Atheist, Agnostics, and Non Theists contest the existence of God. Their main points of argument are the lack of scientific proof and the horrific conditions of violence and suffering in the world. How can a loving God remain silent, inactive among so much tragedy?
Their arguments are compelling, rational, and valid. They have challenged theologians for centuries. Some became theologians. Paul Tillich was such an agnostic who found his faith by redefining God. His treatise “The Courage to Be!” is used in major seminaries today.
Notwithstanding, suffering, violence, injustice, and evil continue to be problematic. These life conditions have proven to withstand theological dogma, confessions of faith, and even powerful preaching.
The Bible says a lot about why bad things happen without giving definitive answers for every situation. The key for people of faith has been relationship. Consistent, committed personal experiences with God over time produce powerful, transforming convictions.
Habbakuk, a prophet wrestling with these issues concluded he would base his life on a simple proposition. He writes “Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes, even if the olive tree fails to produce and the fields yield no food, even if the sheep pen is empty and the stalls have no cattle— even then, I will be happy with the Lord. I will truly find joy in God, who saves me. The Lord Almighty is my strength. He makes my feet like those of a deer. He makes me walk on the mountains (Habbakuk 3:17-18a).”
The Bible says the just shall live by faith; one version says “The just shall live by his faith.” Faith in God contingent on existential proofs can be shaken by life. But a holistic approach is powerful. It says, “through it all I’ve learned to trust in God.” My relationship with God validates my faith; it’s personal.