THE TESTIMONY OF THE CONSCIENCE
The above examples are merely objective proofs of the existence of God. Let us consider the question of God’s existence from another angle: the psychological makeup of man. There is a large organization in America called the National Geographic Society. It investigates cultures and geographies of different parts of the world. It has one conclusion concerning its members’ many investigations—every race on earth, no matter how cultured or wild, advanced or backward, has one thing in common—a belief in God. Everywhere one goes, even among the uncivilized Miao natives, men believe in God. A man may be unintelligent and not able to think logically; he may not be able to give many reasons. But if he searches his heart, he knows that there is a God. Many people are only stubborn in their speaking; in their conscience they know that there is a God.
In 1925, there was a preacher who passed through a jungle in South America. Suddenly he heard a cry for help, and he ran towards the sound. When he approached a river, he saw a man on a canoe going downstream. The current of the river was strong, and not far from him was a waterfall. If no one came to his rescue, the man would die by falling over the waterfall. At that time, the man cried with all his strength: "O God, O God, save me, save me!" When the preacher saw this, he tried his best and saved the man.
The next day, the preacher passed through the same jungle again and saw a few hundred people gathered around someone who was speaking, and he drew near to hear what he was saying. The man talked about God, and he gave many reasons why there was no God. After the man finished, he challenged the audience: "I have given many reasons for the nonexistence of God. If anyone is not happy with these reasons, he can bring up his arguments now." The preacher went up to the platform and said, "I do not know how to argue, and I cannot give many reasons. But I can tell you a story. Yesterday as I was walking through the jungle, I heard someone crying, ‘O God, O God, save me, save me!’ I ran towards the sound by the river and saw a man sitting in a canoe. The water was rapid, and the boat was moving close to a waterfall. His life was in danger, and I saved him and took him home. I would like to introduce this man to you now. The one who was crying to God for help yesterday is the gentleman here today who is giving you many reasons why there is no God. You can ask him yourself if I am right or not."
Indeed, many people have their conscience covered up. Before their conscience is awakened, they can give many reasons for saying that there is no God. But when they are at the end of themselves, when they are about to die, and when they think of their future, their conscience tells them that there is a God. They can brush the matter aside now. They can say that they are young and that such things do not matter. But the day will come when they will step into eternity, and their sleeping conscience will speak out. I have often said that the conscience can sleep, but it will never die. When the time comes, it will speak out. However, it may be too late to know God by then.
There were a father and son in England who were both strong and zealous atheists. One day the father was about to die, and he was tossing about in his bed. He seemed to be very restless. When the son saw this, he was afraid that the old man would be shaken in his conviction, and he encouraged him, saying, "Father, hold tight." His father turned to him in tears and asked, "Hold tight to what?" Since they did not have God, what was there for them to hold tight to? But we have to thank the Lord because there is something that we can hold onto. There is something which we can lean back on. We know whom we believe.
Friends, please listen to the inner voice. Our mind will often give us wrong ideas; it is affected by outside influences. But the inner voice is trustworthy; it represents our true self. Please listen to the inner urge.
I have searched into the matter and concluded that no one is born an atheist; everyone becomes one through the influence of environment. This is why our conscience is the most valuable guide, and we should follow its leading all the time.
(The Normal Christian Faith, Chapter 17, by Watchman Nee)