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by Natasha Crain
A few months ago, my 6-year-old daughter asked a question that has had me thinking ever since:
Mommy, why does God matter so much?
It was the most fundamental of questions, really. Yet I was embarrassingly uncertain of how to answer it in a way that meaningfully encapsulates the full answer for her. I’ve thought about the question many times since she first asked it, and it’s always bothered me that I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on how best to reply.
Meanwhile, in the last several months, I happen to have read a lot of “deconversion” stories online (testimonies from ex-Christians of why they lost their faith). It hit me just recently that there’s a theme at the end of many such stories which ultimately points back to the answer to my daughter’s question (I’ll come back to that at the end of this post):
After people recount how they lost their faith, they often conclude their story with a glib comment of how they moved on because they “didn’t need God anymore.”
This is a strange conclusion that I think betrays a lack of deeper insight.
Here’s the deal:
If God exists, we need Him. All things were created through and for Him; He is the Source and sustainer of everything by definition. Therefore, if God exists, it’s not a choice to need Him, it’s simply a fact that we do.
If God doesn’t exist, we don’t need Him. We cannot need Him. We cannot need something that doesn’t exist.
In other words, saying that you don’t need God anymore is a nonsensical conclusion. Of course you don’t need God if He doesn’t exist. And if He does exist, you can’t choose to not need Him.
What their statement betrays, therefore, is that they had come to believe in God based on felt needs (desires) rather than on the conviction that God truly exists.
When they realized they didn’t need to believe in God to satisfy those felt needs, they simply eliminated Him from the picture and met those needs in other ways. It looks like this…
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