…But I Know Something You Don’t Know

As an apologist, I often dialogue with non-believers on the evidence for the philosophical, historical, and scientific veracity of the Christian faith. While I have the utmost confidence in the various lines of evidence that beautifully converge to support the case, the most important and persuasive evidence is, by its very nature, inaccessible to the non-believer. It is something that I have first-hand knowledge of, that I can describe to them, but that they cannot personally know in the absence of belief.

I know, through years of experience, the stunning, often overwhelming dynamic of God’s ongoing intervention in my life. I can look back over the decades of my past and literally map out the major turning points that God finely orchestrated to steer me into His will. Those points were, more often than not, painful and confusing. During my sojourn in those seasons I questioned God; sometimes I was intensely angry with Him. And then a day would come whenever I realized, in a moment of stunning clarity, that during those episodes He was stripping away a bad splinter in my heart, that sometimes He was saving me from myself in ways I couldn’t have then imagined.

The non-believer’s response to this would probably be that I read too much into the coincidences of life. Oh, if they only knew—-if they only knew how hopelessly inadequate that explanation actually is! They haven’t lived in this relationship. They haven’t experienced that moment when your eyes are suddenly opened to the reality of what God has been doing in your life and the sheer impact of it sends you to your knees in awe, gratitude, and a deep sense of unworthiness. They just don’t know.

But I know.

And the tragic thing about all of it is that the non-believer is rejecting God based on incomplete knowledge. They wiggle out of the implications of all the other evidence as best they can, claiming that if God really existed, He would make Himself known in an undeniable way. But while the evidence the non-believer has isn’t complete, it is sufficient. People reject even sufficient evidence for belief in something whenever the conclusion stands in stark opposition to what they want to be true. Atheist Thomas Nagel was honest about it:

It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.

(The Last Word, 1997)

Christian faith is not defined as blind belief in God; it is defined as the belief and trust in the one God whom we have excellent reasons to believe in. That faith is rewarded with the unmerited blessing of a new knowledge that was unfathomable before, undeniable after.

youDontKnowYouDontKnow

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DISCLAIMER: Blog entries made by individual authors reflect the views of the author and not necessarily the view of other CAA authors, or the official position of the group at large.
About Melissa Cain Travis

Melissa Cain Travis serves as Assistant Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University. She earned the Master of Arts in Science and Religion from Biola University, graduating with Highest Honors. She is certified in Christian Apologetics by Biola, and received her B.S. in biology from Campbell University. She is the author of the Young Defenders series, illustrated storybooks that teach the fundamentals of Christian apologetics to young children. The first book, How Do We Know God is Really There? was released in spring, 2013. The second, How Do We Know God Created Life? will release in March 2014.

  • http://hausdorffbb.blogspot.com/ Hausdorff

    Interesting post. It is difficult for me to argue about things that you have experienced and determine whether it was God or not. You are right that if we really dug in to it I imagine my response would be something along the lines of what you said, that you are reading too much into things, but it would really just be conjecture. I can’t know what you experience and how it felt. But for that same reason, I think you would agree that your experience isn’t a good reason for me to believe.

    “But while the evidence the non-believer has isn’t complete, it is sufficient.”

    This line really stuck out to me. If I’m reading it correctly you seem to be agreeing with what I wrote above, that your personal experience isn’t evidence to me. Of course you also say that the evidence that is available to me is sufficient, which I would disagree with, but I suppose that is a conversation for another time :)