In my experience, there are three top stumbling blocks or “turn-off’s” of Christianity that I see surface time after time with both non-Christians and believers who struggle in their faith. Although there are certainly other issues that crop up, here are the ones – from least to most problematic – that I’ve seen over and over again.
Near the end of the movie God’s Not Dead, the atheist college professor who has attacked and ridiculed his Christian student’s faith throughout the film admits that it was his mother’s death from an illness and his unanswered prayers for her healing when he was young that drove him to atheism. When he converses with a pastor who attempts to comfort him, the pastor says that God sometimes says ‘no’ to our prayers. The professor then with anguish utters something that is to me one of the most poignant statements in the film:
“He says no a lot.”
It would be one thing if it was just prayers for new cars, A’s on tests, and a date with the person you want to go out with that seem to go unanswered. But it’s another thing entirely when your soul mate or child has cancer, when you’re the provider of a young family and have been out of work for a long time, or when a loved one seems determined to destroy their life with substance abuse, and no light at the end of the tunnel has appeared despite repeated and deep cries to God for help.
If would also be different if the Bible didn’t contain promises from God about Him being a loving Father who sees every need, One who speedily answers His children’s requests, and being a God whose will cannot be thwarted.
But when Scripture speaks about nothing missing God’s attention (Matt. 10:29), says that He rapidly brings about justice for those He loves (Luke 18:6-8), and claims that nothing can prevent Him from doing what He pleases (Job 42:2), unbelievers and Christians alike sometimes wrestle with existentially putting the puzzle pieces together of the difficult and painful things they have lifted to God in prayer and the seeming silence they receive from Heaven.
Such things give pause even to Christian authors such as Philip Yancey who once wondered if prayer was just, “a sanctified form of talking to myself.”
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Although in different work professions, all have very strong intellects and all admit that the reason they either reject God entirely or are agnostic about His existence is because they can’t square the evil they’ve experienced in their own lives or seen played out on the world’s stage and the idea of a supreme Deity.
For Turner it was watching his young sister die; with Darwin it was the death of his young daughter Annie; for Ehrman it is the general problem of theodicy.
The problem of reconciling an all-powerful/good God with the evil and tragedies that occur in life have caused endless discussions between unbelievers and believers. No thinking person can deny the thorny issue that the topic presents, especially when it’s your child that is accidentally killed or dies slowly from a degenerative disease or when it’s your particular nationality that is systematically hunted down and exterminated by political tyrants.
When evil touches them, people sometimes begin to question God’s existence and begin to believe the atheist option offered by Richard Dawkins for why evil exists: “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Robin Schumacher