I've met many people with varying degrees of interest in and knowledge of God. As I was growing up, many of the "arguments" against the existence of God took place in the scientific realm. As such, much of the discussion took place around science. Today, the discussions go everywhere...science...world religions...history & church credibility...theological belief on a certain topic...and on...and on...and on...
Over the years, I've tried to answer the first question a person presents me about any of these topics as they relate to God. What I've found is that no one has the knowledge necessary to answer this vast-array of topics. When I take the time to ask a few questions myself, however, I find that the real topic of discussion becomes quite different. The original questions were only an "opening segue" to what is really bothering them.
"My grandparents don't believe this. If I believe it, aren't I condemning them to hell?"
"That's fine that God exists, but I'm really messed up. I need to get my act together first."
"If I do this God-thing, am I going to have to stop _____________? I don't think I can do that."
The conversations get very personal. They have less to do with high-minded scientific and theological debates and have more to do with a personal struggle with the same problem: facing God. We don't want to face an all-powerful, all-knowing God who has been watching us every step of the way. We don't want to look Him in the eye. We don't want to hear what He has to say (because we think we already know what He will say). We are afraid.
Scripture tells us that a reaction of fear is normal. It also tells us that is good. Being afraid means we are recognizing God's position in the grand scheme of things...and our position as well. Being afraid means we recognize things aren't quite right between us and that something needs to change. Scripture also tells us that being afraid is only the beginning. There are still many steps to take on this path.
Now, when I meet someone who is afraid of God at a personal level, I am encouraged. I try to encourage them as well. Their heart is ready to take the next steps: learning how to join Him...unafraid.