Saturday, January 03, 2009

Something to think about

In response to the question: "What do you know for sure?" I was introduced to the thinking of a man who, like me, said that the older he gets the less he is sure that he knows anything "for sure" or at least knows the latest information in his field.

But, he said, what he did know with 98% certainty is that God does not exist.

He cited several scientists, biologists, astro-physicists and others who have convinced him there was no empirical evidence that God exists. There is no proof that there is a heaven or any sort of after life. This was his agnostic belief (agnostic meaning unknown or unknowable.)

He did say that he believed in “good” because he was married to a woman who shared his beliefs and she, being a nurse in a (NIC-U) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, was repeatedly referred to as an angel. So there were angels…godless ones, that inhabit the earth.

Part of his shtick was to not take questions or get involved in a debate. But that was as close to certainty as he could get in the challenge of: What do you know for sure? Then he sat down.

What would your reaction be? Mine was to squirm in my seat and think vividly: “…BUT sir, you are mistaken; I talked to God this morning.” But I kept silent per his request.

There is an active movement within our society to question, certainly organized religion, but also, any spiritual belief system due in part to the damage that has been done and continues to be done by fundamentalist extremes …in the name of God. You know litany.

The fallacy of his point is simply: belief in God is not rocket science…or science of any type. It is spiritual, religious belief based on faith. In my opinion, what this logic fails to account for is the power that is generated through a corporate belief in a Holy Being that brings about positive change. That power is something that random, non-believers cannot do: i.e. deliver anywhere near the good that a group of believers can produce.

Anyway, it was a wake-up call for me that came alive again this past week as I traveled to Southwest Virginia to honor the memory of a fallen comrade, my sister’s husband, Bruce. The Fort Hill UMC was packed…300 strong, to honor this man who had only been a part of their congregation for five years.

Oh that I could be that sort of person, I thought…. only God could produce such results in such a short time. Of that, I am certain.

I leave you with this poem that Kyle read to us…perhaps you have heard it:

Not – How did he die? But – How did he live?/Not – What did he gain, But - What did he give?

These are the things that measure the worth of a man, as a man, regardless of birth.

Not – What was his station? But – had he a heart?/And – How did he play his God-given part?
Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer?/To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?

Not – What was his church? Not – what was his creed?/But – Had he befriended those really in need?

Not – What did the sketch in the newspaper say?/But – How many were sorry when he passed away?

These are the things that measure the worth of a man, as a man, regardless of birth.

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