Even in disbelief you take a leap of faith.
So says Ray Nelson, the fictional atheist-confidant of Lee Strobel in the movie, The Case for Christ.
I finally watched this movie when I had a few hours to myself. As far as movies go, I thought the film was entertaining. The acting was a little melodramatic at times, but I’m not a movie critic (my favorite movie is Twister).
The Case for Christ is based on the true story of a Chicago reporter in the 1980s, Lee Strobel, who converted from atheism to Christianity after working on a research project to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Strobel’s personal search for the truth led him right up to the edge of faith. He failed to find his measure of definitive proof either for or against Jesus’ resurrection; however, through his work he realized the depth of evidence supporting it, sparking his conversion.
The value I see in The Case for Christ is how it rearranged a well-worn debate. The historical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is actively debated. The pervading conclusion for skeptics and nonbelievers is something like, “There’s no definitive proof. Until there is, it can’t be true.” The Case for Christ looks at this from the other side. For Strobel, not only was he unable to find substantive proof against the resurrection, he found so much evidence for the event in his years-long study, it sparked his conversion to Christianity.
As Strobel grew more exasperated with not finding his answers and the discomfort that came with it, his atheist-friend Ray says, “Even in disbelief, you take a leap of faith.”
Let that sink in.
Not believing also requires faith. The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most documented events in human history. Reducing scripture and gospel to fairytales also requires an uncomfortable stretch over evidence.
A famous quote from C.S. Lewis – “If Christianity if false, it doesn’t matter. But if it’s true, it’s the most important thing in human history.”
Pretend for a moment that we knew for sure, without a doubt, that Jesus died for us so we could experience God’s love for eternity. All we needed to do was believe in that reality. How would that change the way you feel about yourself, knowing God loves you that much? How would it change the way you live your life? The way you relate to others? The work that you do? We’ll probably never get the definitive answer on Jesus’ resurrection because knowing for sure removes the need for a relationship with God at all. Just like the relationships we have with other people here on earth, a relationship with God requires faith, trust and participation of our own free will.
In the end, no matter where someone’s at in regards to belief, there’s no such thing as a comfortable place. Every state of being – including unbelief – requires faith over the uncertainty of what you believe to be true, and a lifelong call to seek the truth.
Christian truth-seeking is rooted in Jesus Christ. As He told us, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” – John 14:6