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Is God an imaginary friend?

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, a famous painting found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (Credit: Erzalibillas via en.wikipedia.org)

The Colorado Coalition of Reason claims that he is.  This week they posted this assertion on three billboards in Boulder along with the request: “Choose reality, it will be better for all of us.”  Why did the group take this action?  Their website explains: “We are concerned when religious people feel they have not only the right, but the obligation, to force their religious views on others.”

They add: “We don’t ask you to stop believing in your version of a super-natural being.  We do ask that you consider not forcing your religious views on others.”  So they have created billboards which force their religious views on us.  Is this not a bit contradictory?

Last night it was my privilege to share a public forum on the existence of God with Dr. Steve Sverdlik, a philosophy professor at Southern Methodist University who has become a good friend.  Steve believes that there is no God and that all “miracles” have natural explanations.  He pointed to the rising interest in non-theism today, including the fact that the first “humanist” student organization at SMU began this year.

Those who deny God’s existence typically agree with the Colorado group: theism is irrational.  They are a “coalition of reason,” in contrast to the non-reason of believers.  If an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God exists, we wouldn’t need to debate the fact.  Everyone believes the sun exists; why aren’t we equally sure its Creator is real?

My response last night was that faith is a relationship.  As with all relationships, it cannot be proven or disproven, only experienced.  We examine the evidence, then step beyond it into a relationship which becomes self-validating.

If you needed proof that this essay was worth your time, you wouldn’t have read this far.  You considered the evidence–you’ve been reading for years, someone recommended this essay to you, etc.  Then you stepped beyond what you could prove into that which you could only experience.  If I needed to prove I’d be a good husband before Janet married me, I’d still be single.  A relationship with God works the same way.  No one can prove–or disprove–his existence.  But everyone who asks him to forgive their mistakes and become their Lord will experience him personally.

How is this rather esoteric conversation relevant to your life this morning?  Why do you need a more personal, intimate, transforming relationship with your Creator?  What struggle, fear, decision, guilt or grief do you need him to help or heal?  Jesus is not an “imaginary friend”–he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16).  He is watching you read these words and is praying for you at this moment (Romans 8:34).  His omnipotence is as close as your knees.