If you don’t believe , why get so mad?

Have you had the same experience I have had when talking to people about God who say they don’t believe in Him? I have found that they first get very edgy, and most of the time they will tell me they don’t want to talk about God, and sometimes they even get downright rude about it and verbally attack me as weak and foolish because I do believe.

Isn’t it strange? If you don’t believe in God, why be so defensive because I do? Why get stressed out and angry that someone else does believe? If I said my favorite baseball team was better than yours, you would argue for hours with all the stats and achievements of your team and it’s stars. You would argue all about how well the team works, it’s accomplishments, and maybe you would attack some of the people on my team, but mostly it’s all about why you love your team.

Yet when I tell you I believe in God, you attack me, you attack God, the bible, et.al..  But do you tell me why you don’t believe? Not a chance. The best I get is, “I just don’t believe, that’s all.”

So, again I ask, if you don’t believe, why get so hot about it?

The answer is simple and the non-believer (alleged, that is) will never admit why: it’s because, deep-down, they do believe. They are scared that God does exist, that what He says is true, that they are sinners, that what they have been told about God being the final judge and about Sheol (hell) is all true. They don’t want to go to hell, and they don’t want to change how they live, so they just stick their head in the sand and say it doesn’t exist.

Then, like someone putting ice down their back, we come along telling them about how God has shown Himself to be real and to exist through the many ways He has acted in our lives, and giving not just our testimony but the testimony of many others we have heard and seen. The truth about God is an attack against their fantasy, their protective wall that blocks out the truth of their sinfulness, lack of control, and the hopelessness of the fact that they are headed for destruction.

When you think about it, no wonder they attack us: professing our belief in God, or any reference to God that so much as implies He might exist, is a direct attack against their protective wall of lies, so it is only natural they would defend themselves by attacking us back.

These are the people living in the dark to whom we are supposed to be a light. The problem is when we start to show that light it hurts their eyes and makes them see, as the little child called out from the crowd, “But the Emperor has no clothes on!”

And they know they are the Emperor.

When we strip bare their lies and ignorance, what can they do other than attack us? In truth, we are attacking them and their beliefs  by professing our love and commitment to God.  Not that we do it on purpose, but from their point of view that’s exactly what we are doing. And so many Believers who try to minister to people don’t have the slightest idea of how to make an argument or sell anything, and they make it even harder for spiritually mature ministers to talk to these people. And yes, we are selling God. We are trying to get the world to invest in it’s own salvation when it rejects the idea that there is any need for salvation.

People only believe half of what you say, but they believe everything that they say. If you want to be a light to those in the darkness, you will never succeed by telling them how dark they are. You need to get them to tell you how dark they are. You need to get them to realize their system of beliefs, which is (basically) not to believe, is not justified. They won’t believe what you tell them so you need to get them to say it, themselves.

“How the heck can I do that?”, you may ask (I just did!): you do it by asking questions. Don’t tell them why you believe in God, ask them why they don’t. And when you get the answers, which are always (trust me, they always are) weak and unsupported by much more than “just because “,  you keep asking why. For instance:

“I know why I believe in God, would you tell me why you don’t?”

“I just don’t.”

“Then if I understand you correctly, you are saying  you don’t believe in God because you don’t want to?”

“Yes. I have the right to my opinion, don’t I?”

“Absolutely, everyone does. So, then, you don’t believe pretty much because you choose not to, right?”


“Okay, so if you don’t believe because you choose not to, then God very well could exist, but you choose to reject that idea for yourself.”

“Yes, that’s it.”

“So you say God doesn’t exist but only because you don’t want to believe, which means you have no proof  that God doesn’t exist. I have no proof that He does, so  when it comes dowm to it, you say He doesn’t and I say He does, but neither of us can prove our point. Do you agree?”


That puts us on equal footing, and the next step is to ask:

“If we both believe just because we choose to, doesn’t it make more sense to believe in something that is wonderful and has hope for the future than something that has no hope and can lead to nothing but living your whole life just to die?”


That’s scripted, of course, and a real conversation may not take that exact course, but I hope you get the idea. We need to show that their rejection of the existence of God is not based on anything other than opinion, and opinions should be based on facts, yet there aren’t any. Just as we cannot prove, scientifically, that God does exist, they can’t prove He doesn’t. And accepting that there is a chance God does exist puts a little hole in their protective wall.

Once they admit their reason for not believing is based only on their choice not to believe, then you can offer, gently, why you do believe. One or two examples, something that made you absolutely certain God exists.

As for me, I tell how I felt His Ruach (Spirit) literally coming into my body when it happened. I had a totally physical and real-life experience. I have seen answers to prayers that are hard to explain away. I have heard the testimony of many people of miraculous events, healings, release from addictions, all very hard to explain away as just coincidence.

You can’t tell someone what they should believe, but you can tell them why you do. First, though, you have to get them to see their own reasons as weak and unsupported. And that has to be done patiently, gently and compassionately.

In the sales world, we learn that you never sell the quality of the steak: you sell the sizzle! Looking at a steak, reading the nutritional value, getting a good deal- none of that is why people buy a steak. They buy a steak because it tastes great and even more, because it sounds and smells absolutely wonderful when it is cooking. Just picture a steak on the grill, the browning of the fat as it is gently melting, the flames coming up around the edges, the aroma of the steak as it broils….

That’s what sells the steak- not how good it is, but how good it makes you feel.

God is good (all the time) and we love Him for who and what He is as much as what He has done for us. Well, maybe more for what He has done for us. That is why we need to get people who don’t believe to realize that their belief system has done absolutely nothing for them except suck out all the hope they could ever have in their life, and leave no hope for anything better after this life.

That is the selling point, that is what you need to bring them to realize: they choose to have no hope for no reason other than that’s what they choose. We choose to have hope in the resurrection and eternal joy, and if we want to believe that for no other reason that that’s what we choose to believe, then our belief that God exists is just as justified as their belief He doesn’t exist.

So the question is now, “Why would anyone choose to have no hope for anything wonderful in their life?”

If they don’t have a snappy comeback for that one, you are on your way to saving a soul.

What Now?

This week I seem to be on a pathway leading to somewhere; where, I don’t know.

Monday I felt led to write about building our belief system  in something (hopefully God), and yesterday it was about telling people what our beliefs are without forcing it down their throat because, ultimately, it is between each one of us and God. So we have chosen what to believe, and we are open to telling others what we believe for their sakes, but respectfully remembering it is their choice.

I guess today the next thing to discuss is: what do we do when they don’t want to believe what we do? How do we live with this? How do we change their minds, for their sakes?

That’s an important point: it has to be for their sake, not for our pridefulness, that we talk to people. I know I am prideful- I confess it, I admit it, and I deserve to be (that last part is just a joke, really.) We need to put our own need to be believed and listened to behind us when we are talking about God because it is all about God and not about us; it is OK to present ourselves as an example of what we are talking about, but we shouldn’t be the main topic (especially not in our own minds.)

I have been “in charge” for a good part of my career, and now that I am approaching the age where social security is going to be more of an income producer than a salary reducer, I feel that even if I am not in charge, my experience is useful. As such, I will offer my advice now and then, especially when it is asked for.

BTW…your opinion may be of great intrinsic value, but it has no perceived value at all until someone asks for it.

What I have learned from being in management is that just because someone thinks they have a great idea, even if it is a great idea, it may not be appropriate to the situation. In many cases, the person offering the advice is not aware of all the factors, so even when what they offer is good it will not work because of things they are unaware of. Even so, often people will become upset or angry when they offer their advice and it is not taken. That is pridefulness, and actually disrespectful to the person who has to make the decision.

Yeshua said that we should always respect those in charge because God put them there. Even when the person in charge is a total jerk, and every good and appropriate piece of advice you give is ignored, it is that person’s responsibility to make the final decision. So, if you give really good advice and he or she ignores it, just wait. Sooner or later things that go around will come around, and sometimes God, in His infinite mercy, will actually let us see that happen.

Most of the time we don’t see it, but we can trust in the Lord that it will happen. Just like I talked about yesterday, everyone gets their comeuppance, good or bad.

This holds true when we give advice about salvation and talk about the Lord. We have formed our beliefs, and we have offered them to people to help that person come to the truth. After we have had our say, we wait to see if the seed of salvation is absorbed by good soil, or if it has no more effect than shouting into the wind.

Now comes the hard part- being totally ignored, maybe even having our beliefs insulted, and not being offended. We can be a little miffed if we are insulted, and if so, there is nothing wrong with gently saying, “I allow you to believe what you want to without insulting you, and if you can’t be as respectful to me as I have been to you, then I don’t want to talk to you anymore about this.” Let’s assume that we are talking with someone who is not insulting, just not accepting what we say as valid for them. It’s hard to see someone rush headlong into what we know, absolutely, is death and eternal suffering. It is much, much harder when it is someone we love or care about. But we have to hold firm; we have to respect their right to decide for themselves, and we have to show them in our compassionate reply that we are not Bible-thumpers who can only preach fire and brimstone. We need to say, gently, lovingly and painfully (without trying to lay some guilt trip on them) that we respect their right to choose, and we hope they don’t mind too much if we continue to pray for them.

I usually like to include in my discussion, somewhere, that I know why I believe what I do, but can they tell me why they believe what they do, and they cannot say it is because that’s what they’ve been told or “just because”- those are not acceptable reasons.

From years in the sales business I learned the best way to make someone change their mind is not to point out where they are wrong, but simply to get them to question themselves. People only believe half of what you tell them, but they believe 100% of what they say. When we ask the right questions, and they realize they don’t have a “real” answer, they start to doubt themselves. Questioning ourselves is the first step to coming to the truth. If what we believe stands up to our own cross-examination, we are standing on a solid foundation. If we can’t answer our own questions with certainty, then we need to re-evaluate what we believe.

It is hard to see those we love and care about walk headlong to destruction, smiling and joking all the way to the end of the cliff, along with all the other Lemmings. It hurts, and we just want to smack ’em upside their head…but we can’t. It won’t do any good to kick against the goads (as Yeshua said), or throw pearls before swine (He said that, too.) All we can do is make them question themselves, offer the answers we know are true, and let them decide what they will believe.  Oh, I almost forgot- we need to show them what we are talking about by demonstrating it in our life. It’s one thing to talk the talk, but if we don’t walk the walk they will not see any reason to change. It has to be “Do as I say, and watch me do as I say” or it means nothing. No one will go to a restaurant you recommend if you say you would never eat there, right?

I think I have come to the place I didn’t know where I was heading to when I started writing this morning.

Here is my “A-B-C’s” for missionary work:

A– form your belief system;

B– share your beliefs and why you believe, respectfully understanding everyone has a right to make their own choice; and

C– humbly allow others to ignore you, but continue to pray for them and let them see your belief system at work in you.

I think that’s all we need; at least, it’s a good start. Don’t you think so?







Building a Belief System

It sounds so “professional”, doesn’t it? “Building a belief system”- like you are creating some commercial organization, or something.

Despite the stoically cold and unemotional sound of it, it is what we all do during our lives. Whether we are believing in our parent’s trustworthiness (which usually comes as a given), what we are told, what we learn, in Santa Claus, or even whether God exists or not, we depend on our beliefs to help guide us through life.

Hopefully we believe that ethical and moral behaviour, as defined by our society, is the way in which we should act towards others. Isn’t there an old adage that goes something like, “Honesty is what you do when you know no one will ever find out.”? We who have a belief system based on honesty and respect for others (and their property) believe in this.

So how do you build a belief system? You start with something that you believe in. DUH!!

If you believe in God, you have a really good start, but if it is that God doesn’t exist, or that He exists in some way other than what others believe, it is still something. No one can not believe in something, because even total apathy is something you believe in.

The question I was discussing with friends the other night is how do you know what to believe? We hear so many different things from so many different religions (and non-religions which are treated as a religion) that it is really hard to know who is right about what, and that was the question posed to me: “How do I know who to believe?”

My answer was, “You don’t, and that stinks” (I think the actual descriptive adjective I used at that time was somewhat more graphic.) But that is how it is. No one can be absolutely certain what to think or who to believe, at least not when first starting. So what do we do?

We take a leap of faith. We believe in that which seems right to us. I pray that God will be influencing each person’s heart when making that initial choice, but the choices we make are influenced by other things, too. Such as, what we learned from our parents (whether as a positive or a negative experience), what we learned from our friends, our teachers, our religious leaders, and (unfortunately) from TV. I have to include TV (and maybe nowadays I should include YouTube and the Internet) because it is such a major part of our lives now.

So we start with believing what is comfortable for us, and we move on from there. As we discuss our beliefs with others we hear their beliefs, and we compare and we re-evaluate, so on we go through life, constantly learning and adjusting our beliefs.

At some point, though, we have to take a stand. Sooner or later we will conclude that what we believe in is not open to change. I feel that way about my belief in God and Yeshua as my (actually, everyone’s) Messiah. I have always felt a calling to know God better, and I went through many years of not believing in Him at all; I cursed Him and His name often as a child, and I felt torn and confused, I believed we were all our own Messiah and that salvation was an individual thing, that there was no death only reincarnation, that there was no reincarnation, that …well, let’s just say I went through a lot of beliefs. After going through them all, I finally settled on what I truly believe in, what I have had proven (to me) to be the correct belief because of actual, real events in my life, and what I can say is more than a faith-based belief because for me it is a fact, a reality, an unchanging and unchangeable truth upon which I can now feel totally certain.

And here’s the hard part, the part that still stinks…I had to come to this absolute and unmovable position initially by a leap of faith.

In the long run, Brothers, Sisters, Friends, you need to make a leap of faith and choose to believe in something. What you are told, what you learn, what others tell you is true is all part of the process, but ultimately you must choose for yourself what you will believe. And it gets worse- you have to be willing to stand up to others when you choose that belief. You can’t go through life changing your moral and religious beliefs. I am sure there are people that do, and I can only feel pity for them. Without a belief system, you are building a house on sand instead of rock, and you will always be shifting  your moral and ethical position. You will be a leaf blown about in the wind instead of a strong tree upon which others can depend for support. And you will never feel secure in anything.

I believe that God exists, as He is described in the Bible, and that He sent Yeshua to be the Messiah He promised and told us about throughout the Tanakh (The Old Covenant.) I believe that the New Covenant is the continuation of the Old one, not a separate book about a new religion. I believe Yeshua (Jesus) taught the Torah, and the Torah is what He stood for and believed in. He never taught that we should act any way but the way we are told to act in the Torah. And all the other writings in the New Covenant support that.

I also believe that Yeshua died and was resurrected, and that His death allows me to be saved from my own sinfulness, which is a real part of my innate nature. I also believe that I can be a sinful sinner but still be a good person; at least, “good” as society defines “good.”  Which, I also believe, from God’s perspective isn’t good enough. That’s why we all need the Messiah.

I came to this belief system after more than 40 years of searching for it, and now I am totally comfortable with it. As I say above, I am convinced that it is correct because of the events in my life since I chose to accept this belief system for myself, and I am unmovable in it.

If you say I may be wrong, you have the right to believe that- I was where you are. The character Morpheus from “The Matrix” movie at one point had someone say to him that others didn’t believe as he did, and Morpheus answered that what he believes doesn’t require others to believe the same.

I believe, and I would hope that you believe as I believe, but you don’t have to. I respect your right to believe what you do, and am willing to discuss what I believe, but am not willing to allow you or anyone else to tell me what I believe is wrong. Maybe wrong for you, but no one can say it is wrong. Even if I vehemently disagree with what you believe in, I can’t say you are wrong, only that what you believe in is wrong for me.

God gave us all free will, and I respect God’s opinion and His choices. Even if you say there is no God and never was, my answer will be that your belief that God doesn’t exist is because He allows you to make up your own mind.

That’s what this is all about: initially, every belief is a leap of faith, no matter what you believe. Yeshua said we are all a slave to something, and I think we should be a slave to our beliefs; otherwise, what good are they? Let me say this: whatever you believe, make sure it is your choice to believe it. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you should believe, especially about God.

You need to be certain that what you believe is your choice because God will hold each and every one of us accountable for what we believe.

Believe me when I tell you that.