I believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. But what if I’m wrong? What if I come to the end of my life and discover it was all a lie? What if the end is truly the end; no benevolent Father in heaven, no heaven, no after-life? What a drag that would be. All this effort to believe, worship and follow – all for nothing.
But would it really be for nothing? This morning I started wondering how I might feel if I discovered it were indeed all a lie. Since I was agnostic up to my late 30’s and an atheist during part of those earlier years, I had a baseline for evaluating how my faith has affected my life. What did that faith do to me? How did that faith change me; the faith that I was now considering as possibly based on a lie?
Here are some of the changes that faith has made in my life:
- I don’t swear like I used to.
- I don’t lie like I used to.
- I’m not as arrogant as I used to be. I’m much more humble.
- I’m willing to acknowledge when I’m wrong, instead of trying to blame someone or something else (I used to do this a lot).
- Faith has taught me to be much more patient than I used to be.
- I don’t worry about things like I used to. I just trust that God will make the right things happen.
- I used to run away from relationships that didn’t serve my self-interests. But with faith, I’ve been more willing to accept circumstances that are not always pleasant.
- Faith has given me the strength to resist the temptation to cheat on my spouse, and I’ve been tempted a lot.
- I used to be afraid of death. But now, the only thing that concerns me about death is the welfare of those I will leave behind.
- I don’t agonize over people who have wronged me. Instead I’m now able to forgive them and very effectively let go of the pain. My relationship with God has taught me to replace hate with forgiveness, sorrow and sympathy. And now, memories of past wrongs bring peace, not pain.
I could go on, but it all boils down to the following: my faith in God and Jesus Christ has taught me about humility, love, hope, and how to more easily relate to and accept others.
In looking at all this I realize that I like what my faith in God has done for me. So if I discover tomorrow that my faith is based on a lie, I will be crushed and greatly disappointed, but I will definitely not feel that I wasted my life on something false. No matter what, I’m happy with what faith has done to me.
But dear Atheist, what if I’m right? What if you come to the end of your life and discover it’s not really the end? What if you discover all this propaganda about heaven and hell, about salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, about God; what if it’s all true?
C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia fame), is quoted as saying, “Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of NO importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
I don’t know about you, but I would rather be a Christian and be wrong, than an Atheist and be wrong. The potential outcome isn’t nearly as devastating.