This is especially directed toward young people, those under thirties and most especially young teens (hi there!) because, frankly, I've about given up on your parents' and teachers' generations of understanding these things. They are so infested with "magical" thinking instead of 1) faith and 2) logic and reasoning based on facts. You've been raised that way too, but I have a great hope that you recognize something is very wrong: totally wrong. So this is part of the "faith and reasoning" series where I teach you how to have logical faith based on the truth, accomplished through reasoning and the facts, and also develop your skills in using classic logic to solve problems and form opinions.
Here I am going to first give you an analogy that you can all relate to, and then we will use logic to analyze the analogy.
Suppose that a society, such as the United States, recognizes all at once that cigarette smoking is dangerous for one's health and causes cancer. (I'm not doing a smoking bash here or making an extreme medical statement; I just want to use a genuine topic based on facts for the analogy). So let's suppose that everyone realizes all at once that smoking causes specifically lung cancer and that it is certain to happen for each person eventually. You will have, based on human nature, reactions that divide the population into roughly thirds. One third will quit immediately. One third will want to quit but being pretty heavy smokers or with a big addiction, they have to use various methods to quit, but they have perfect intention to do so as SOON as they can. But then we come to the other third. That third will plan to quit "someday" and use "magical thinking" to manipulate the situation, thinking that they "know better" than the doctors. So that third group will "plan" to quit someday but will continue to smoke and, actually, will work on the members of the first two groups to get them to continue to smoke along with them.
This third group gives this reaction, this very bad reaction, for a combination of reasons, but they all come down to 1) lack of faith and 2) arrogance and self pride overcoming logic. The lack of faith is simple in that they just do not believe either the dire warnings of the doctors or the evidence of their own eyes, which is lots of people getting lung cancer and dropping dead of it, including in their own families. They just refuse to believe and have lack of faith in either the policy or the facts because of reason number two, their arrogance and self pride. That arrogance and pride gets its strength from "magical" thinking. Here are examples of magical thinking:
1. I can keep on smoking longer than anyone else without getting the lung cancer because I'm physically and spiritually better than anyone else.
2. Because I know better than everyone else I can tempt people to also keep smoking, which they enjoy after all, longer, and not have to give up something they enjoy too! So I'm putting to rest their "false fears."
3. Besides, it's not fun being part of a rapidly dwindling group of smokers. I want company and to heck with the consequences, so long as I am partying out and smoking with lots of friends. Hey they know the risk so if they listen to me keep smoking and get cancer, it's their fault ("destiny") anyway.
4. I want to keep doing this wrong and dangerous thing and to rationalize it and keep having a good time with lots of smoking friends, I will tell them they were "born to die of cancer" or that it is "their destiny" if something happens and they get sick. I will make it sound like "the force is with them" or they have "karma" or they will have a better "future life" to make up for their current life being cut short by doing this dangerous smoking.
5. I'm an addict and a weakling and can't quit. But I'm too proud to ask for help, especially because I mocked the very people who did this health study and made the discovery of the danger. So instead of doing what I know I should do and ask for help, I'm too proud and self superior so I'll not ask for help, keep on doing so, and, in fact, sabotage any smoker quitting service I can, since that way I can tell myself that even if I was not proud, none of the smoker quitting services exist or really work anyway.
6. I'm neurotic, obsessive compulsive, depressed, anxious and/or paranoid. I think everyone is pretending that smoking is dangerous and pretending to get sick and die. I also think they are pretending that dead is really dead.
7. I'm all or some of the above in 6 and I think, since I can't think properly, that if people stop smoking and dying of lung cancer that "something worse will happen." Maybe the world is resting on the back of giant turtles who like to breathe cigarette smoke and if we all stop smoking the turtles will get mad and drop the earth and it will break.
I wish I was joking but I am not. I personally, and through second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth degrees of "Kevin Bacon" know people that believe all of the above: a LOT of them. They believe it not only in the actual analogy that I give, but worst of all, they believe it when you apply this analogy about acknowledging the reality of the one true God and of obeying him. They "postpone" or refuse in total to believe in God and to immediately obey him for all those reasons I have listed above.
So we have used logic to list the reactions and reasons of the three groups of people in the smoking analogy. And we have used logic to recognize that just as the analogy cites doctors who document the facts that, in the pretend USA example, that every smoker will get lung cancer and die, this analogy can now be applied to belief in God. God is the doctor who explains that if one smokes that each and every person who smokes will get lung cancer and die. Thus to transfer the work we did on the pretend case study to actuality, God is like the doctor who warns what will one hundred percent will happen, disbelief in God and sins are like the smoking of cigarettes (the thing that is dangerous and wrong to do even if it is "fun"), and hell (not being saved and not having eternal life) is like the inevitable lung cancer in our pretend analogy.
Do you see how powerful logic based on facts can be? Now you can use the logic you developed in the pretend analogy to understand why so many people deny God or worse, even when they understand the risk and reality (the consequences of "cancer") they PUT OFF obeying what they can see and suspect is true and worse, hold their friends, family and society itself back from being believers and immediate obeying of God. You can work down the list of seven I gave to you above and now substitute disbelief/sin/disobeying of God for wherever we list the action of smoking. We can list not being saved, being punished by God in this world, going to hell, and hurting other people by being unjust and/or sinning or spreading unbelief as the substitute for the getting and dying of lung cancer.
Let's work through one example, the first one. The smokers in the first example of pride think they can resist the consequences of smoking longer than anyone so they keep smoking and figure they will quit at the last possible moment. Thus they figure because they are physically and spiritually "better" than anyone else, they can keep smoking until just "before" they actually "get" cancer and then quit in the nick of time. That's the "logic" of pride in the first reasons to keep smoking example.
Now here is how it translates. Yeah, OK, maybe there is a God and maybe he will punish us if we sin. But because I am physically and spiritually "stronger" than anyone else, I will keep doing what I feel like, including sin, because I figure due to my superiority and my good deeds that if I figure out there really is a God, I will by lying around on my death bed after a really fun life and can quickly convert and be forgiven. I know that God will give me a really cool life, including with postponing obedience to him, because he made me so physically strong, good looking, popular, smart and spiritually so "complete" and "evolved" that I can control when I "flip" to believe in God, if he convinces me AND still have postponed obeying him until the last minute.
Here's the problems with this thinking. *sigh* I can't believe I even have to explain this but here goes. If one is disbelieving and disobeying God, no matter what "good deeds" you are doing, you are still 1) sinning 2) encouraging by your life other people to sin and 3) refusing to give God what is due to him on the spot NOW and FOREVER, throughout your life. The people in this category think they are so "blessed" that they can decide if or when to totally surrender to God. They imagine that they are just so wonderful that they can keep making this "personal" decision and that it's theirs to make AND that they will have ample time to "make the switch" if they must. But what happens? Let's go back to our analogy.
1. They keep smoking and get the cancer much faster than anyone else. Hmm.
2. They keep smoking and make money off of it by keeping others smoking through their business and/or their example. Thus their postponed obedience costs other people their lives.
3. They get in a crash and die before they can "make the switch." Ooops.
4. They don't realize that by the time they think they can "make the switch" that they already have the deadly cancer growing undetected. So they stop smoking and then find they have the cancer already because they "postponed" too long.
You can logic through, then, how this maps to disbelieving/postponing obeying God.
1. They disbelieve or postpone obedience and their sin or behaviors kill them even quicker. They go to hell.
2. They know what they are doing is wrong but they make money off of it or at worse by continuing to do so their children do the same neglect of God and thus they make money and tempt others by neglecting God, piling up a lot of unforgiven and some unforgivable sins. They go to hell AND they bring others with them through their delays in obedience.
3. Life happens and they get in a wreck and die or something else happens before they can repent. They go to hell.
4. They wait so long that their hearts are so hardened that even when they "decide" to "make the switch" they just can't do it, because they can't be humble, tender and flexible enough to finally do what they so called "planned" to do all along. So when they are ready to "switch" they find they can't at all, or they do it half hearted, and with a cold heart, like God is a formula to now apply. They go to hell.
I'll leave this with you to work through mapping in your own minds the other "reasons" for disbelief/postponing obeying God, listed 2 through 7, matching the smoking/lung cancer analogy and "reasons" with what that means for disbelieving/postponing obeying God. Pay special attention to the lack of one person converting in their heart to God as a bad example that then leads others back down that path to ruin. This is the heart of why God's judgment is especially stern to those who aren't really making an "individual life style choice," but are actually leading others the same way, often deliberately, as in reasons number 5, 6 and 7 but really all of them, as they want to "party on" with what they are doing, and that requires undermining those who might otherwise have repented and followed God.
Young people, you've been sold a bill of goods (an expression for being stiffed) by the previous generation. Previous generation, wise up.