I have a conversation currently still in process that started on Facebook and moved to private messaging with an atheist from Australia. He is very respectful, and to get me talking, that’s all I really need from a person. So his initial comment has stretched into multiple comments spanning everything from how we know what we believe is true, to progressive revelation, to secular morality, and more. We’re not even done yet, but I’m waiting for him to finally say, “All right, Jesus man. That’s enough.”
It’s gotten me thinking again about why I believe what I believe. More than that, why do those reasons work for me and not someone else? I guess we can all chalk it up to the Holy Spirit, but I’m sure we all have our own story here about how we got from no belief to belief, or how we grew up believing and got through the gauntlet of secular culture to the faith we are in now.
I put this out as a question to all of you who write on here – and I guess to anyone else, as well, but mostly to all of you who write here. What did it for you? What brought you to the faith or kept you there when you were teetering on the edge of doubt?
For me, it’s miracle stories. I know that might sound weird, but it’s true. In community college, I took an Intro to Philosophy class and had a crisis of faith. But I reflected on the life of George Muller of Bristol. He was a pastor who was frustrated that all the businessmen in his congregation were cutthroat and unscrupulous in their business practices. Their excuse was that their jobs were cutthroat. Unless you cheated, you would never be able to support yourself and your family.
Muller did not agree and decided to embark on building an orphanage from the ground up solely on prayer. He never asked anyone for money. He never asked for supplies. But by the end of his life, he had taken care of around 10,000 orphans and had established 117 schools that gave Christian education to more than 120,000 children. All on prayer. All on faith.
In his diary are stories of the children never having to wait more than half an hour for their three square meals each day – even when the cupboards were bare. Once, they were out of milk, and a milk truck or carriage broke down right in front of the orphanage. The man who rode it said the milk would go bad anyway, so the orphanage might as well have it. Another time, a baker couldn’t get any sleep because God kept telling him to bake bread for Muller’s children. His life is full of these stories.
Every time my mind would wonder, “Could I be wrong? Could this philosopher be right? Is my faith a sham?” I would immediately think, “But what about George Muller?”
It is his story and other miracle stories from other people’s lives that help keep me in the faith. I know great men and women have argued back and forth about whether God exists or not and whether Christianity has enough historical evidence to back it up. I know those discussions lead many to faith as well. But for me, it’s the direct action of God in the world in ways that cannot be easily explained away that inspire me to keep going.
Well, that and the donuts after Mass.
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