Will to Believe

That insight from Willard cut to the heart of my spiritual journey. If I wanted to, I could continue to try to explain away the words of the experts I had interviewed, no matter how outlandish or nitpicking my arguments would eventually become. And, believe me, my mind is quite capable of manufacturing all kinds of elaborate rebuttals, excuses, and counter-arguments-even in the face of obvious truth.

Ultimately, though, faith isn't about having perfect and complete answers to every single one of "The Big Eight" objections. After all, we don't demand that level of conclusive proof in any other area of life. The point is that we certainly do have sufficient evidence about God upon which to act. And in the end, that's the issue. Faith is about a choice, a step of the will, a decision to want to know God personally. It's saying, "I believe-please help my unbelief!" As Willard said, "It's the person who wants to know God that God reveals himself to." Or as Lynn Anderson had told me: "When you scratch below the surface, there's either a will to believe or there's a will not to believe. That's the core of it."

I was thankful that I didn't have to throw out my intellect to become a Christian. The positive evidence for Jesus being the unique Son of God and the convincing answers to "The Big Eight" objections cleared the way for me to take that step. But I did have to overcome my pride. I did have to drive a stake through the egoism and arrogance that threatened to hold me back. I did have to conquer the self-interest and self-adulation that were keeping my heart shut tight from God.

To apply Willard's words to myself, the biggest issue was: "What did I want?" Did I want to know God personally-to experience release from guilt, to live the way I was designed to live, to pursue his purposes for my life, to tap into his power for daily living, to commune with him in this life and for eternity in the next? If so, there was plenty of evidence upon which to base a rational decision to say "yes" to him.

It was up to me-just as it's up to you. As William Lane Craig expressed it:

If God does not exist, then life is futile. If the God of the Bible does exist, then life is meaningful. Only the second of these two alternatives enables us to live happily and consistently. Therefore, it seems to me that even if the evidence for these two options were absolutely equal, a rational person ought to choose biblical Christianity. It seems to me positively irrational to prefer death, futility, and destruction to life, meaningfulness, and happiness. As [Blaise] Pascal said, we have nothing to lose and infinity to gain.4

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