by Bill Walton
This article reprinted by permission
Some people do not believe in God, and Christ, and the Bible because of the false doctrines that are taught in the name of Christianity.
The apostle John tells us of a time during the personal ministry of Jesus when many of His disciples turned away from Him because they misunderstood Him to teach some things that were absurd and grotesque (Jn 6:60-66). And undoubtedly there are many people today who refuse to believe in the God of the Bible because of some of the absurd and grotesque doctrines that are falsely attributed to Him.
The doctrines of John Calvin have been particularly hurtful to the cause of Christ. Calvin’s doctrine of inherited depravity and his doctrine of unconditional salvation and damnation are still taught by some of the Protestant denominations. Many people mistakenly believe these doctrines are taught in the Bible. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth (Ezek 18:20-28; Ac 10:34-35).
Then again, some people do not believe in God, and Christ, and the Bible because of the atrocities that have been committed in the name of Christianity. Some people foolishly and illogically blame God for the atrocities committed in the name of Christ by false-Christians. The Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Salem witch trials are often cited as examples. But the truth of the matter is those who took part in the atrocities were not real Christians. And Jesus said there would be many false-disciples in the day of judgment who would claim they had acted in the name of Christ, but He will condemn them and say, “I never knew you” (Matt 7:15-23).
Again, some people do not believe because they have given in to their emotions. Some tragedy in their life has turned them against God, and because they are angry with God they deny Him. Job’s wife, in the Old Testament, was like that. When Job lost practically everything he had and was afflicted with boils from the top of his head to the sole of his feet, his wife told him he ought to curse God and die (Job 2:9).
Many people have reacted to their suffering, or the suffering of their loved ones, by denying the God who would allow them to suffer. But we would all do well to imitate the wisdom and faith of Job (Job 1:20-22), and of David (Psa 34:17-19).
There are many reasons for unbelief. But none will be of any comfort in the day of judgment.