December 11, 2008

Chasing God

I was browsing the science section at Barnes and Noble yesterday, looking for books about brains. Deep down, I'm a nerd who happens to be no good at science. I got bad grades in all of my science classes, from jr. high through college. To hell with science. But the brain - it's cool. It's fascinating. There’s this wrinkly thing inside your head and it makes you think and feel, gives you real smiles and fake ones for photographs, remembers names and places and directions, keeps your heart beating, helps you swerve to avoid accidents on Tuesday nights when the roads are slippery and people run red lights. The brain gives you wonder, wonder about life and people and how your brain works and – and God.

As I was looking for brainy-related enlightenment on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, one book caught my attention because I saw the letters G-O-D. And since I happen to know Him, it piqued my interest and I picked it up.

The crossroads of God and science are fascinating. I don’t travel them very often, but it’s an interesting place. This book, however, was called “God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist.” Imagine my elation at finding a book about my creator, and the ensuing dismay at learning it was about how he isn’t. Doesn’t exist. Period. How you write a whole book about something that doesn’t exist, I don’t know, but this guy – Victor J. Stenger – seems to have done it.

I guess I always thought that if and when someone finally proved that there’s no God, there would be a lot of media coverage and lots of red-faced Christians. And Jews. And Muslims. And some very satisfied atheists and some relieved agnostics. I guess – if his proof is real - we just haven’t heard about it yet.

To make a good evaluation of the book, I would have to read all of it. But like I said above, I'm no good with science. And I'm not exactly sure how nature can be used to prove that something above nature (in other words, super-natural) doesn't exist. That's why I said, "to hell with science," because science, if it's used to deny God, is probably headed exactly there.

On the back there was a quote from Richard Dawkins about how great the book was. Part of it said, “Stenger drives a pack of energetic ferrets down the last major bolt hole and God is running out of refuges in which to hide.” It struck me how much effort people put into proving there’s no God, and how important it is to them to do so. They have to chase Him out of His hiding places. I guess they think they’ve got Him on the run or something.

Dawkins wrote one of many God-debunking books that has come out recently, his called “The God Delusion,” which I didn’t read (yet). And I didn’t read much of Stengers book. If I ever took either one of them on in a debate, I’m sure I would get schooled. And then I would go home and read my Bible and pray and go to bed.

Atheism isn’t new. People have always found reasons to object to God, and I understand that. There’s injustice in the world and God, it seems, remains invisible. History and the present are full of examples of hypocritical Christians and a church that did some nasty things. (Though, to be fair, Maybe God’s not invisible because there are lots of Christians fighting poverty and hunger in His name, and it never made sense to me to judge the merit of something based on those who do it wrong - its most off-base and hypocritical practitioners.) So I don’t blame people for objecting to God. I don’t agree with them, but I don’t blame them.

What I can’t understand is the vehement opposition to God from people who have decided He doesn’t exist.

I am an evangelical Christian. I believe God created the world, sin wrecked it, and that we’re reconciled only by Christ’s perfect life, death, and resurrection. I believe that when we accept that reconciliation, we spend eternity with God. If we reject it, we spend eternity without Him, the experience ranging from things still being broken to things being absolutely horrifyingly awful. You won’t blame me for trying to spare people from that.

But if God isn’t there, as they believe, then there probably isn’t much purpose in the universe. Unless you make some up for yourself. So I can’t understand the concern atheists have for Christians believing what we believe. Why the crusade to convert me? To help me out of my ignorance? Sounds like evangelism to me.

1 comment:

Dan said...

We should blame the Pharisees. They're the ones who started it all. Stupid hypocrites.