For some reason Atheist groups find a need to attack religious beliefs at this time. Maybe they feel upset because of all the attention given to religion two times a year, Christmas and Easter, and they wish to have their humanism or secularism recognized everyday. Maybe they are scorned because they feel they had religion shoved down their throats all their lives and this is their way of sticking it to the man in this new age of so called “tolerance”. It is obvious they are pretty bitter and think the religious are a bunch of stupid sheep. That may be true.
“You cannot reason people out of positions they didn’t reason themselves into.”
This was a statement my logic teacher told us at the beginning of class and I adhere to this with 100% agreement. He was a self proclaimed, born again Atheist and a good teacher . That was one of my most favorite classes in college. He made us think before we believed, and he made us think before we argued that belief.
We logically disproved the existence of God. It was a glorious revelation.
And there it is, the end, man was able to use his logic to disprove the existence of a greater power such as God.
Not so fast. Nothing, except for maybe a very strange event in the deep woods of Griffith Park late one night, would provide me with any miracle or odd coincidence to make a believer out of me. I also was not raised a practicing Catholic although we were all baptized in the Church. I did not start going to Mass until I was 13 and I chose to go to a Catholic high school while all my friends went to the local public high school. I did not have an epiphany either nor was I struck by lightning.
So why would a semi intelligent guy like me believe in an invisible, super ghost? Circumstantial evidence, natural morality, a little bit of fear and some non reason.
Circumstantial evidence #1: This is easy, the Bible. Non believers discount completely the historical accuracy of the Bible because they believe it is just a collection of stories making up supernatural explanations for scientific unknowns. And on the other side of the spectrum you have fundamentalist believers who think the Bible is a completely accurate historical document, word for word. I sit in the middle. I cannot tell you, and neither can the Pope, whether an actual guy named Noah built an ark or if Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
The New Testament, however, tells about a guy they called “The Christ”. No its not his last name. There are 4 accounts of this guy and a 5th if you include Paul’s writing. All of these accounts were written by different people at different times each one with parallels but each one with auxiliary information. This is got to make people think, right? We always say if one person says it is a rumor but if many people say it, it might have some truth. Well here is that instance, for me at least.
Circumstantial Evidence #2. There is secular and historical evidence from both Roman and Jewish documentation of a person name Cristo, Christ, being crucified.(See Flavius Josephus,Pliny and Tacitus) These are actual records and accounts of a person named Christ being crucified at the exact same time the Gospels state it. Now they do not declare this person to be God and why would they, they are secular documents. It is now tough to disclaim the existence of Christ.
Conclusion #1, Circumstantial: There are multiple records both biblical and secular of a person named Christ existing and being crucified. This is very compelling because if the Gospels got this part right then…think
Conclusion #2 – Morality and Natural Law: In a nutshell, there seems to be an innate morality we are born with that compels us to do good and avoid evil. Killing is bad. Helping people is good. That does not mean that people do not commit the evil, it means that act is defined as such. Some might argue that this is an evolutionary response for man to survive as a species within a society. That might be true but the jury really is still out on that one. Maybe man made up a god and assigned these evolutionary responses to that god’s morality. Maybe it’s a mind virus such as a meme. Again these are all theories, I can only look to what I see as the only evidence to this morality and that is what is defined by Judeo Christian values. Yes you might provide me ancient text from some religion long gone that states the exact moral code we follow now but combined with the other evidence, this holds water better. See Thomas Aquinas if you really want to get in deep with morality.
Conclusion #3 Fear: I don’t want to go to Hell if I am wrong. More specifically I follow, loosely, Pascal’s Wagers. I will illustrate.
1. Believe in God and God does not exist – Nothing happens
2. Believe in God and God exists – Go to Heaven
3. Do not believe in God and God does not exist – Nothing happens
4. Do not believe in God and God does exist – Go to Hell
I’ll take Believe for $1000, Alex.
Conclusion #4 – Non Reason – You might prove me wrong on all counts but this one defines the very statement I opened this post and that is “You cannot reason people out of positions they didn’t reason themselves into.”
Here are just a few:
-Something cannot come out of nothing. There is some reason for this although it is not proof.
-Billions believe, are they all wrong?
-That Griffith Park thing was pretty strange.
-Smarter people than me believe.
-I cannot look into my children’s eyes and see a soulless collection of tissue and neurotransmitters whose contributions to this world will last no longer that the Earth they will ultimately be buried. There has to exist a soul.
– I have a hunch?
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.
With all that said I believe. I believe a man called Christ existed and once you believe that, everything else falls into place. His mother was a virgin when she gave birth and her name is Mary. I believed He lived the greatest and most perfect example of a life of ministry for all man. I believe He gave his life up for torture and death only to prove His divinity by rising again. I believe Him to be God and the God sacrifice was the most perfect of plans. No more floods, nor more angels of death, no more sacrifices, He presented himself to be sacrificed for the ones who committed the act and still do. He did this because of love. He is the only hope for this world, not leaders of nations, the economy or some new technology and I believe that from my soul.
I also believe we will celebrate the birth of this Christ, our Hope, our God, next week.
To all of you who believe in something or believe in nothing, I will still extend the greatest wish of my faith to you this season. May you have a Merry Christmas!