It was so much easier when we were younger, wasn’t it? Adults talked, we listened. Our questions were met with a “Well, that’s just the way it is, honey”. If we got too insistent with our questions, the adults would grow stern and tell you to “go play outside.” It’s understandable, I guess, knowing that they didn’t have the luxury of the Internet then. Perhaps the truly supportive ones would take their kids out to the library and introduce them to the wonderful world of the Dewey Decimal System (HA!) while they were at it. But results could be limited depending on how far and how well-stocked a library was. Sometimes, it was just easier to accept what the adults had to say and to go outside and play.
Logic vs. belief
But no one stays young forever. We grew and developed our minds to think for ourselves and to question what was in front of us. Abstract reasoning, critical thinking, fact-finding and opinion-forming exercises were pounded into our heads as we stepped into high school and sauntered on to college. Philosophy subjects opened up a Pandora’s box of old new school of thoughts and assertions from men and women who spent their lives thinking and refused to believe the status quo. It was all very exciting, wasn’t it? Suddenly, our worlds opened up to a thousand possibilities and looking up the stars at night was no longer the simple, passive activity that it was when we were five.
The world opens up
Then the Internet age came and then BAM! we were connected to the whole wide world, separated only by URLs and faulty Internet connections. No longer were we confined to our own nooks and our little libraries. We had access to journals, blogs, studies and every single thing that another person was thinking all the way out in Africa (and anywhere else on the map, for that matter). Now, simply accepting things because an adult said so and then going out to play no longer seemed right. In fact, it didn’t even seem possible.
We have been taught to question, to use the scientific method and logic to form our own opinions. The practice of taking things as they were is now considered old-fashioned, passe’ and downright lazy.
An old-fashioned God?
So when people say that believing in God is exactly the summation of those three things, I can’t blame them. Where does the idea of God stand in a fast-moving world with new inventions cropping up every day, anyway? Where invisible cloaks are being developed, robots are starting to become more and more like humans and regular people are being shot to and from space? Has God really become passé in the light of all the triumphs of the human brain?
I mean, think about it. You work hard enough at something, you are bound to get somewhere, right? For example, a college kid spends every night locked up in his room working on his Spanish . Give it a year or two, and he’s bound to have learned the language, maybe even have mastered it. He would go on and land the job of his dreams that requires the language and get paid nicely for this language skill. Maybe even get assigned to Spain, a place he dearly loves.
My efforts not His
So, way to go, kid! You did it. YOU. By your own efforts and by your own hard work, no one else. If you were to congratulate him and all he said in return was, “All glory goes to God, not me.” You’d probably scratch your head and say, “Huh? What did He have to do with that?”
Like I said, I can’t blame you. It really is kind of hard to believe in a supernatural force that spends His time floating through the clouds, looking down at his people approvingly or disapprovingly. That is why we’re going to have to let go of that age-old (and baseless concept, anyways) of an old man in white with a long flowing beard ready to haul judgment as we attempt to locate God in the fast-paced world of 21st century people.
The divine breath of inspiration
Let’s start with that kid studying Spanish. He may be the one doing the physical work but guess who breathed the inspiration for him to flip open that book in the first place? Who provided him the strength to conjugate those verbs all night and still be able to face the next day with a smile? And who gave him the desire in his heart to get a good job and end up living in Spain?
But he’s a fictitious character! You might say. True, but there are thousands of people like that kid. The ones who seem to be able to do it all and yet still be able to keep on giving and giving. I can think of so many right now, in just my own family and circle of friends. Who do you think gives them the grace to keep smiling and to keep helping other people out, usually without getting anything in return? You’re bound to know even one or two in your Facebook feed. Where do they get that endless supply of love?
The driving force
Let’s use myself as an example. I decided more than 3 weeks ago that I would go back to drawing. So everyday, I would whip out my sketch pad and pen and start sketching. My effort, my business, my hard work. All me, right? But seriously, if there was no joy that came with that activity, I would have stopped on my third day or fourth day, at the most. Because it would feel too much like work and that I was trying too hard to prove something to myself or to the world. Now that can be really tiring. But I’m on day 40 today and I only grow more excited. Who could have given me that joy?
Let’s use another example. Someone famous this time, like Gary V., Mr. Pure Energy, the Ultimate Performer, the stuff of living legends. I use him here because I got the chance to watch him in concert, live, for the first time last year. This man’s whole being radiated with a light that it almost hurt to look at him. This was his 29th anniversary concert, at 49 years old, by the way, and yet he moved and spun around like a 20 year old at the peak of his career. What’s going on? He is a type 2 diabetic and yet, he is undoubtedly at the top of his game.
Also, why does he keep performing? Why doesn’t he retire and enjoy the fruits of his hard work? He’s got nothing left to prove to anybody. He’s got a great wife, talented kids and a stellar career. Yet, he’s there, performing with the best of them, his heart and soul bursting with praise and thanks. As of last month, he just embarked on a European tour. Who do you think keeps him so joyful and youthful on stage?
The atheists, the agnostics, the universalists
Now you might say, well that’s just great. Do you mean to say that God only works for the believers? What about the rest of us who don’t believe, who aren’t sure, who just aren’t ready to attribute everything to a bearded, judgmental being (wait, I thought we let go of that image already?) Does that mean they don’t get anything good at all? Are we doomed? That sounds a little biased, doesn’t it?
You’re right, it isn’t fair at all. The good news is that God doesn’t play favorites. It doesn’t matter if you acknowledge Him or not. It doesn’t matter if you love Him or not, He still fills your days and your lives with blessings and good things every single day on earth. Even men who have denounced God still experience love, don’t they? They experience joy and hope and inspiration. Even women who have devoted their lives to believing only in the universe and science still receive roses from their husbands or hugs from their kids, don’t they?
Even the atheists who participate in debates against God have friends and laughter and talents and passions and dreams, right? They have mothers who love them and good food to eat at least once a day. Authors who write books that debunk God still make millions out of these very same stories, don’t they?
The Bible says, “Every good and perfect thing comes from the Lord.” He does not discriminate. My husband put it nicely, “God’s love for his people is unfair.” None of us deserve it, yet we all still partake of it.
Our lives are showered with blessings every single day, every single one of us, whether you believe in God or not. It is not the “universe conspiring” to make things work out for you. It is the work of God who created the universe for you.
Who needs God?
Yes, it may be us humans who do the actual, physical work and because of that, it is easier to give the glory and all the praises to ourselves when achievements are won, when discoveries are made and when new things are invented. Who needs God when humans do all the work?
I’ll answer that with more questions.
Who puts the desire in our hearts to do these great things?
Who whispers encouragement during times that we are about to give up?
Who provides the hope when things look bleak?
Who gives the gifts of laughter and joy and love and peace?
Who is the author of every good and perfect thing?
No Purpose, No Point
If the atheists are correct in saying that we are just dancing molecules in the dark and everything that happens is by chance, then these beautiful things would not exist. We would simply be evolved animals without a purpose, with a slightly higher intelligence than apes, put in a world where we are made to toil every single day of our lives, for no other reason than having nothing else better to do.
But that is not the case, thank goodness.
Love, peace, joy, hope, inspiration and beauty exists and we see these things every single day. Someone must have put them there, right? They couldn’t have just accidentally spun out of from the frenzy of our dancing molecules, could they? No. These things are from the Source, the Author of every good and perfect thing.
Behind every great thing
And that is why God continues to exist in a world that appears to be able to do more and more without Him. And more importantly, that is why all the glory and praise belongs to Him. Because He is responsible for the laughter, the joy, the beauty and all the other “wonderful” in our lives. He is what makes scientists tick, He is what inspires every great author to write, He is behind every musical note before it can even be struck on a guitar. He is the reason we dance, we play, we create and we love.
When Jesus Christ died on the cross for us 2,000 years ago, He enabled the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts, so that He may continue to live in us and be in everything that we do. As a result, not only does God exist but He is in the center of our lives as well as in every single great thing that human beings have ever achieved (and will ever achieve).
And that includes mankind’s leap from the Dewey Decimal System to the World Wide Web.