The April 3rd online edition of Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, posted an article stating that in Norway faith in God is slowly dying out. Surveys conducted over the past 25 years reveal that fewer and fewer young people believe in God, and as the younger generation replaces the older generation, faith in God is diminishing.
A natural question then arises: What do people believe in instead of God? You have to believe in something. I assume that in our enlightened age of information, many simply believe in mankind. People are self-sufficient and have no need for a creative force. Through self-realization and by satisfying basic human needs, we have achieved quality of life and a satisfying lifestyle.
If I look at myself from a human perspective, I would have to say, however, that I don’t find much to believe in. I don’t have any qualities or characteristics on which I can build for eternity. Of course, the world is full of people with far better qualities and abilities than I have. Perhaps these people could find something on which to build, something which could bring them the eternal joy they so desperately want. I would have to say I have my doubts!
Why this trend? It is ironic that during the time period of this survey, most Norwegian churches have worked actively to make their preaching more “palatable” for the general population. For the most part then only spoke about God in relation to His forgiving power of grace. In this preaching, everyone is embraced, even those who are openly living in direct contradiction to God’s own words – and who are unwilling to change that. The God who is judge over all sin and who is waiting for people to repent of their sinful lives is often described as “the Old Testament God.”
Where is the God who can perform miracles in even the most wretched people, lift them up out of sin, and give them strength to live a new life?
Thus, believers and non-believers alike are united in the same mantra, “We are only human.” What is the result? It certainly is no surprise that there are fewer believers than before!
Where is the God of miracles who can perform miracles in even the most wretched people, lift them up out of sin, and give them strength to live a new life? Where is the God of whom Paul and Silas were so enthusiastic that with power they sang praises to Him – after having been beaten with rods and thrown into the inner dungeon?
This God can still be found, and He is the same yesterday and today. He earnestly longs to show His kindness toward each person. For those who do not care to get to know Him, He remains a theory, a theological or philosophical concept. However, for those who, with a living faith, receive Him and His Word, He reveals Himself and His power to save. He gives them everything they need to overcome sin each day. For these people, everyday life is never the same again. I know this because this is my personal experience.
This God is truly worth believing in!