In Radical Change, author Scott Leone explores examples of Christian responses to questions raised by secular humanists about religion, in general, and Christianity, specifically. Radical Change provides an explanation of a Christian worldview directly from the Bible, to help foster understanding and facilitate ongoing discussion, in order to point people to the Savior, Jesus Christ.
In this excerpt from Radical Change, the scene picks up in the middle of a conversation between Lee, the humanist, and the Christian, who engages him in conversation:
Lee felt a little moved by the idea that God loved him. But he still had questions spinning about in his mind. So, he asked, “You Christians speak about knowing God, but how can you know someone you can’t see? That’s why I think prayer is just a catharsis. In fact, religion itself is just a kind of emotional release. It helps people cope with fear, like the fear of the future or the unknown.
“But I feel I can face the present rationally and deal with my fears that way. A catharsis for me is just knowing more about the causes and effects of nature. As I learn more, I feel better. So, I don’t see a need for God.”
“First, I agree with you in the sense that every human being has his or her own cathartic method. Some deal with fears by pursuing pleasure or money, others art, or like you, by science and philosophy. And so, I agree that religion can also become just a catharsis, but it isn’t always that way. The point being that all people seek to deal with fears of the future and the unknown.
“That’s where faith comes in. Again, faith is believing something is true even when you don’t know all the details. Faith is having confidence in something or someone to help you through those fears. “For you, your faith clings to science to help you deal with life. You say others cling to religion. But my point is that everyone looks to something or someone for a kind of catharsis, as you call it.
“Second, knowing God is something that satisfies the soul in a most wonderful way. It’s not a catharsis. Knowing God has both a firm root in reason and a strong hold on faith. Knowing God speaks deeply to the human spirit because God created humans in His own image. There is, therefore, nothing in nature quite like knowing God. Knowing God combines faith and reason with the deepest possible satisfaction of the soul.
“Third, knowing God is relational. You cannot have a personal relationship with nature, at least not one that speaks to you as a person, or to your human nature. “It’s like this. You may have a relationship with your pet dog, but it’s limited. You may love hiking in the wild, communing with nature so to speak, but it only touches certain emotions in you. Neither a pet nor nature itself can relate to you like another human being.
“Now imagine a person who not only can relate to your human nature, but to everything about you. Imagine one who knows every detail of 45 your life, every thought before you speak it, every need, every fear, every doubt, every hope. That’s God!
“God is the only person who truly knows you. And He is knowable by you. So, unlike any other relationship you can have, knowing God is unique and special.”
“But how do I relate to one I don’t see?” asked Lee. “I mean, how does God speak to me? What words does He use since I don’t hear Him or see Him?”
“Those are excellent questions. Of course, I spoke before about how God reveals Himself. I mentioned creation, the Bible, and His Son, Jesus Christ. But since you’re asked about words, then God speaks to you through the Bible. His word is there in the Bible, which is one reason Christians insist that the Bible be called ‘God’s word.’ The Bible is God-breathed, as I said before, which establishes it as God’s word.
“Yet, there’s something even more profound about Jesus that you must understand. The Bible calls Jesus, ‘The Word’! He is God’s word become flesh. He is God — the Person of the Son — become man to speak directly to people and to reveal God’s love directly to them. That’s both exciting and profound.
“So, reading the Bible becomes more than just filling your head with information. It becomes a personal interaction with God Himself in a manner which engages both your reason and your faith. It becomes a personal encounter with God that leads to a relationship that directly impacts your human nature.”
“Well,” said Lee, “that certainly is more than I even considered, I’ll admit that. That’s a perspective I’ve never thought about before.
“So, you’re saying that the Bible is how God speaks to a person and a person speaks to God?”
“Yes, almost. The Bible is the basis for all speaking to God. Of course, anyone at any time can simply pray to God. But God will hear and respond in accordance with His word, the Bible. That’s why it is so central to knowing God.”
“I see,” said Lee, thinking out loud. “Knowing God would be a fascinating thing. I just still struggle with how to relate it to science.”
“Look, many people, even philosophers, get hung up by the limits of science and the scientific method. But knowing God doesn’t contradict science, it just goes into areas that you can’t discover on your own., Knowing God comes through God’s personal revelation of Himself. It’s 46 not by scientific discovery as if one could find God by searching under a rock, or something like that.
“Rather, you come to know Him by His own revelation of Himself. Isn’t that just how you come to know any person? Don’t you get to know people as they tell you about themselves?” “Yes,” said Lee.
“Yes, I do,” he said with a little smile.
This is an excerpt from Scott Leone’s book, Radical Change.