Imagine a Muslim friend comes to you claiming that Allah will reveal himself to all who sincerely seek him. You skeptically ask what sincerely seeking Allah requires. Your Muslim friend informs you that you need to humble yourself before Allah, make yourself open to the spirit of Allah, and you will eventually see Allah if your heart is indeed pure. Your Muslim friend reminds you that millions of humans have successfully found Allah through this method. How would you respond?
Christians and nonbelievers can agree that the Muslims and Mormon and Hindus who find a particular God after searching desperately for that God are actually conjuring up that God in their imagination. But does not Christianity itself suggest the same method as a legitimate way to find the God of the Bible?
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
How likely is it that someone exposed to the notion of a particular God would not “find” that God if they sought that God with all their heart? Do you think this is an honest way to begin a journey to find an actual God if one exists?
Religions the world over encourage young people to confront the guilt of their iniquities, and to humble themselves and seek the God most accepted by the local culture that he might save them in some way. And these young people inevitable find this local God. This God is so clearly evidenced to them that they are usually bound to this God for their lifetimes. Are humans perhaps unaware of the capabilities of their minds to construct Gods?
The belief in space aliens is a good example of how minds can be primed to perceive what they want to perceive or expect to perceive. The descriptions of the space aliens reported over the past few decades seem to map quite consistently to the way space aliens are depicted in the local media at a particular time. Most space alien sightings in the U.S. tend to match the big-eyed large-headed space aliens depicted in American movies and TV programs. However, when the “War of the World’s” radio drama was broadcast, many Americans who did not realize it was a theater production perceived transmission towers to be the aliens described. The power of suggestion is not trivial.
Ghosts are another example. While ghost sightings in the U.S. tend to be of transparent entities consistent with the depiction of ghosts in Western literature and media, ghosts sighted in Japan are not transparent, but may take the shape of deformed humans, more in line with Japanese folklore.
Once again we run headlong into the perennial question why any actual God would not simply step out of the shadows to befriend those he claims to love. This is discussed in depth in Chapter #02.
Another important step in fully assessing whether the Christian God actually does appear in some spiritual sense to all those who honestly seek him is to speak to unbelievers who have spent a considerable amount of time seeking any God who might exist. If the Christian can befriend those who have sought the Christian God with all their heart, but failed to find that God or any God. Look them in the eye. Are they lying? Or were they truly open to the existence of a God?