Why do untold thousands of young people enroll in colleges as believing church members, yet emerge a few years later as secular unbelievers, unsure of God's existence or the Bible's authority? Understanding the genuine answers to these problems will greatly affect your future—and the life of our nations. We must not be afraid to confront the "ultimate questions" such as these!
A massive attack against Christianity has been waged during the last few decades. Millions of people have dropped out of "mainstream" churches, and many others are on the way out. Increasingly, educated people are turning away from religion and, seemingly, from God.
Why do untold thousands of young people enroll in colleges as believing church members, yet emerge a few years later as secular unbelievers, unsure of God's existence or the Bible's authority?
Understanding the genuine answers to these problems will greatly affect your future—and the life of our nations. We must not be afraid to confront the "ultimate questions" such as these!
First of all, our modern Western educational institutions increasingly promote the theory of evolution. Yet, more than most people realize, the premises flowing from evolutionary theory affect fields of study apart from the physical sciences. Unproven concepts are usually taken for granted when they are taught under the supposed aegis of "science."
Yet most honest scientists freely admit that they have no way to disprove a "First Cause." They have no true way to fill in the many "gaps" in evolutionary theory. And, from a religious perspective, they have no way to disprove the literally dozens of specific Bible prophecies that have already come to pass!
Perhaps without realizing it, today's atheists basically "hide their heads in the sand" and simply ignore the awesome prophecies of the great God, as recorded in His inspired word! Yet they are not being fully honest intellectually, unless they admit into their minds the knowledge of the great God of creation, and how He has intervened in the past and even now is intervening in human affairs! The real God of the Bible spoke through the prophet Isaiah more than 2,500 years ago: "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure'" (Isaiah 46:9–10).
Many otherwise intelligent people are atheists or agnostics because they have "given up" on mainstream religion, which has fabricated so very many untruths that it is no wonder educated people are turned off by such nonsense! Thousands of old-fashioned Bible-thumping preachers have thundered, "The Bible says that God created the earth 6,000 years ago. So we didn't descend from monkeys and the scientists are all wrong!" But does the Bible, in fact, actually say that God created the earth 6,000 years ago? No way!
What the Bible does say is: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). The words "in the beginning" do not give a specific time-frame! We in this Work of Christ have always proclaimed that the world may have been created billions of years ago. Yet scientists have often changed their theories about how many billions—tossing around billions of years like they would toss around tennis balls. For, in truth, they do not know! They are simply giving us "educated guesses." However, from what we know about this planet and its development, it does appear that our planet came into existence billions of years ago.
But how? Again, the scientists have no real way to prove or disprove a "First Cause." But, being human, they are often turned off by preachers' silly ideas—which they do not recognize as unbiblical because most scientists do not "search the scriptures" with an open mind to see what God actually does say. The typical scientist, like the average American citizen, is a biblical illiterate.
Dr. Stephen Prothero, Chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University, commented: "More than 90 percent of federal legislators call themselves Christians, making Congress more Christian than the United States itself…. Yet U.S. citizens know almost nothing about the Bible. Although most regard it as the word of God, few read it anymore. Even evangelicals from the Bible Belt seem more focused on loving Jesus than on learning what he had to say…. Surveys that are more scientific have found that only one of three U.S. citizens is able to name the four Gospels, and one of 10 think that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. No wonder pollster George Gallup has concluded that the United States is 'a nation of biblical illiterates'" (Charlotte Observer, March 18, 2007).
Many atheists and agnostics claim that they cannot believe in a God who "allows so much suffering" in the world. "Where was God during the Holocaust?" they will ask.
Okay, where was God? Bible students understand that He was on His throne in heaven, basically keeping His "hands off" the human race—keeping to His plan to allow human beings to go their own way for 6,000 years, after which He will send Jesus Christ back to this earth for a Millennial Sabbath of 1,000 years of peace and understanding (Revelation 20:6).
To the multitudes of His day, Jesus Christ spoke in parables. Only to the "inner circle" of His disciples did He reveal the full meaning of those parables. Christ allowed the multitudes to go on in their blindness (2 Corinthians 4:3–4). He told His disciples, "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them" (Mark 4:11–12, KJV). So Jesus was not even trying to "save" everyone then, as so many have supposed. The great God is merely "allowing" mankind to go its own way for 6,000 years, to learn the lesson that man's ways—apart from God—lead to confusion, misery, suffering and death! God is not trying to "call" everyone at this time. That is why Jesus Christ also said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44, KJV).
God allows all of us "free moral agency." He does not "make" us do His will. If He did, atheists would complain that "God is not fair" because He would not allow them to experiment with their desires and lusts to misuse science, sex, drugs and to engage in so many activities that lead to hate, confusion, broken homes and war!
But the atheists and agnostics cannot have it both ways!
Remember, God has allotted mankind six thousand years to write the lessons of life through human suffering and despair. Then, He will send the living Jesus Christ back to earth as King of kings (Revelation 11:15). At that time, God will open the eyes of all human beings, and they will be taught the way of God—the way of peace, prosperity and joy based on His great spiritual law, the Ten Commandments (Micah 4:1-4).
But what about the dead whom God never "called"—and who never had a genuine opportunity to learn of God's plan and the real meaning of life? Most of these people suffered and died, through the ages, without even hearing the name "Jesus Christ." Is all of their suffering in vain? If there is a real and merciful God, will He not give these billions of human beings a genuine opportunity to know God and learn the way of their Creator?
As Jesus indicated, the truth is that God is not attempting to call most people to understanding during this age. That is why God inspired the Apostle John to describe Satan as "that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9). Satan truly is "in charge" of this confused world, at this time. Describing Satan, Jesus said, "the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me" (John 14:30).
How wonderful it is to realize that the billions of individuals who never understood about God or their purpose for life will be resurrected in a "day of judgment" described in your Bible. It is not "a day of condemnation," but rather a period of testing for people who will have their eyes opened for the very first time. That is why Jesus said to the people of His generation, "Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment" than for those who understood and rejected His message (Matthew 10:15).
Meanwhile, although they are terribly deceived, the atheists and agnostics do—in one sense—have a point. They have been confronted with a world of confusion, anguish and seemingly pointless suffering. And they have also been confronted with a false Christianity, which does not have genuine answers to the questions of life. But you who read this magazine can find the Truth, if you are willing to put forth the effort to study with an open mind. As Jesus said: "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). To fully understand God's awesome purpose in all of this, be sure to call us or write us to request your copy of one of the deepest, most thought-provoking and enlightening booklets you will ever read. Just request your absolutely free copy of our booklet, Is This the Only Day of Salvation? It will truly open your eyes!