It’s a new year, and while most of us are probably wrestling with our resolutions and how we are going to finally execute them this year, I have a challenge for you. Instead of a resolution, how about you have a revelation?
Scientifically, you can’t be an atheist.
My pastor told a story once about sitting on a plane next to an atheist. He challenged the man by telling him that he thought atheism was scientifically impossible. You can hear his witty banter here, if you want. Or you can read my summary.
My pastor challenged the man by pointing out a few facts. First of all, scientists tell us that the smartest human being probably possesses two percent of all knowledge. That’s everything there is to know about everything – science, history, language, human tendencies, philosophies, everything… about everything. In every culture, all around the world. Everything that has happened, everything that is happening now, and everything that will ever happen. Think about that. And the smartest of all of us probably only possesses about two percent of that knowledge. He went on to point out that in order to say that there is no God, you would have to have all knowledge. Sitting on the plane next to the atheist, my pastor asked, “Is there a chance, in the 98% of knowledge that you don’t possess, that God exists?”
I absolutely love this. It’s true isn’t it? Atheism is scientifically impossible. You can be an agnostic, sure. You can say “there probably isn’t a God.” But you can’t emphatically say, “there is no God.”
When he asked the man the question, he responded, “Well, yes, I guess there is a chance that God exists. So, okay, I don’t know if there’s a God.”
Is there a chance, in the 98% of knowledge that you don’t possess, that God exists?
My pastor’s response? “Well I do. Would you like to know something about Him?”
(Pause for a moment and giggle if you need to. It makes me smile, too.)
You see, there’s a big problem in claiming that God doesn’t exist, because God is Absolute Truth. If you claim that there is no God, you are claiming that there is no such thing as absolute truth. And by making the claim that there is no such thing as absolute truth, you are in fact making an absolute statement. You’ve cancelled yourself out. Do you see that? You can’t claim there are no absolutes, because the claim itself is absolute.
If there is absolute, then there is God. There is no getting around this.
A Confessed Skeptic
I’m a skeptic. I never take things at face value. I chew on things and then chew on the cud. I think about the ways of the world and then I think about them again. And then I think about them some more until I’m blue in the face. It’s just my nature. So if I were to say to you that there haven’t been times over the years that I wrestled with the very existence of God, I would be lying to you.
I have definitely wondered from time to time if this is all for naught. But there are two things about this God business that I know to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt.
When it comes to God, He is all about changing lives. I have seen it in people around me my whole life. And until it happened to me, I didn’t know if it was true or if they were just crazy people looking for attention. And perhaps some of them were. But the point is, when my life was radically, drastically, unequivocally changed by God Almighty, all my cynical, skeptical arguments for logic and reason of why it’s possible that God might not exist were thrown out the window. Something happened to me. I was going one way in life and made a sudden one-eighty the other direction. It was radical. It was transformative. It was life-changing. Say what you will about the scientific arguments for or against God, but you can’t argue with someone’s life being changed from the inside out. And there is no way to describe something like that other than by divine interpretation. And unless you’ve experienced it yourself, it’s easy to question. I would know.
My great grandfather is famous (in my family, anyway) for saying that he had come to the conclusion that even if it’s all a farce, even if it’s just a bunch of bunk, believing in God was worth it to him. For in what universe would it be a waste of time to live your life with peace, joy, love, and kindness to strangers? On the other hand, if this is real and you doubters are wrong, what then? I’d rather die and find out it wasn’t real than die and found out it was.
I know many of you who are reading this are self-proclaimed atheists, or perhaps agnostics. I’m not here to argue you into believing in God, nor am I here to scare you into getting your “fire insurance.” I am, however, here to challenge you to think past your own calculations of the known universe. Is it possible you’re wrong? Is it possible you’re missing something? And if so, isn’t it worth a try?
For me, God saved me from a life of the devastation of pride. I was wallowing in it and it was eating me from the inside out. I was completely unaware. But one day I saw it for what it was and it scared me, for I knew the hold it had on my life. I was eaten up with self-righteous, religious piety, and I hated myself for it.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this God is real, alive, active, and madly in love with us, His creation.
But on that day, God showed me that His grace is sufficient for even me. He showed me that He loves me too much to let me ruin myself. He showed me that He wants me, that He has a purpose for me, that He isn’t done with me.
And so I turned around. I took the plunge. I gave my heart to this Jesus and never looked back. And since that day, I have seen miracles. I have been blessed. I have walked places I never thought I’d walk, seen things I never thought I’d see and felt a peace deeper than I could ever explain in words. Above all of that, I have become keenly aware of a redeeming, transforming Love that is unending for me. That’s all I need to know that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this God is real, alive, active, and madly in love with us, His creation.
What about you? What is 2014 going to hold for you? Are you going to stay where you are? Are you going to look up and realize it’s February 3rd and you’ve already failed at your resolution? Or are you going to do something for yourself that’s better than any resolution? If you don’t believe in God, why not make 2014 the year you at least opened up your heart to the idea of giving him a chance? Just crack the door open. See if you’re not overwhelmed by the warmth, peace and power of the light that shines in. A revelation resolution.
Oh what a happy new year that would be!