Majority of the people in the world believe what they want. Those that do not believe there is God and have little to no evidential reasonings for why. They simply do not want there to be a God or they do not want God to be who He says He is.
They have no desire in their heart to love God or to get to know the truth, so their mind avoids logical thought on Him all together, and we believe what we want instead.
Thomas Nagel was a professor who taught philosophy and law at New York University. Nagel does not believe in God, he admits that some things point to God’s reality, but confesses he doesn’t want there to be a God.
Nagel says in his book The Last Word, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
Nagel says he has a cosmic authority problem, he doesn’t want a world where everything owes its existence to God and where everyone must answer to God. So, Nagel continues to believe what he wants.
Richard Lewontin was a Harvard biologist who rejected God not because of evidence or logic but because of what he calls a ‘prior commitment’. His own admission is that they side with science despite the absurdity in some of its constructs… that they cannot allow a divine foot in the door.
“We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”– Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons, The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997
We can see from these two examples that unbelief is not based on evidence but from choosing a stance before considering any evidence. When our heart dislikes God or has no desire for Him, the mind will explain God away. Allowing us to go on believing what we want to.
You do not have to be a well-known or prominent professor to have a cosmic authority problem. In fact, many people have these issues even if they are not committed atheists. There are many ways that people believe what we want without ‘throwing God out completely’.
Deism is belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. In deism you assume there is a God who got the universe going, but he leaves things alone now. God exists but he ignores you, you can safely ignore him, there is no need to think about God, get to know Him, or obey Him. This is for those who think God is real but want to continue to do as they please–this is NOT the God of the Bible.
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.Psalm 10:4,11 NIV
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.”
There are many ways we can believe what we want. Maybe you do not like to think you are alone in the universe; you don’t want God to not exist, and you don’t want God uninvolved. Instead you want a God who is there for you, who makes you feel better about yourself and your choices, someone who lets you do as you please and won’t try to change who you are. You want a God who thinks, feels, and acts just as you do. A God that is all about love and acceptance and has no room for correction or punishment. You want your own preferences to be His will. So, you believe what you want.
17 You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.Psalm 50:17 NIV Psalm 50:21 NKJV
21 These things you have done, and I kept silent; You thought that I was altogether like you; But I will rebuke you, And set them in order before your eyes.
There are many ways that people try to avoid the God of the Bible. These examples are only some of the ways, but they all come back to the cosmic authority problem that Nagel’s spoke of.
The fact is that most of us are not as honest as Nagel was when he said, “I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God. I don’t want the universe to work that way.” The Bible tells us in Colossians 1:21 that we were once alienated from God and were enemies in our minds because of our evil behavior. John 3:19 tells us that men loved darkness instead of light because our deeds were evil.
Denying the existence or not wanting the existence of God is directly linked to our sinful ways.
When we live our life contrary to what God says, it is not because we do not know what God wants, but because we do not want what God wants. We simply do not like the God of the Bible. We do not like His authority. We do not like his command for obedience. We do not like how He has designed the world to work. We do not like that He decides our destiny. We do not like that He corrects, instructs, and wants to change us. We do not want there to be a Supreme Being who is who the Bible says He is.
What our sinful selves want is to run our own life, without consequences, and without the fear that God will limit our freedom, fun, and thinking. So, we go on believing what we want.
To believe in the living God of the Bible, it is not usually more persuasion, more data, or more facts that we need. What we need is to get over our dislike of God, His authority, and what He stands for. Somehow, we need to get to the point where we see God’s authority over everything as a good thing.
Satan tells us that you’re not actually free unless you can go where God tells you not to go.
What if someone told you that you are not actually free unless you can live in prison? You know that prisons are for confinement and are surrounded by fences and barbed wire with signs that warn you not to come closer, it’s not safe.
Do you then say to yourself, “I can’t truly be free unless I can go inside and live in a prison cell?”
Satan’s freedom takes you away from clean air, open fields, and healthy living. In return it gives you freedom of foul air, closed quarters, and living trapped in sin and bondage.
True freedom only comes from the authority and empowerment of God.
34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.John 8:34 NKJV
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.Galatians 5:1 NKJV
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV
25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.James 1:25 NIV
We tend to believe what we want when we make up our mind about who Jesus is based on His publicity, hearsay, what school(s) or others have taught us, assumptions about who He is and the lack of seeking Him for ourselves.
If we do not read the Bible and seek to know God through Jesus, we will quickly be creating a God of our own and not getting to know the true God of the Bible. We will find ourselves believing what we want, instead of holding on to the freedom and truth in Jesus Christ.
*Some of this article and the idea for it came from a lesson by David Feddes at Christian Leaders Institute.