When debating atheists, one of the things that is almost always apparent is that atheists tend to think they are too smart to believe in God. They refer to Christianity as an assortment of “fairy tales” or beliefs that are “silly” or “absurd.”
I can’t tell you how often I hear these same objections, and the words are usually coupled with a prideful attitude. If you don’t believe me, go to YouTube and look up any videos by popular atheists, read the comments section, and you’ll see what I mean.
Some skeptics might ask, “Why would God do things that are so hard to believe? Why wouldn’t God do things in a different way, to avoid the controversy?”
Why do things like Noah’s Ark, the virgin birth, and salvation through death on a cross, which many people consider nonsensical? And why choose weak and faulty people to proclaim the Gospel, throughout the bible, and even to this day?
It’s a good question, and the answer to it is very interesting. Let’s take a look…
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and he chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
1 Corinthians 1:27
There are three points I want to make, in regard to this scripture, that will hopefully answer the question.
1. Pride is one of the worst sins.
Throughout the scriptures, it is abundantly clear that pride is one of the worst sins, and it has serious consequences. God opposes pride because it blinds people, it causes people to think they’re too smart or too strong for faith in a higher power. I talked a little bit about that in this video.
Pride is also usually at the root of all the other sins. When someone thinks they are superior to others, or too smart to believe in God, that pride often leads them to do all sorts of other things that go against God’s will.
The bottom line is that God opposes pride and arrogance.
2. There is a clear difference between worldly “wisdom” and true wisdom.
The bible also teaches that there are different types of wisdom. There is worldly wisdom, and there is true or Godly wisdom. There are numerous scriptures on the difference between these two types of wisdom, and how God sees worldly wisdom… It is foolishness in God’s eyes. (1 Cor. 3:18-19)
The combination of pride and worldly wisdom is a recipe for disaster.
3. Trying to find God or understand spiritual matters solely through one’s intellect does not work.
There are different ways of knowing things. Our mind or intellect is one way. But when it comes to understanding spiritual truths, it is God who “opens our eyes” and reveals these things to us, and this happens on a deeper level, not through one’s intellect.
This is why the unbelievers can’t understand spiritual matters, because they are trying to use their carnal mind to perceive something that is not perceived on an intellectual level, but through our spirit. If anyone is still confused about this, our spirit is the deepest part of our being, and its functions are: conscience, intuition and fellowship with God. If you’re interested in that topic, I wrote about it in a post a few years ago.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
1 Corinthians 2:14
So when skeptics proudly state that they are too smart to believe in God, or talk about how all the “intelligent” people are atheists, it is a bit amusing. They don’t understand that intelligence is not that relevant, when it comes to belief in God, since spiritual matters are perceived in an entirely different way, through our spirit.
This is not to say that one can’t use reason and logic, when it comes to arguments for God’s existence. On the contrary, God created our minds and expects us to use them. But there’s a difference between using logical, reasoned arguments in support of God’s existence (apologetics) which pave the way for people to be open to the Gospel…. And actually knowing and experiencing God. The latter is what happens on a deeper level, through our spirit, revealed by the Holy Spirit.
It may be possible to believe God exists, solely on an intellectual level. But actually putting one’s faith in God, and seeing the value of the Gospel requires something more, it requires revelation from God, that we receive on a deeper level.
Getting back to the original verse…
So why did God choose the foolish and the weak, when He could’ve done things a different way?
A nonbeliever would say those things are hard to believe because they’re just not true…. “Who could believe such foolishness?”
What they probably haven’t thought about is that God purposely chose to do things that way, to confound the so-called wise.
I believe that God did things that way so that faith, humility and a simple, pure heart (Matt. 5:8) are necessary factors, when it comes to finding God and truth.
In contrast, the things the world looks to: worldly wisdom, power, strength and a “sophisticated” (jaded) mindset will not help one find God. In fact, those things can hinder a person from finding God, and pride in those things will blind a person to truth.
I believe that maybe God also wanted to level the playing field, so that anyone can be used by God. One doesn’t need a PhD, worldly power, wealth, or a perfect past to be used by God. God can and DOES use people who are broken, imperfect and “weak”, as long as they have a willing heart. Just read the bible. It is filled with examples of imperfect, faulty people being used by God, in big ways. The thing that they all had in common was faith and a willingness to serve.
All of this goes along with Jesus’ teaching that we must have a child-like faith, in order to be saved.
“… “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I think it’s a good idea to think about this paradox… That only when we are weak can we become truly strong. (2 Cor 12:10) And only when we become “foolish” can we become truly wise. (1 Cor. 3:18-19).
And remember that simple faith, humility and a teachable heart are essential, when it comes to finding God and eternal life.