Perspective

DF676B07-76A8-43CC-BAA0-97A43BB36655“That’s strange,” Carl said to his wife as the two were walking past their town’s Baptist church.

“What’s strange, Hon,” Maggie asked.

“That sign in front of the church,” he responded. “What a strange sign to be put up in front of a church.”

Maggie looked at the sign and then looked back at Carl. “What’s so strange about that sign?”

Carl looked at Maggie in disbelief. “Seriously?” he said. “You don’t think a sign that reads ‘God is nowhere’ in front of a church isn’t strange?”

Maggie looked carefully at the sign. “You’re reading it wrong. It says ‘God is now here.’”

Now it was Carl who looked carefully at the sign. “No, that’s not what it says. Look at the spacing of the letters. It clearly says ‘God is nowhere.’ Can’t you see that?”

Maggie grabbed Carl’s hand and pulled him toward the church entrance. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m going to prove that I’m right and you’re wrong.”

The couple walked through the door and started walking down the center aisle. They saw the church pastor toward the alter and walked up to him. “Excuse me,” Maggie said. “We have a question about your sign.”

The pastor smiled and asked, “How can I help you?”

Carl said, “Does that sign out front say ‘God is now here’ or ‘God is nowhere’”?

“That is an excellent question,” the pastor said. “What do you think it says?”

Carl was getting a little irritated. “It’s your sign. Why would you ask us what it means.”

The pastor’s smile broadened. “You know, I knew putting up that sign would be risky, but it seems to be doing exactly what I hoped it would do.”

“And what is that?” Maggie asked.

“Initiate a discussion about God by people just like you who wonder what the sign means.” He said. “Welcome to my church. So, what do you believe? Is God now here or is God nowhere?”


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “risky.”

Advertisements

Stairway to Heaven

“What do you mean you don’t believe in God?” Cheryl was incredulous. “Don’t you want to ascend to heaven when your time comes?”

Alan chucked. “If heaven and hell existed, my ‘soul’ would surely be descending, not ascending.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Cheryl argued. “All you need to do is embrace Jesus. He will embrace you back. He will forgive you. You will be saved.”

“Oh my God,” Alan protested. “How many times do we have to discuss this. I don’t buy your religious mumbo-jumbo. There is no all-knowing, all-seeing supernatural spirit in the sky watching and judging everything that we do. It’s a bunch of bullshit.”

Cheryl’s eyes starting welling up. “But it says in the Bible….”

“The Bible,” Alan laughed. “You mean that book written by around 40 different farmers and shepherds decades after your so-called savior died? Why not use Lord of the Rings as your holy book?

The tears were flowing freely down Cheryl’s cheeks. “Stop mocking me,” she demanded. “You’re my brother. We were raised together. How can you be such a heretic?”

“I have an evolved brain,” Alan said. “You do to, Cheryl, but you seem unwilling or unable to use it when it comes to religion. It’s like you’ve been brainwashed, indoctrinated.”

“Well, Mom, Dad, and I are going to miss your evolved brain when we’re all in heaven and you’re in hell.”

“You go ahead and live your life so that ascend to heaven, Cheryl, when you die.” Alan said. “I’ll live mine so that I can experience heaven on earth while I’m still alive.”


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “ascend.”

Faith Versus Reason

 IMG_2633

My blogging buddy, Jim, wrote a fascinating post today entitled “Why is it So Hard to Believe in God.” In addition to being a provocative post, he managed to get in the WordPress one-word prompt, “recreate,” when he wrote, “We cannot recreate the Big Bang, so we may never understand all of this, but we can believe that we do exist.” Well done, Jim.

In response to one of the comments on his post, Jim wrote, “I believe in logic and God makes sense to me….” I found that notion to be particularly interesting. I believe in logic, reason, and rationality, and it’s because of embracing those things that God makes no sense to me.

For purposes of this post, I’m going to consider “logic” and “reason” to be synonymous, although technically they aren’t. Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, applying logic, establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information.

That said, logic (or reason) is the antithesis of faith. It takes tremendous faith to believe that an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, supernatural being created everything that exists.

So the question I have for Jim, or for anyone who cares to weigh in is this. When it comes to belief in God, can logic and reason support that belief, or must one suspend logical and rational thought  in favor of pure faith to believe in the existence of God as the creator of all things?

Please feel free to share your thoughts (or beliefs).

Whatever Floats Your Boat

IMG_2601

“It sort of reminds me of a sphinx,” Dora said looking up at the cloud partially blocking the setting sun.

“To me it looks like a merry-go-round horse,” Alicia replied.

“Yeah, I can see that,” Dora said. Then wistfully, she said, “I don’t see how anyone can’t believe in God when they see something like this.”

“I don’t,” Alicia said in a matter of fact way.

Dora looked at Alicia with an expression of disbelief. “How can you look at that sky and tell me you don’t see God’s hand? The evidence of God is all around us.”

“I hear that all the time from people who believe in God,” Alicia said. “Evidence that God exists is everywhere you look, they tell me. Well, if that’s the case, why can’t I see it?

“Your walling yourself off from seeing such evidence,” Dora said. “It makes you blind to ‘The Truth’ of God’s existence.”

“I’m not walling myself off,” Alicia said. “If any definitive evidence were presented to me, I would be thrilled to change my mind about the existence of God.”

“But if God does not exist,” Dora said, “life is ultimately meaningless. If life ends in death, then it does not matter how you live.”

“You really believe that?” asked Alicia.

“I do,” said Dora. “If God does not exist, what is the point? Without God there is ultimately no hope for deliverance from the shortcomings of our finite existence.”

Alicia sighed. She looked back toward the slowly setting sun and the ever shifting shapes of the clouds. “Whatever floats your boat, Dora.”


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt

 

Where Have All the White Christians Gone?

 

It’s no wonder the KKK, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis are up in arms these days. America is no longer a white Christian nation. Oh noooooo!

According to a recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute, the share of Americans who identify as white and Christian has dropped below 50%, a transformation fueled by immigration and by growing numbers of people who reject organized religion altogether.

Yikes!

Don’t worry too much, America. You haven’t lost the War on Christmas just yet. Christians overall still remain a large majority in the United States, at nearly 70% of Americans. 

However, only 43% of America’s population is made up of white Christians. That’s down from 80% four decades ago.

The survey of 100,000 Americans also found that more than a third of all Republicans say they are white evangelicals, and nearly three-quarter identify as white Christians. 

Contrast that with the Democrats, where white Christians have become a minority, shrinking from 47% a decade ago to only 29% now. Even worse, 40% of Democrats say they have no religious affiliation. Those damn Democratic secularists are all going straight to hell.

This explains why Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, and congressional Republicans want to end DACA and limit even legal immigration, why Trump wants to build his wall that Mexico won’t pay for, and why he tried to ban Muslims from entering the country. 

But hey, you can’t make America great again if it’s not white and Christian, right?