthermore, choice needs to be based not on emotion but on an act of one's will. As another has wisely said, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
Remember too, "It is choice, not chance that determines destiny." This includes our eternal destiny. And as Joshua said to the ancient Israelites, "Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please open the eyes of my understanding so that I can see my true motives in all the choices I make. Help me to see truth from your perspective and give me the wisdom and courage to choose your way and not my own. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Joshua 24:14-16 (NIV).
2. 2 Corinthians 5:10.
3. Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV).