Well, I made the mistake of venturing into one of those online debates again. Fortunately, I was smart enough not to actually get drawn in and start commenting. But the conversation was a debate about the possibility of God's existence. The Christian wanted the atheist to admit to the possibility that he was wrong and the atheist wanted the Christian to admit to the possibility that he was wrong. Other people chimed in from both sides and some people from both sides opened up to the possibility that they were wrong. And the whole time I was reading this conversation I was thinking, "We're arguing about the possibility that we might be wrong instead of discussing why we think we're right? These people obviously didn't take debate class in high school."
The conversation reminded me of an instance where some people were trying to get the disciples to stop talking about Jesus. Peter and John were going to the temple when they met a lame man and healed him in the name of Jesus. This man's miraculous healing provided them an opportunity to preach about Jesus and they used it. But the preaching got them arrested and dragged before the ruling council. After a long and lengthy session, the council ordered them to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. Peter's and John's response is profound: "We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20, NLT).
Peter and John didn't get into a debate about the logical reasons for Jesus' position as Messiah and offer empirical data that would support their thesis concerning his resurrection and validate their reasons for preaching. They offered what they had seen and heard.
Not long ago I had a discussion with an old friend who has become an atheist and I asked him, "If God does not exist, do my experiences with God make me delusional?" He responded that people often have emotional experiences that don't have anything to do with the supernatural or with God but are often interpreted that way. I told him that I wasn't talking about emotional experiences (if you know me I don't have many emotional experiences), but that I was talking about times when God spoke into my life and the experience of God speaking into my life was tested and it endured the passing of time. My friend never responded.
I can share examples of when God spoke or moved in my own life, not where I got a mystical feeling or suddenly felt better about something, but actual examples of the voice and movement of God in my life and the consequences that flowed from them. Admitting to the possibility that I am wrong about the existence of God, for me, is like admitting to the possibility that I am wrong about the existence of my wife or my next door neighbor. If you're reading this from across the country I may not be able to prove to you that they exist, but I can introduce you to them if you are willing to go for a ride. I cannot admit to the possibility that God doesn't exist because I have met God and experienced God's direct intervention in my life, regardless of whether I have empirical data that proves God's existence to the rest of the world.
Don't get caught in philosophical and logical arguments for or against the existence of God. Share with people the wonderful things we have seen and heard. Tell them your story of encounters with God.
If you don't have any stories of your own, find someone who does and let them introduce you to the One who was spoken into their life. If you would like to talk to me, just comment and let me know you would like to talk (the comments are hidden until I approve them) and I will contact you. I would love the opportunity to share my stories with you.