I was listening to James White's podcast the other day. He is a Christian apologist that I enjoy listening to on a regular basis. An agnostic whom he knew called him wanting to discuss some points of debate since both of these men formally debate on a regular basis. I appreciated James' approach with him. The agnostic made the comment that he found discussing religion and debate interesting. James told him that that was the problem and why he would not discuss the finer points of debate with him because he only saw religion as interesting. To James the subjects of God and His Word were matters of eternal consequence and not something we talk about because it interests us at the moment. He said (and I paraphrase) the agnostic doesn't need to worry about discussing religion, he needs to realize that he has to face God someday; he needs to repent and trust in Christ. No man has the right to treat God as merely a matter of passing interest.
You might wonder what this has to do with 1 Kings 18 and the words of Elijah to the people of Israel that fateful day on Mt. Carmel. I thought of this passage while I was listening to the exchange between these two men on the podcast. I think this is more or less the meaning of Elijah when he exhorted the people to "quit limping between two different opinions". If all religions have equal validity or if religion's main purpose is just to give us some sort of world view to help us get along in the world and be better people, then who cares what you believe. But Elijah is saying that you can't treat other subjects on the same level as God. He is saying you have two choose one or the other but be careful what you choose because there will be consequences.
If God is who he says he is then Paul drew the right conclusion in 1 Cor. 15. He said that if Christ is not risen then Christians are the most pathetic people on earth because our sins have not been forgiven and so we have no more hope than anyone else. Then he makes a glorious statement in 1Co 15:20 "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." But he doesn't just make this statement for us to consider; he goes on to show that if this is true nothing else matters! "1Co 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 1Co 15:24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 1Co 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet." Christ is coming back to judge all men.
This is graphically illustrated for us that day on Mt. Carmel. After the Lord displayed that he was the only God he allows Elijah to obey the covenant laws to slay the false prophets. In fact this was a gracious warning judgment that God created us to glorify him and there are no other opinions that will be tolerated. Whenever man looks at this world as just something to satisfy his curiosity, he has set himself up as judge and this is the Lord's prerogative.
What we believe matters and it matters a lot. You might think you can treat Him, his Word and his church nonchalantly but let Elijah speaks clearly from Mt. Carmel. If God is who he says he is then forget everything else, this becomes the focus of our lives.