Sunday, December 3, 2017

Does God Exist? Sex Scandals, Scientific Inquiry, and the Search for True Fulfillment

“Has anyone provided proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close. Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close. Have our sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close. Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough. Has rationalism and moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough. Has secularism in the terrible 20th century been a force for good? Not even close, to being close. Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy in the sciences? Close enough. Does anything in the sciences or their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even in the ball park. Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.”
― David Berlinski, The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions (By an agnostic scientist)

I was bell ringing yesterday, for the Salvation Army, at the red kettle, and a guy walked past me and said, "Who wrote the Bible?" And then he walked inside. I couldn't help but think of Pontius Pilate when he was talking to Jesus. And Pontius Pilate asked Jesus the question: "What is truth?" An amazing question, asked to Jesus himself. But Pilate didn't wait for the answer, he simply walked away. He didn't really want an answer. I could answer the question, who wrote the Bible, the answer is that God inspired many authors over thousands of years to bring the Bible together, but one must desire an answer.

Some are looking for a real answer.  Others are looking for an excuse to set aside the question.  We want what we want you see.  I'm not excluded from this.  I've fell to temptations and I'm sure I'll fall again.  Thankfully I'm also able to stand afterward.  

We want what we want.  And we don't want a God to get in the way, isn't it true?  I think it's true.  It seems true to me.  After all this world is full of so many temptations and so many pleasurable exercises.  And if a God exists, and this God is concerned with morality, then it follows that we are then morally accountable to this being.  And if we're accountable, then we'd have to act differently, and resist temptations.  But that's difficult, and it goes against our own nature, to indulge in these pleasures.  Thus it's easier to ignore and suppress this sense of God, and turn away from the question and enjoy the sensualities even if they offer only momentary pleasure. 

Naked and afraid? Yes, yes indeed.

We'd rather masturbate in a closet, or pop pills, or slam beers at the seedy pub, or take a new harlot home with us each night.  We're so afraid.  We're so dissatisfied.  I see it on their faces. They've found no lasting pleasure in those places, those twenty-something men, they look angry, lost, and perpetually dissatisfied with the boring affects of lust and evil.  So weary, and so sad. 

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

It brings to mind the recent string of exposed sex scandals in Hollywood, politics and the news media. Let's see here... Harvey Weinstein, Andy Signore, Roy Price (Amazon), Chris Savino (director and writer), Lockhart Steele (Vox), Robert Scoble, John Besh (TV personality), James Toback (director), Terry Richardson, Ken Baker (E! news), Mark Helprin, Kevin Spacey (actor), Kirt Webster, Andy Dick, Jeff Hoover, David Gilad, Ed Westwick, Jeffrey Tambor (actor), Louis CK, Roy Moore, Eddie Berganza, Ben Affleck, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Glenn Thrush (New York Times journalist), Matt Lauer (NBC Reporter), Garrison Keillor, and John Conyers (List source via Steve Deace Show, CR TV). 

Very interesting, don't you think?  Many of these men are very important leaders, in government, in media, and in entertainment.  And then it's discovered what the truth is about the human heart.  The human heart hasn't changed.  The sexual revolution has consequences.  Of course we ought to look to our own conduct first.  Do we at least attempt to live up to the Christian standard?  Or do we live double lives, as many of these men did? 

All of this to ask ourselves: Do we really care if God exists?  If so, then we ought to agree to one standard: We're on a search for the truth.  Both a Christian and an atheist ought to be able to agree on that.  What we want is the real truth, nothing less, nothing more.  We have to go where the truth takes us.  And it was the famous atheist Antony Flew, who eventually realized, based on his own scientific inquiry, that if he is really following the truth wherever it goes, then he had to admit, that atheism was no longer tenable for him.  He realized science itself showed that to believe in God was reasonable.  He didn't become a Christian, but he renounced atheism.  

Let's talk about reality.  As I walking to the van this morning, to drive to St. Charles for church, in the midst of boys town, the LGBTQ neighborhood of Chicago, I stopped in my tracks as a big plump bunny rabbit stood there looking at me.  And I was amazed.  I can't help it, I really can't.  I just can't believe something like a rabbit even exists.  It's always somewhat astonishing to me, when I saw a flight of geese, or a squirrel, or a cat or dog.  These creatures are absolutely insane.  They're insanely complicated anatomically.  Their bodies store insanely complex systems that all work in conjunction to build life and sustain life.  It's madness in a part of my mind still caught in the naturalistic materialist evolutionary view I was indoctrinated into in public school and government funded college education.  Because by all appearances, from this natural worldview, it's just completely impossible for such a complex being to exist and have come together through random chance.  It's just not possible given all we've learned about the complexity of DNA, the systems of the body, and all of the unified complexity that relies on pre-built systems operating in conjunction to sustain itself.  Time and chance destroys, and breaks down systems, it doesn't build complexity.  If I passed a book into your hands, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells and I said,"This book evolved from trees and branches and time and chance adjustments over billions of years." You'd look at me flatly and reply, "Your a liar."  Which would be true.  We know a book didn't evolve.  It was written by an author, and published by a printing house.  Why then, when we see a rabbit, or even more so a thinking, feeling, speaking human being, which is a thousand times more complex than the book, came about from random chance, from an explosion from nothing, at the beginning of time, that caused planets to be formed, and life to climb from the pond scum, to think, write books, and build cities.  It's madness.  

The human eye itself, and the feathers of a peacock, caused Darwin to shutter. Because he knew within, that such incredible complexity, with the human eye's ability to focus based on distance, to see and perceive color and light, and words on the page, that the idea that such came about through random chance was absurd in the extreme. 

A day before, while I was bell ringing for my overlords at the Salvation Army, I was at a supermarket next to a small wooded area.  And I watched an owl fly across the area and land on a tree hooting as it flied.  And once again, I was entranced by the beauty and splendor of the natural world.  I felt like God was communicating with me, in His own subtle way, given the importance of the owl to my own spiritual journey. Not a massive profound moment, just a little nod in the back drop. It was an encouraging moment.  But at the same time it was frustrating to me: Why does God communicate so subtly?  Why won't he come out and show himself?  Why won't he speak more directly to me?  These are real issues, and I wrestle with them.  But I had never thought this way before.  I had never really engaged with even the possibility of God!  

But we've been indoctrinated haven't we?  We've been sold a bill of goods, evolutionary biology, materialism, and the American good life.  But what is education anyway?  Perhaps it's more of a fraud than we realize, at least in our day and age.  And not only education, but news, television, internet, and other forms of media.

"Education, the great mumbo-jumbo and fraud of the age, purports to equip us to live and is prescribed as a universal remedy for everything from juvenile delinquency to premature senility. For the most part it only serves to enlarge stupidity, inflate conceit, enhance credulity and put those subjected to it at the mercy of brain-washers with printing presses, radio and TV at their disposal." Malcolm Muggeridge, in the "Observer", 1966

I looked at that rabbit in awe this morning... and another part of my mind, indoctrinated into naturalism, was set free from the chains of the spirit of the age, and flew up with the birds, seeing the obvious and apparent truth: God made the universe, the Earth, the animals, and the human soul.

Six years ago it was hummingbirds, watching their beaks dip into the tulips and flowers cross-pollinating the plants, and numerous walks in the depths of night listening to the most beautiful human composed music and staring in awe at the stars in the night sky, the full moon, and the trees and deer prancing through the night mists... All of these things shook my worldview to the core. And I think of Jupiter the cosmic vacuum that protects the Earth from being pummeled by meteors.  The fact that life could not exist on Earth if it weren't for lightning and earthquakes.  It's so very amazing.  How many millions of balancing equations must we see before we're willing to admit the self-evident truth?  God, an intelligent free agent of incredible power designed this universe, the Earth, the natural systems, the animals, and the human race to live in it and perceive it all.   

If you're still questioning these things, read some books, read the best atheists, read the best Christians, the best scientists, and authors, don't be afraid to go anywhere.  But I think you'll find, if you use your plain reason, that this God is real, has created the universe, and has spoken through history in the words of the Bible.  I'd encourage you to engage in that journey.  View this website, do some Google searches, read some books, and watch some documentaries.  If you want some suggestions for viewing or reading check out the section titled "Must Watch / Books." 

In conclusion, we are complex beings, with complex thoughts and complex bodies that keep us going.  We have so many desires that cause us to want to flee from God and ignore God and shun God.  Why?  Because we want what we want.  But perhaps you'd come to realize that something much greater than these 2-dimensional sexual pleasures and physical pleasures and drug-induced pleasures is waiting for you.  All of these sensual pleasures leave us empty.  We need God.  It's such an annoying little phrase, but it just seems to be true.   I was the last one who wanted to embrace this fact.  But I eventually did.  

And let me tell you something:  I still wrestle with God daily.  I still struggle with complex issues like evil and suffering, and the infinite nature of God, and God in relation to time, and how there can be an infinite God with nothing before it, and what that says about the nature of the universe and the nature of God, and the nature of humanity, and how God reveals himself and why God doesn't just come out and show himself, and all these teachings in the Bible.  I still wrestle with it!  And I struggle with sin, and desiring sexual contact while being a single male in my early thirties.  It's tough!  But I'm a Christian today.  And it's OK to be a Christian and struggle with deep questions and real life struggles.  Some Christians will pretend they are perfect, but it's just not true.  We all struggle.  And I'm OK with admitting that.  So it's OK to wrestle with these issues.  Do it.  Wrestle with God.  Argue with God. Talk to God. Read his word and ask for answers.  Ask for Jesus to reveal himself to you.  Seek him. And ask the big questions. 

Do it.  Just do it.  It's worth it.  It's an incredible journey that opens up into a beautiful glowing underground cavern of mystery and beauty and intrigue and wonder.  It's worth it.  You come.  

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  4. The Information Age & the Christian Worldview: Is God Real? Or is he a Delusion? 
  5. Expert Testimony: The Existence of God, the Problem of Evil
  6. Christianity in the Public Square: The Apologetics & Philosophy Renaissance
  7. The Paradox of Victory through Surrender: Rise Above
  8. Expert Testimony: the Demise of Evolution, Complexity in DNA
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