Recently I was having a conversation with a young man. He was telling me that, as an atheist, even if God existed he would refuse to believe in him. He said it came down to this: God is not worth his time. He argued that even if he were to meet God face-to-face he would still say, ‘I refuse to believe’. He would not want to give God the satisfaction of having one more person believe in him.
I must admit that I found this confronting. Not for the first time it occurred to me that there is an element of choice when it comes to faith. Two people can encounter the same reality and one choose to say ‘yes’ to it, and the other choose ‘no’.
But it was only when he described the God that he refuses to believe in that I could see the origins of the problem. ‘After all’, he said, ‘how can anyone take seriously an old man in the sky, sitting on a cloud cavorting with unicorns?’ He was half joking but it made wonder: how many people reject the existence of God because of the ridiculous way God has been spoken about over the centuries? Are they rejecting God, or the image of God that they have been offered?
This article is part of Faith Journey, a newsletter from the National Centre for Evangelisation.