Does God Exist? And What Does Sin Have To Do With It?

In Saturday’s debate, held at Biola University (and co-sponsored by the students and Biola’s Apologetics Department), between Christopher Hitchens and William Lane Craig, I found it interesting that, as near as I recall, the only time the word sin (actually “sinner”) came up, our atheist proponent, Mr. Hitchens, used it (and even then, in my notes I may have used the word, not he, to indicate what he was describing).

I believe the occurrence came in his rebuttal. Essentially he said that the Christian belief is extraordinarily contradictory. On one hand we believe that we are so despicable and wayward, in fact that we are sinners in need of God to rescue us by dying a painful, bloody death. On the other hand, we believe that this same God designed this incredibly vast and complex universe over billions of years just for us. In short, that prideful position stands in stark contrast to the Man-as-worm view.

Well, bravo! He got it. There is a contradictory chasm between the two views. And if Mr. Hitchens would follow that train of thought, he’d get to the truth.

His primary focus, it would seem is that religion is bad for society. He points to things like the Crusades and the Inquisition, to religious terrorist bombers.

The truth is, sin is bad for society. And Satan, who Mr. Hitchens undoubtedly also does not believe in, masquerades as an angel of light. How Satan must love to see people fight and kill in the name of God, or in the name of their religion.

Did God initiate any of this? Someone might immediately point to places in the Old Testament where God’s people were commanded to annihilate other nations. But that’s missing the point. Sin was already in the world, and God didn’t bring it.

I’m sure the concept of sin is something Mr. Hitchens has a hard time with since he doesn’t want to be accountable to a higher being, since he doesn’t want a “celestial dictator” telling him what to do.

But there’s the problem. This blatant rejection of God’s authority is the problem, and the wars and brutality and inhumanity Mr. Hitchens cites are the symptoms, regardless if the people involved claim to be religious or not. I don’t care if a “Protestant” terrorist or an Islamic terrorist explodes a bomb. At the heart, both are sinners acting sinfully, in need of a Savior.

The Protestant can claim he knows the Savior, but his actions say otherwise. The societal “Does God exist?” debate is muddied by the existence of false religions and false teaching within Christianity.

During the cross examination phase of the formal debate, Mr. Hitchens asked Dr. Craig if he thought there were false religions. He said yes, Then Mr. Hitchens asked if he thought there were any false Christian denominations. Unfortunately, after answering yes, Dr. Craig hedged when asked which ones. He turned the question to doctrines he disagreed with. Instead he could have stood up for the truth and named heresy. If he didn’t want to say Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses or health-and-wealthers, he could have said something like any who add or detract from the inerrant, authoritative Word of God.

A missed opportunity. I think it’s time Christians separate from pseudo-Christians. Instead, because a social agenda seems to have dominated our goals in the last few decades, it seems like we are more apt to pander to anyone with morals like ours.

The fact is, morality doesn’t win us points in Heaven. We are no closer to reconciliation with God if we go to church or live a monogamous, heterosexual lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong. I do think having a relationship with God will effect our behavior and certainly our lifestyle. But we must not give the impression that abiding by a list of do‘s and don’t‘s increases our standing with God and makes us more acceptable.

I think that’s what the people who go to war in the name of religion are all about. They think their standing up for “the cause” earns them special consideration. It is false.

But because one form of religion is false, a thinking person should not conclude that God does not exist. Sin accounts for it. So does man’s pride. Which, by the way, seems to also be at the heart of anyone saying he wants to be emancipated from a “celestial dictatorship.”

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