The Absurdity of the Christian Faith

The Absurdity of the Christian Faith

Every morning I sit at my desk or in a chair, pull out a devotional book and my Bible, and spend time reading and filling in little blanks with answers about what the author wants me to understand about God. Then I close up the books, close my eyes, and sit there quietly. After being quiet for a few minutes I start rambling off hopes and fears I have. I just talk. Then I get quiet again. I never hear anything. Most of the time the stuff I pray about either works itself out on its own or it just becomes a reality I have to live with. I have no real way of tracking what my prayers are actually doing. I’ve been instructed throughout my life (and in the Bible) to give God credit when things work out, so I do. But sometimes I wonder.

This morning I found myself particularly frustrated. Why do I waste valuable time doing this? I feel guilty even asking because I’ve been conditioned through a lifetime of religion to believe that this time of “communication” with God is of value. But in all honesty, this is not communication. Communication involves back and forth. These times are one-sided. I talk to a void. I listen to silence. I get no feedback. Sure, I feel better about life in general once I’ve done my duty of spending “quiet time with God,” but maybe that’s just because humans really love religion. We like to think our spiritual acts have impact on the world and influence God. Our delusions give us a feeling of power. Maybe Marx was right that “religion is the opium of the people.”

I don’t generally talk about these feelings, mostly because I know some know-it-all-Bible-thumper will give me a formula he promises will get God talking and get me feeling all faith-filled again. “You need to confess secret sins,” they’ll say. “You are holding on to unforgiveness, that’s why God is silent.” Or the really lame ones say, “Just have more faith.” I’ve heard it all in my thirty-five years of doing this deal. I don’t get annoyed by those people anymore, I just feel sorry that they live in such a simple and small world.

So, I don’t complain most of time. I just grin and bear it. I live with the doubt and silence, but hold on to hope that this whole deal is worth something. I’d love to give it all up at times. It would be much easier. But there’s a major problem, a reason I can’t give it up:

I’ve seen too much.

A man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with a theory. We come to know God through experience and I’ve had one too many experiences to abandon it all now. There have been a few key, pivotal moments in my life when God showed up – clear as day. Moments when he has spoken or intervened in a way that there was no doubt it was him. Those moments were life-changing and I can’t get past them. They were so impacting that I know for certain I’d be a fool to give up on this absurd Christian faith.

I kind of feel like Peter when Jesus asked him if he was gonna ditch him, like everyone else did. Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) That’s my problem. I’m too far in. I’ve seen God’s power and heard his voice just enough that I know I’d be a fool to try anything else.

And that’s why I stick with this ridiculous faith. Because my absurd Christian faith really is about faith. It’s believing that there is a God who is there. He is real. He cares about me. And he is not silent, but he isn’t always going to speak to me in ways I’d prefer. But my faith believes that, “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Ps. 84:11). I’ve got what I need to follow this absurdity. If I got regular miraculous signs or heard God speaking to me every day I wouldn’t need faith – I’d be certain. But certainty is easy. Real faith is never easy. So I hang my hat on this:

Living with doubt and still moving forward is true faith.

So, I press on. I do my morning devotions alone and in silence. I do my best to obey God’s commands. I believe God is there and listening. I’ve seen and experienced that he brings rewards to those who hold on to this ridiculous, absurd Christian faith in the unseen God.

So, maybe it’s not so absurd after all.

Selah.

 

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6