Every once in a while I’m surprised by a random song popping into my head. Just a minute ago, I found myself humming, “…like a mighty sea, like a mighty sea, comes the love of Jesus sweeping over me…“.
Why donâ€™t you believe in God? I get that question all the time. I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time consuming and pointless.
What seems to catch everyone’s attention is both Gervais’s popularity and his ingratiating approach to embracing atheism.
I used to believe in God. The Christian one that is.
I like the tone he uses. I like that there is an appeal to reason and – though there are a couple of things he says that might be considered mocking or condescending – Gervais stays away from the nastiness usually exhibited in this kind of atheism/Christian discussion. Like many atheists, Gervais is bright, articulate, and funny.
Like every atheist, he is also wrong in his conclusion.
None of that is what provokes me to this post. The real question is…what would I say to him? What could I say to others who read his post and agree? There’s this challenge from Gervais…
Why donâ€™t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God?
What can I say to that?
My reply would be this:
I don’t think you want my answer.
For one thing, you don’t know me. You know people like me, Christians who love God and try to love people and don’t do either one perfectly. You know me as part of the larger group of “People Who Say They Are Christians and Don’t Get Nasty With People Who Disagree.” On the other hand, if you knew me personally, you sound like someone who would be interested in why I believe in God. But you don’t know me, so it’s unreasonable to think you would care about what someone you don’t know or have never heard of thinks about such an important topic.
Okay, let’s suppose you know me, and you might really be interested in why I believe in God.
In that case, even if I told you, it wouldn’t change what you believe. That’s not meant to be condemning or condescending in any way. I’m not saying you’re closed-minded or stupid or egotistical or that you would object to reason.
But your stated reason for not believing in God – “I donâ€™t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what Iâ€™ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe” – tells me you never will.
Yes, there is evidence, evidence I’m sure you’ve examined and found circumstantial at best. Asking for scientific evidence is misleading. I think it would be more accurate to say that you don’t believe in God because you have no proof of his existence. Proof is the issue. Proof is what you won’t find. Proof…well, I’m no philosopher or high-intellectual, so I might have this wrong, but all we can do with anything is give evidence. Evidence is what witnesses produce. There’s plenty of that.
Proof can’t be produced by witnesses. In fact, the only place you will find proof is in the mind of the jury. If the evidence doesn’t convince me, it will never be proof.Â Evidence can always be explained away. It doesn’t matter whether it comes from science, religion or some other sphere of influence. There is no proof until I accept it as such.
Of course, as you so eloquently and accurately put it…
…believing in something doesnâ€™t make it true. Hoping that something is true doesnâ€™t make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesnâ€™t. Itâ€™s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you canâ€™t have your own facts.
That is correct. What is equally true is that evidence doesn’t establish the facts. Science doesn’t establish the facts. Both – like religion – can only point to or away from them.
Do I exist? There is much evidence that would point to my existence. Is there any proof? If you don’t accept the evidence, even if I were to show up on your doorstep with documentation, witnesses and a big plate of cookies, it wouldn’t be proof.
The bottom line is this. I believe in God for the same reason you don’t – I’ve examined the evidence and I believe it points in a certain direction.
Yes, that leads me to the conclusion that there is eternal separation and punishment for those that reject God. This is not a happy conclusion for me. I find no pleasure in this fact. I am not shouting for “death to the infidels.” On the contrary, as a reasonable person, I am concerned and distressed at this outcome for people like you. Yes, for you.
I feel sad that this type of concern could come across as mean-spirited or judgmental, but I know that others have used these same arguments in a mean-spirited and judgmental way, so I think I get it.
I’m finishing a video on the history of Faith Assembly for tomorrow’s celebration of 75 years of the church and 20 years of Pastor Goss. The video will mention all the lead pastors in the history of the church, but won’t mention any of the associate pastors (except for Pastor Art Shell). Unfortunately, that means you won’t be seeing this video of one of the music ministers of Faith. (Sorry, Mark)
After several attempts, we were finally able to begin recording in our Sunday school class last week. The audio still isn’t great, but at least if you are not able to be with us, you can listen in.
Our class is called “Wii” and the broadcast is called “Wiilationships”, not because we play the Wii in class, or even talk about it (much), but because the idea of playing well together is what we’re trying to accomplish.
You’re invited to listen, comment on our blog, and play along.
Just got done watching myself, again, on the Church Drama Podcast. Posted the video of Episode 60.6, which is me doing a monologue about…well, the underlying message is about society’s current view of homosexuality and the ways people try to justify it.
After the monologue, Trudi calls it a political statement, and because society has made it a political issue, I guess it is. But it’s really a moral issue.
One line I wish I had added to the sketch would be right after I talk about Jesus pardoning the thief on the cross, I should have said, “And how has Jesus promised to come to us? As a thief in the night! Indeed – what would Jesus do?”
You’ll understand that better if you watch the video.
1) I’m in North Carolina, again, for the annual Southeastern University tournament at the Pearl in Calabash, NC. A group from our church has come to this tournament every year for the past several years.
2) I’m posting on my blog again. At least, I am during this tournament. If I have pictures to share. Otherwise, I’ll be updating everyone via Twitter. The easiest way to use Twitter is by following.
This picture shows Mark Carr, Phil Goss, and Wendell Williams at a very picturesque hole. I don’t think my iPhone quite captures it.
It was eighteen years ago today that Trudi and I came to Faith Assembly. We had no idea we would be here this long or that our children would grow up here. We had hoped to make it 5 or 6 years before God moved us on.
An interesting 18 years, full of memories and people and experiences.
Tomorrow morning I will be posting a short story. It was an illustration that I originally wrote for the sermon last night. I am doing a series on the book of Numbers and last night we were in Numbers 9:1-14.
The illustration turned out to be quite long, turning into a short story, which I’ve decided to post here.
The basic idea I was trying to illustrate was this: what is it like when someone says, I like God, I just don’t like the church? Or, I’m a Christian, but I don’t have to go to church for that.
In Numbers 9, God makes it clear to the Israelites, if you don’t partake in Passover, you have no place in the congregation, and if you have no place in the congregation, you have no part in me.
Check back tomorrow.
BUSY weekend. Here are some pictures from our annual All Church Picnic, the one that happens to always fall on the same day as some big football game. Of course, because of the picnic, we have to cancel the evening service.
Really. It’s the picnic’s fault.
But we always have a TON of people. The free hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken breasts, and soda probably has something to do with that. And people bring a lot of other food, too.
I’m in at 6:30am – Jack, our breakfast chef, always beats me in – and I’m last out, about 5pm. It’s a long day, with a lot of work in between.
But everyone has a great time. Glad it’s over.
Picture #1: The guys wait to test their muscle.
Trudi and I have started teaching a Sunday School class together…the first time we’ve ever tried to teach an adult class together. I’ve called it “Wii” (hope I won’t get any nasty-grams from Nintendo’s lawyers), because it’s about relationships…making the two “i’s” form one “we”.
So far, so good. We had our second week (or is that “wiik”?) and people seem like they will enjoy it. We will be looking at personality types, love languages and other relationship items.
Next wiik Trudi is at the helm. It should be fun.
And we have our own blog for the class. It’s the Wii-lationships blog. I forgot to record the class yesterday, but when we do, it will be available as a podcast, too.
That title is more literal than you might guess. We finished Scrooge on Monday, with mixed results. The cast and crew got better every night, and Sunday was a great crowd, full and very responsive.
Monday was small and “appreciative”. All-in-all, everything went very well.
Now it’s over, and I’ll be spending most of the rest of the month out of the office. Yesterday was full of several errands and about 30 minutes in the office.
Today is the “pooped” part. Our septic tank at the house has backed up. Barry the plumber – a very nice man from church – is currently trying to determine whether there is a clog or if we need our drainfield redone. (“A drainfield for Christmas for me?! Oh, you shouldn’t have!”)
In the meantime, I missed the opportunity yesterday to wish my brother-in-law, Terry, a very happy birthday. So, happy late birthday, TS!
At least, it feels like it’s Scrooge all-day, everyday at the moment. This is the last week of preparation before Friday’s opening night. Monday’s dress rehearsal was over at about 10:30pm. Last night was about an hour shorter. Last night was the first night for everyone in makeup, so that took some getting used to for the new cast members.
Tonight is church, and tomorrow is our final dress rehearsal.
This picture, from last week, made me laugh. Sam and Jeff Kirkland were taking their bows during Whaddaya Say. I was tempted to put it on the Scrooge blog, but I’ll just keep it here for now.
Before I head to bed, thought I’d fill in a couple of the gaps from the day. Hope you enjoyed it. It was an experiment for me, and a way to share “A Day in the Life” with you. Here are some tidbits that didn’t make it into the blog before now, but which were part of the day…
– Between the groceries and dropping off paperwork, there was a picture I tried to get, but just missed. It was of Trudi passing me headed the opposite direction on the interstate as she went to pick up Shae from school. I snapped the picture, but my shutter was too slow to catch her.
– Before we went to Kohl’s there was a quick stop by the church to pick up the receipt for Trudi’s gifts that I left in my office. I should have taken a picture of my office. Just because.
– As we left Kohl’s, we passed emergency vehicles blocking one lane of the road in front of the store. A fire truck blocked our view, so we couldn’t tell if it was an accident or what, although Trudi thought it looked like a red vehicle on the other side of the fire truck had front end damage. We found out later it was the car of Kathy, a friend of ours. Chase Goss and her daughter, Trinity, were also in the car. Someone had pulled out in front of them. Kathy, Chase and Trinity all seemed to be fine. Chase told me all this when I dropped Sawyer off at the church. She had pictures on her iPhone of Kathy’s car. (They would have made a good entry for the blog.)
That’s about it. Trudi and Shae are getting up early to head to JC Penneys. I have to have Sam and Summer to the church for Upward Basketball by 9am and I’ll pick up Sawyer from her sleepover then.
I have all of our pictures from Trunk or Treat in a Web Gallery on .Mac. You should be able to view all the pix and download your favorites!