I Need God to Live a Good Life

I Need God to Live a Good Life

“I Don’t need God to be good.” We get that message from people opposed to belief in God. They don’t think that believing in God really affects how people live. Unfortunately, it is a sad truth that people who claim to be Christians often don’t show it in how they live. At the same time, some atheists live very moral lives. However, I need God to live a good life.

My father was an atheist and a very moral man. To my knowledge, he was never unfaithful to my mother and he was honest in his financial dealings with others, including the government. He was a teacher all of his life and was respected by his students and colleagues at Indiana University. Most of us know someone who never goes to church and yet lives a good life. We have also seen reports in the media and have had personal experiences with religious leaders who exploited others in financial or moral ways. On a practical level, why should anyone be a Christian?

An old saying is that “sitting in a bank doesn’t make you rich.” When I called my child’s room a pigpen, she defended her messy room by saying, “Sitting in a pig pen doesn’t mean you are a pig.” The point of these examples is that a person who claims to be a Christian or even wears a religious title may not even believe in God or Christianity. For some, religion is a way to get rich or gain influence. The “Does God Exist?” ministry makes no attempt to claim perfection, nor do we attempt to defend organized religion. Instead, our effort is to show searching people that there is scientific support for God’s existence and the credibility of the Bible.

I need God to live a good life because God’s word gives us a set of standards of what is good and what is evil. In addition to moral standards, it tells us how to live productive lives at peace with others. You can’t read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 – 7 and not see that it shows the road to peace and goodness. Likewise, Matthew 25:31-46 lays out how we should act as Christians. No human philosophy comes close to the teachings of Christ in showing how to live a good and moral life.

In Acts 2:38, Peter talks about becoming a Christian, and he fills in the missing piece that no skeptic has or understands. Peter promises that those who become Christians will receive “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That means God is living in us to help us overcome our weaknesses. Whatever goodness I possess is not a product of my intellect or genetics. I am so far from “survival of the fittest” that I need God to live a good life. My life is different from what it would have been if I had followed my biology or human philosophy. I’m far from perfect, but I am complete as a Christian, which is what the biblical word “perfect” means (Matthew 5:48).

— John N. Clayton © 2022

LGBTQ Hate Crimes Have No Place in Christianity

LGBTQ Hate Crimes Have No Place in Christianity

Our hearts go out to the families of those killed and those injured in recent shootings. In November 2022, there were six mass killing incidents in the United States. Violence seems to be increasing against people attending LGBTQ clubs, venues, and drag events. Some blame this violence on Christians, claiming that biblical teachings against homosexuality and alternative lifestyles cause senseless violence. The truth is that the teachings of Jesus Christ adamantly oppose violence against anyone. It is a biblical mandate that Christians oppose sin, but it is also Christ’s command that we love the sinner. LGBTQ hate crimes have no place in Christianity.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, and 7), Jesus explained how Christians should deal with opposition.
In Matthew 5:38, Jesus reminds His listeners that people in the past had said, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” In the violent world of primitive people, that way of thinking was common. Unfortunately, that principle is followed by many people today. By contrast, Jesus said, “But I say to you, don’t resist the man who wants to hurt you…” (verse 39). In verses 43-44, He expands that command by saying, “It used to be said to be kind to your friend and hate your enemy. But what I tell you is love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.”

Skeptics will respond to this by referring to Romans 1:18–2:16, which identifies those who reject God’s plan for human morality. Romans 1:24 tells us, “God abandoned them to impurity, letting them follow the cravings of their hearts, so they degrade their own bodies with one another.” Later verses describe all kinds of aberrant behavior by those who deliberately choose lifestyles of violence and opposition to God.

The first point we need to make about these verses is that they do not describe most LGBTQ practitioners in America today. The more important point is that if you keep reading further in Romans 2, you find it telling Christians to leave the situation to God. It is not the job of Christians to be the judge, jury, and executioner. Leave the judging to God. LGBTQ hate crimes have no place in Christianity

The reason God opposes LGBTQ behavior is that it is a destructive lifestyle. We don’t know all the causes of homosexual behavior, but they are clearly not the same for everyone. Statistics show that such behavior leads to negative numbers for stability, disease, and life expectancy. However, those affect the individual and are not a direct threat to others. I have gay friends who are the kindest and most creative people I know, and Jesus tells His followers to love all people.

Nevertheless, Jesus must weep with us at the horrible violence that has been part of American life in recent years. It makes no sense to direct violence toward people who have done nothing that would suggest they are a threat to anyone except possibly themselves. LGBTQ hate crimes have no place in Christianity.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: USA Today Network in South Bend Tribune for 11/22/22, pages 1A and 3A.

Thanksgiving Encourages Us to Count Our Blessings

Thanksgiving Encourages Us to Count Our Blessings

Of all the secular holidays that Americans celebrate, Thanksgiving is the one that has the greatest Christian syzygy. Syzygy is an astronomical term referring to an alignment of astronomical bodies, and Thanksgiving aligns uniquely with the teachings of Christ. Thanksgiving has no mysticism as Halloween does and does not involve special objects like Easter bunnies or eggs. It does not have the commercialism of Christmas. Instead, the family time of Thanksgiving encourages us to count our blessings.

In my 41 years of public school teaching, I saw kids whose parents did not appreciate them. Those kids were a problem for the school and society in general. In addition, I have observed marriages ending in divorce. In most cases, the collapse of the marriage was rooted in the partners not telling each other they were appreciated.

In the Old Testament, God commanded the nation of Israel to observe feasts and festivals of Thanksgiving. In the New Testament, communion is a time for Christians to pause every Sunday and be thankful for Christ’s sacrifice and the forgiveness it offers. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that Christians should “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.” Romans 1:21 identifies those alienated from God as people who “knew about God but neither glorified Him nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

We give thanks not because God has an ego problem that He needs us to fill. We thank God because humans need to be thankful for the blessings we have. Focusing on what we don’t have or comparing ourselves to others is a short road to depression and unfortunate behavior.

Christians should be thankful 24/7/365, and Thanksgiving encourages us to count our blessings. For our own mental and spiritual health, we need to be grateful. Be thankful for the creation, family, friends, life and health, freedom, food and water, the Church, and salvation. May this Thanksgiving Day remind us of all our blessings. Focusing on what we don’t have and anguishing over our losses will not bring the joy and security God intends for us to have.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Living in Fear in Today’s World

Living in Fear in Today’s World

According to the Boston Globe, 80% of college students are living in fear. The article says that activists and administrators have created an “Us vs. Them” mentality. This applies to race, pronoun usage, and political views creating “intense, persistent and excessive worry and fear about everyday situations.” For example, the article says that even “picnic” is now deemed racist and can get a student branded a bigot or transphobe.

In the history of America, one of the rights we all have is the right to express an opinion. An adage says, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.” But, unfortunately, that is no longer applicable to life in America.

People could say that in the past because most Americans believed in the Christian concept of God and that all people are created in God’s image. The biblical concept of love was “agapao,” which governed how people thought of even those with whom they disagreed. That word means “to consider of great value,” and Christ introduced the concept in His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapters 5-7). Christ and the apostles taught that every human is infinitely and equally valuable (Galatians 3:28).

People today are living in fear because they have adopted “survival of the fittest” as their guide for dealing with one another. That means I can denigrate those I deem less fit and treat them as less valuable. All abuse of others is rooted in this belief system. Carried to extremes, it even applies to political differences. Recently a female member of congress suggested killing a political opponent to advance her concept of democracy. No wonder people are living in fear.

The Christian belief system eliminates living in fear. John writing his excellent dissertation on love in 1 John 4:7-21 says it beautifully: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear; because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If a man says I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen can not love God whom he has not seen” (verses 18-20).

Living in an atheistic world is challenging, and fear reflects that. Therefore, Christian faith and morality are more important than ever, not just on an eternal level but even in our day-to-day lives.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Article in the Boston Globe newspaper and repeated in The Week (10/7/22 page 12)

Excuses for Not Eating

Excuses for Not Eating

If applied to other areas of life, the excuses we hear for people rejecting Christianity would not make sense to any thinking person. However, someone recently sent us an example of applying those excuses to food. Like faith in God, there is evidence that food is a significant source of success in life. So why not take the excuses people use for rejecting God and Christianity and apply them as excuses for not eating:

“I don’t eat anymore because …
I was forced to eat as a child.
I used to eat, but I got bored.
None of my friends will eat with me.
I’ll start eating when I get older.
I’m too busy working to eat.
I really don’t have time to eat.
Eating is just a crutch that I don’t need.
There are hypocrites who eat.
There are too many different kinds of food. I can’t decide what to eat.
Restaurants and grocery stores are only after your money. “


If you say that eating is different because we must eat to survive, I would suggest that having a relationship with God is also necessary to survive. Food provides physical survival, but being a Christian brings spiritual, mental, moral, and emotional survival. Therefore, excuses for rejecting God’s gifts make as much sense as excuses for not eating.

Look at the evidence and react to it in an open-minded way. We are not asking you to embrace human-created religions but biblical Christianity that allows us to live successfully through all of life’s trials and beyond. See 1 Peter 2:1-5.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Legalizing Assisted Suicide in the Netherlands

Legalizing Assisted Suicide in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has been a trailblazer in legalizing abortion, same-sex marriage, and euthanasia. For many years, that country has had a euthanasia law that allows doctors to actively kill a patient with an injection of drugs. It is supposed to be done only under strict conditions, but some cases have resulted in criminal actions. Now a group has filed a suit to force the Dutch government into legalizing assisted suicide.

The group called Cooperative Last Will, which claims 30,000 members, brought the suit. They want to legalize assisted dying, in which patients are provided with a lethal substance they take themselves. Lawyers have presented their arguments both for and against assisted dying, and the Hague District Court will render a decision on December 14.

From a purely secular standpoint, there are obvious problems with this issue. There are times in life when you hit rock bottom, and dying can look pretty good. Taking your life might make sense if you believe you are an animal with no more value than any other animal. However, people thinking of taking their own life are not considering what their death does to those who love them, to material possessions, or their obligations to society.

The Christian view of life and the physical body is explained in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. It tells us that the body is the temple of the Spirit and expresses God’s displeasure with anyone destroying it. I have been with several Christians when they died. Their expressions of love, forgiveness, sharing, and caring have impacted the lives of their family and friends. In some cases, the actions or words of one who was dying have changed the lives of others.

Assisted dying is a selfish, cowardly, atheistic choice by someone who may be influenced by any number of destructive agents. We need to work toward ending our lives in a positive way that expresses our love and the care that we have for others. Doctors need to work on relieving pain, not finding ways to terminate a life. Legalizing assisted suicide to allow distressed individuals to end their lives is filled with problems.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Mike Corder in an Associated Press article for October 11, 2022. Featured in the South Bend Tribune for that date on page 6A.

Cannibalism in Animals and Human Cannibalism

Cannibalism in Animals and Human Cannibalism

Many things separate humans from all other animal life on Earth. One difference involves cannibalism. Scientific research has shown the extent of cannibalism in animals. In the wild, there are countless examples of animals eating their own offspring, the offspring of others, or even a mate. Cannibalism is an easy way to get food, and among predators, nearly all animals who are carnivores sometimes practice cannibalism.

Population density is a significant factor leading to cannibalism in animals. Also, a sick animal unable to get food in the usual way will frequently resort to cannibalism. Some animals will eat other animals’ young to avoid their offspring having to compete for food. Animals such as bears and lions will kill and eat their offspring to stimulate the females into early estrus. Many reproductive issues are involved in animal cannibalism.

Why do some tribal groups practice human cannibalism? The answer is almost never because of food shortages which often lead to cannibalism in animals. However, there is one biblical case where hunger led to cannibalism. Second Kings 6:24-29 tells about a war that caused famine in Samaria, leading two women to agree that they would boil their two sons and eat them. The first woman’s son was cooked and eaten, but the second woman hid her son. The response of the King when he hears of this shows that it was not an accepted practice.

There are cases where people in extreme duress have eaten human flesh. However, human cannibalism practiced in jungle civilizations involves religious reasons, not the desire for humans as food. Instead, they would eat an enemy’s brain to gain their knowledge or their body to gain their strength.

It isn’t just our culture that finds human cannibalism repulsive. Christianity teaches that the human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). Our Christian heritage has taught us that human life and the temple in which it resides are special and sacred.

Jesus told His followers to love their enemies. The Greek word “love” here is “agape,” which means “to consider of enormous value.” Our enemies are still unique with eternal souls, making them of incredible worth. This is far from the atheist philosophy of “survival of the fittest.” Killing a human is contrary to all that Jesus uniquely taught. As society drifts away from Christ and His teachings, spiritual cannibalism takes over, leading to war, suffering, and perhaps even physical cannibalism.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Scientific American November 2022, page 19

God’s Original Equipment Is Better Than What Humans Make

God’s Original Equipment Is Better Than What Humans Make

One of the things I have learned about my body is that God’s original equipment is better than what humans make. The dental equipment that various dentists have put into my mouth has usually lasted only about 20 years, but I still have some of my original teeth. My eyes are starting to show aging after working well for years, but I go through glasses at an alarming rate. Trifocals don’t work as well as the eyes I had as a teenager.

The desire to put off children until later in life to pursue a career has caused many couples to freeze embryos for later in vitro fertilization. In Scandanavia, 78,000 human embryos have been frozen, and 18,000 pregnancies have resulted from in vitro fertilization. Studies show that 74% of the mothers who used IVF suffered from high blood pressure, while only 4.3% of women had blood pressure problems with natural childbirth.

High blood pressure is dangerous in pregnancy because it can lead to preeclampsia which can cause complications for both the mother and child. This has implications for the abortion issue and family planning organizations. The bottom line is that women must decide what is most important in their lives. God has given them the ability to have a baby, and God’s original equipment is better than what humans make. Having a child is a choice a woman should make, but babies should not be an afterthought.

The financial stresses on families may force women to make hard decisions. Still, human interference with the original design of the reproductive process causes significant problems for families, women, and babies. Which is more important, having a high-level career or raising a child? Trying to do both and doing them successfully is a daunting challenge.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: CNN.com and The Week for 10/14/22, page 22

Little Aborted Souls in Heaven

Little Aborted Souls in Heaven

An article by S.M. Hutchens in Touchstone magazine raised the question of what the Redeemer will do with “those little aborted souls … in heaven.” A skeptic recently suggested to me, “If we believe the Bible, Christians should support abortion because those aborted babies automatically go to heaven.” Both of these views miss the point. There will be no such thing as “little aborted souls” in heaven.

When we die, we leave all of our physical existence behind. At the end of time, the physical world will be dissolved and turned back into the form from which it came. (See 2 Peter 3:10-18.) Einstein’s famous equation e = mc2 tells us that mass and energy are really the same thing, and quantum mechanics continues to support that concept. In 1 John 1:5 we read, “God is light.” Light is energy, and the idea is that God took some of His own nature and turned it into matter. That was the start of the creation process.

Revelation 21 tells us that in heaven, we will be free of every negative thing that afflicted us here on Earth. There will be no death, pain, or suffering. As verse 5 says, all things will be made new. Christ will bring all of us who are His into this new existence, including those babies who were killed before they could draw a breath.

The skeptic then says that we should rejoice that these “little aborted souls” are now with God and will never have to experience the trauma of life. That might sound like a reasonable argument, except for something that atheists can never deal with. It is the question of purpose. What is our purpose—why are we here? There is a joke about the skeptic who says to God at the judgment, “Why didn’t you put a stop to COVID?” God responds by saying, “I did, and you aborted it.” That really is more than a joke. It raises a key point in this discussion.

The Bible makes it clear that God had and continues to have a purpose in the creation and a purpose for each of us. We are not just accidents. Ephesians 6:12 and 3:10, as well as the Book of Job, show us that there is a war between good and evil, and we are on the battlefield. Atheists may try to deny this by saying evil doesn’t exist, but that is an irrational view.

Everyone was created with talents and abilities to do something in the battle with the spiritual forces described in Ephesians. Unfortunately, many refuse to participate and end up with lives full of frustration and no direction. Aborted babies never have a chance to do what God created them to do. Those of us who find our niche realize that God put us here for a reason. In that, we find contentment and value in life as we fulfill the purpose for which we were created.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: “L’Chaim!” in the column “Mortal Remains” by S.M. Hutchens in the November/December 2022 issue of Touchstone magazine

A Negative Attitude Toward Christianity

A Negative Attitude Toward Christianity  - Turn to Positive

“Religion” is a bad word in the world today. Many religions are violent, abusive, dishonest, and the source of war, waste, and murder. When I gave my lectures on science and faith in England, Ireland, and Scotland, I found that people were very interested in what I was presenting, but if I used the words “church” or “religion,” they were repulsed. In many countries today, telling someone you are a Christian invites a very negative response. Why do people have a negative attitude toward Christianity, and what can we do about it?

People have seen destructive actions by people who claim to be Christians. If you take a history course, you will learn about the Crusades, religious wars, slavery, racial hatred, and racial abuse, from the Tulsa tragedy to lynchings in the south. In modern times, we have seen people robbed of their money, their property, and their virginity by people who claimed to be Christians. There is no defense for that behavior. It is wrong and flies in the face of what Jesus Christ taught and lived. Furthermore, those actions create a negative attitude toward Christianity.

Surveys in the last ten years have shown that more and more people are rejecting “religion.” Religion is usually defined as human attempts to reach God. According to recent surveys, when asked if they believe the Bible is God’s Word, 20% of Americans say “no.” A substantial percentage of Americans cannot tell you anything about the Bible except what they have heard critics say. They also admit that they doubt God’s existence and reject the Bible’s moral teachings. The answer to this situation is education about Christ and His teachings.

If we are to change the trend away from God and the negative attitude toward Christianity, we must start at the very bottom. We must assume the world around us knows nothing about God, Christ, or the Bible. Unfortunately, that is the situation for many people today, and starting with the basics is necessary. Here are some basic places to begin:

1) How do we know there is a God? What is the evidence?
2) What is God, and how do we know that the spiritual world exists? Naturalism teaches that the material world is all there is.
3) What are the properties of God, and how are they relevant to humans?
4) What is a human, and why are humans special? What uniquely sets us apart?
5) Why do the teachings of Christ make sense, where do we find them, and are they reliable?


We address all of those questions on our websites and in our free materials. However, as long as preachers and religious leaders spend their time, money, and energy attacking each other and promoting emotionalism and entertainment, a negative attitude toward Christianity will continue. We must share our faith in love.

— John N. Clayton © 2022