February 20, 2009
A recent news item announced an evangelistic atheist thrust in London. Some 800 buses carried advertising blurps on the grand thought that folks can now “stop worrying and enjoy your life” because “There’s probably no God.” This is the brain child of Ariane Sherine, and supported by none other than the infamous atheist Richard Dawkins.
I guess we can see who they are targeting, since the spell god with a capital G. Of course, they couldn’t use a small “g” because they know in London (and in America), as is known in India, that there are literally thousands, if not millions of ‘gods.’ So, they are not after all those gods, but only God.
What should we say to them?
It was wise of them to say ‘there’s probably. . . .’ Honesty demands agnosticism here rather than atheism, because they haven’t checked in Argentina where “Probable God” may be alive and well, hiding among the slum dwellers in Buenos Aires. The point being, they have not searched everywhere in the universe for Him.
And, to be fair, we must all say at this point ‘probably’ we can take their point. So a believing Christian’s statement would be, ‘There’s probably a God; trust Him, stop worrying and live a full abundant life.’
Why say ‘There probably is a God’? As Alister McGrath’s “Glimpsing the Face of God”, might put it, ’Probable God’ appeals to the emotion, to the senses, to the imagination and to the mind. Therefore, lets explore this a bit further and suggest three areas where ‘Probable God’ meets major difficulties of the 21st Century.
First, we need an answer for an era of scientific endeavor which in all its exciting discovery of the items in our universe, it never gets outside the box. How sad to live in a room where we measure the size of the nails, test the paint on the walls, clean the carpet and never consider walking through the door (faith) to see what is outside the box. We never give a single thought to how the box (room) got there, even though common sense tells us our room didn’t happen as a result of a long vanished tornado! Augustine described it as ‘faith in search of understanding.’
Genesis one answers three basic questions: (1) Why is there something rather than nothing? (2) How did animate things (plants, animals) arise from a totally inanimate situation and (3) How did the uniqueness, the specialness of the human race arise? In three places, Genesis 1 uses the word ‘bara’ (create), a word used in the Bible only of God (1:1, 21, 27), to answer these questions. God created . . . So we say to our atheist friends, “Probable God created the world, from outside the box.”
Second, for an age demanding historical certitude, faith leads us to the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Before our postmodern world totally eradicates history in favor of wishful thinking utopia, we must consider all the options of that historical fact. The empty tomb, the lame excuse of Roman soldiers guarding Him, the Muslim wrong-headed idea that Jesus did not die – was it someone else on that cross or perhaps he was drugged(?) and many other possibilities have been explored, but none have been able to displace that historical fact. Faith seeking understanding agrees with the position of faith, “Probable God raised him from the dead.” If that is true, my faith leads to abundant life which goes beyond death!
Third, in a time of disappearing ethical and moral standards, by faith we read that there is a righteous judgment to come. It is appointed to all men once to die and after that, judgment! My friend Omar Garcia (click here to read his blog) reminds us that we will not know about that until we die and then it will be too late. Pascal’s wager is not worth the taking. Eternity is a rather long time and I don’t want to chance missing heaven. And . . . “Probable God will be the judge!”
So, Mr. Dawkins and company, that’s really what you don’t want, isn’t it, Sir? You can’t stand the thought of someone being over you and promising judgment on every one of us.