Where did this come from and why does it move?

Where did this come from and why does it move?

dropIt’s comforting to those who have rejected faith to clothe themselves in the notion that they are a “clean slate”—”above the fray” of conflicting claims and debates of religious belief systems. They fancy themselves to be in the self-assured line of Ulysses Everett McGill of “O Brother Where Art Thou?”They, while the ignorant, superstitious claims of religious “hayseeds” fly about, are the “neutral” ones who proudly claim ” I guess I’m the only one that remains unaffiliated.”

The problem is that the idea of neutrality in matters of faith is a myth.

What I mean is, by the very nature of all there is and all that may be known (but is mostly unknown), all people choose what they want to believe. We imagine we do it because we are smarter or better educated than the next guy. Or that we are simply holding back from making ANY claim we can’t prove. But in reality, we take our choices because we want to and for no other reason.

In reality, all people adopt a set of beliefs called “presuppositions”. To pre-suppose something means that, in advance of considering the options, or in the absence of certainty, we have chosen a particular point-of-view. Example: Consider something as simple as motion. Newton’s First Law clearly states that nothing moves unless it is moved. We know from physics that an object at rest remains so unless something acts upon it—energy is expended. Then and only then may it move. So when we look at the universe everything is moving. How did it begin moving? Thomas Aquinas reasoned that going back far enough we are forced to conclude that there was a Prime Mover—the original movement that set all other things into motion. Aquinas understood that as God. The “unaffiliated” one rejects such “nonsense” and presupposes a different “nonsense.” His statement of faith is, stuff moved itself—a notion unsupported by science.

The same “faith” exercise is performed by the atheist to even explain the “stuff” itself. “Matter is neither created nor destroyed” is the scientific maxim. But where did stuff come from, then? The belief system of the unbeliever is that matter is eternal, or somehow must have created itself—a thoroughly unscientific unprovable presupposition.

And the list of such presuppositions is long. Fact is, there are a host of “unprovable” things skeptics nevertheless CHOOSE to believe anyway. When Carl Sagan proclaimed “the Universe is all there is or ever will be” He was espousing an unscientific statement of faith. What He said, was demonstrably unprovable—a presupposition he preferred and chose among other truth claims.

The distasteful thing about a choice is that it excludes all other potential choices. So some will pretend that they make no choice at all, or perhaps they imagine they choose everything. They have, nevertheless, taken an option—they’ve made a choice.

The faithless insists that believers have no answer for “the problem of evil.” The faithful may retort that the unbeliever has no answer for the problem of good. If there is no god and all that there is is material causes and effects, then we cannot say we have any more meaning or value than a cockroach. And if the “survival of the fittest” is our ethic, then no man could judge if in order to secure better grades and a coveted career option a man should choose to kill his competition.

And when at last we each come to die, all people have settled on something to believe about that passage. They have adopted some kind of faith about it. Even critical-thinking religious skeptics end up espousing some form of faith. “We all just cease to exist.” We all “go to a better place.” Perhaps they may even cling to a sense of neutrality in this final case as well, and say “I don’t know what will happen to me.” But that too was their presuppositional choice. They have chosen not to fear what awaits them yet have no idea whether they should or should not have done that.

There is, in fact, evidence—if you care to accept it—that one has come back from the dead and can advise us knowledgeably about this issue. The following true story is a comparison of two men; one who chose to believe that evidence and another who chose not to.

In the year 1899 two famous men died in America. One was an unbeliever who had made a career of debunking the Bible and arguing against Christian doctrines. The other was a Christian. Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll, after whom the famous Ingersoll lectures on immortality at Harvard University are named, was the unbeliever. He died suddenly, his death coming as an unmitigated shock to his family. The body was kept in the home for several days because Ingersoll’s wife could not bear to part with it. It was finally removed because the corpse was decaying and the health of the family required it. At length the reamins were cremated, and the display at the crematorium was so dismal that some of the scene was even picked up by the newspapers. Ingersoll had used his great intellect to deny the resurrection, but when death came there was no hope. His departure was received by his relatives and friends as an unmitigated tragedy.

In the same year the great evangelist Dwight L. Moody died. But his death was triumphant both for himself and for his family. Moody had been declining for some time, and the family had taken turns being with him. On the morning of his death, his son, who was standing by his bedside, heard him exclaim, “Earth is receding; heaven is opening; God is calling.”
“You are dreaming, Father.” the son said.
Moody answered. “No. Will, this is no dream. I have been within the gates. I have seen the children’s faces.” For a while it seemed as if Moody was reviving, but he began to slip away again. He said, “Is this death? This is not bad. There is no valley. This is bliss! This is glorious!”