Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Thoughts On Divinity: Part 1 of ?

Talking about your belief in God is uncomfortable because it leads to people questioning your intelligence. However, this present age might be the most important one in history for believers to talk about God and explain why they believe in Him.

G.K. Chesterton is said to have remarked that "when a man stops believing in God he doesn't then believe in nothing, he believes anything." Evidence that those words are true litters every corner of modern America, and comes in the form of everything from social pathologies run amok to flaky nonsense being considered deep thinking.

The social pathologies I'm talking about -- fatherlessness, substance abuse, welfare dependency, obtaining your sense of belonging from gang members and ideologues rather than family members and mentors, etc. -- are not new, but their commonness is, and I do not believe it's a coincidence that they have grown to their highest levels at the precise moment in history that our belief in God has shrunk to its lowest level.

The American ideal -- indeed, the human ideal -- is based not on people having (in the words of P.J. O'Rourke) "the freedom to put anything into their mouths, to say bad words and to expose their private parts in art museums," but on people knowing (in the words of Pope John Paul II) "that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought." It is tragic that so many Americans have lost sight of this, but then again, when massive numbers of Americans believe there is no God, it's inevitable that massive numbers of Americans will have a self-centered worldview in which everything revolves around them and whatever their whims and desires of the moment happen to be.

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Life and its many problems are complex and sometimes the answers are too, but oftentimes the answers are not complex. After all, simple causes frequently have far-reaching effects, and an increase in the number of people who believe in God would go a long way toward curing our earthly ills -- and note that I am not even talking about following a religion or joining a church, but simply believing in God.

For those of us who do believe, one of the annoying things about contemporary culture is how quick and eager its vanguards are to call us ignorant and stupid, when they themselves are ignorant and they themselves usually operate on emotion rather than intellect.

Most of the vanguards couldn't pass an elementary school science test, yet they toss the word "science" around like a shibboleth because they are under the false impression that science and religion are at odds -- and based on that false impression, they assume that by pretending to be aligned with science they are somehow confirming they're smarter than those who logically believe that the infinitely complex, intricately connected, and supremely balanced wonders of nature are not some accidental result of an origin-free firecracker that went bang for no reason.

But of course, the irritation I just displayed is unbecoming. There is nothing wrong with skepticism -- I myself have a skeptical nature -- and there is no denying that the people I called cultural vanguards have a reason for their skepticism.

In many of their minds, people who believe in God have no reason for doing so other than an unsophisticated desire to cling to childhood fantasies about an invisible friend. Many of them see believers as people who live their lives hoping/assuming that at some moment a deus ex machina will magically appear and solve all their problems with no effort on their own part. And the vanguards' skepticism is given wings by the undeniable fact that God has never sat down on their couches looking like Charlton Heston or Morgan Freeman and talked to them.

On top of that, add the fact that the vanguards rarely if ever engage in conversations with believers, and their skepticism becomes a self-sustaining fire: They are of the earnest opinion that believers come to their faith by ignoring evidence and refusing to grow up, and so they portray believers that way without ever hearing (much less understanding) that the overwhelming majority of believers arrive at their faith after contemplating the world's facts and enigmas through agonizing periods of doubt and reflection.

They automatically reject the idea of God without entertaining the abundant evidence that He exists (often not even realizing that there is such evidence), yet they portray as fools anyone who unautomatically accepts the idea of God after having scrutinized both the evidence of His existence and the evidence of His non-existence. This means that they reject the Scientific Method while acting as if they are science's avatar, and because they hold massive sway in the popular culture, their bogus portrayals of believers (and equally bogus portrayals of non-believers) have become accepted as a reality they are not.

As a result, living, breathing human beings suffer because the vanguards' rejection of God fuels a socially domineering rejection of God, which in turn renders people uninformed and leads them astray.

It is far past time for the logical -- and yes, scientific -- reasons for believing in God to be explained and understood.

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So what am I to do as a 46-year-old father of two and husband of one, who leads an ordinary and unremarkable life and whose blog is read by dozens, maybe scores, but definitely not by hundreds or thousands or millions?

I do not seem like much of a messenger for any "come to God!" post, for I swear like a sailor and am too fond of beer and often disdain the way I was designed by the God whose existence I feel driven to affirm.

But I do feel driven to affirm His existence, and do feel qualified to do so. Maybe "what am I to do?" amounts to laying out my reasons for believing and publishing them and hoping that each individual who reads them will consider them fairly and without prejudgment.

In my Easter post this year I wrote that "I believe in God not on faith alone but also on evidence (though that's a whole other blog post)..." Well, it's time for that whole other blog post to get written, but it is going to be several posts, not one, because the subject matter is too important and too large to be limited to a handful of paragraphs.

Consider this piece to be the first in a series, as I will start "making my case" for God in the next one, which I hope to publish soon.

The series will probably be intermittent, as I might write posts about other topics in between writing posts about this one, but I consider this topic to be transcendent and I hope you will follow along.

Until next time, take care.

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