Posted by Ascension

I listen to many podcasts on my travels. Yesterday I was intrigued to hear about those people
who have stopped believing in God*. I am interested in the story and the rationale because I
am curious why people believe what they believe – and, for me, that includes unbelief or a
walking away from faith or atheism because my way of understanding things is that such

views and the lifestyles that flow from them have faith or trust still in them because the evi-
dence cited only goes so far. Every person is unique as is their story but I have heard enough

accounts over the years to expect certain reasons to surface. There can be the lack of proof
or empirical evidence – about God or Jesus. There

can be that God has betrayed or deeply hurt the per-
son – maybe because of unanswered prayer or the

death of loved ones. Often there are the flaws or hy-
pocrisy of the messengers, the people of faith they

knew, and the behaviours seen. I am sure there are
many other reasons and the eventful results of the
recent UK census will add ‘grist to the mill’ that

‘religion is fading’ – or at least participation in organ-
ised religion.

What strikes me often when I hear such accounts –
and I know what I am about to say sounds hollow or
even offensive to those who feel betrayed or deeply

hurt by God – is that people have often made God in their image (and he ‘fails’) and that peo-
ple have not heard about grace – not the grace that says that God should love me as I think I

should be loved but the grace that is the story of the cross and the empty tomb – the grace
we need. This grace is only for sinners, for the dying, for the people with problems and hurts
and betrayals, and those who have life ‘dumped on them’, the outcasts, the ashamed, the
forlorn and declares that God knows what this is about, understands, and helps.
It’s the ‘helping’ that can become problematic because we often turn to Jesus and say, ‘Help

me’ but we want it our way and we struggle when he doesn’t – and that’s when the accusa-
tions can fly about lack of care, puny God, and him not worth the effort. But Jesus doesn’t

ignore anyone who calls to him – he walks them – and he does help. Yes, that’s a faith state-
ment but one I hold to when I don’t see or understand what might be happening – but an hour

later or a day later or a week or a month or whenever later, I look back and know that Jesus

has helped me get to now. And if he has helped me since my baptism, forgiven me, strength-
ened me, lifted me up, why would he stop now?

People are still coming to faith in Jesus everyday. A while back I was listening to another
podcast (on artificial intelligence*) and heard the account of a fellow who had converted to
Christianity after reading Richard Dawkins. He’d been brought up Jewish and when he’d read
Dawkins’ simplistic view of Genesis he checked out the Bible and converted to Christianity.
We can never tell the moment or situation where people consider things religious or spiritual
– and Christians should not be on the lookout for ‘religious scalps’ but should we be asked
about what we believe, the story of Jesus, God’s grace in human flesh, and his cross and
empty tomb is the place to begin.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!   GS