As I prepare for a civil and lively debate with atheist scholars this week, I am struck by the number of paradoxes thoughtful folks live with all the time. As a celebration of being human, let's ponder the following:
We are capable of amazing altruism and stunning depravity. In the same village one family rescues a Jewish refugee while another sells her neighbor for a price.
We encounter breathtaking beauty and life-taking tsunamis.
The same event moves some into church and tears others away from faith.
Wonderful neighbors lose their jobs while overindulged athletes "renegotiate" a contract that represents more money than many will see in a lifetime.
We awaken with a sense of destiny and then discover a friend has cancer.
"The starry heavens above and the moral law within" bolster our faith and then we receive a "No" to certain prayers as someone else is chosen for that position.
The reason for such tensions is not the absence of God or meaninglessness in the universe.
We live in a world that is simultaneously glorious and fallen, full of the fingerprints of God and the signs of cosmic rebellion. When I consider the cumulative evidence of the Divine, I am filled with wonder. Why is there something and not absolute nothing? Why do we dance, sing, paint and rejoice for no reason except sheer delight? Why do we cry out for justice for the poor and feel the pricks of conscience about our own selfishness? Why do we shake our fists in anger at God one day and praise him the next?
Committed atheistic materialists will define all such experiences and paradoxes as the random consequences of evolution and invalidate any transcendent meaning or purpose. That is their prerogative and there is a cold logic to some of their assertions.
As we approach Thanksgiving, it seems to me that the pathway of humility and wonder leads to clearer thinking, deeper passion and courageous service for others. God is able to handle our questions and tears, our spontaneous praise and our reflective doubts.
I thoughtfully choose belief and I defend the right of my neighbor to choose unbelief. Let's be thankful we live in a nation where civil debate is possible and neighbors live peacefully next to others who see the universe very differently!