Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Richard Dawkins and a Baptist Preacher Walk into a Bar

Somebody asked me recently what I would say to Richard Dawkins (the scientist-writer guy, not the dead, former host of Family Feud).  I didn't have an answer at the time.  Maybe I still don't.  But here's what I'm thinking.

Let's say I meet Mr. Dawkins in a bar.  This would be difficult as I don't visit many bars these days.  But let's just say.  Unless he brought it up, I don't think I'd say anything to him about faith.  He's a smart guy.  His mind is made up.  He knows the gospel.  He might have thought about it more than I have.  Who knows?  The best thing I can do for Richard Dawkins is pray for him.  It's not like I'm going to persuade him.  And even if I did persuade him, it wouldn't mean much.  It would just be us reasoning together and I would have somehow won with the super-power rhetorical skills I got when that radioactive copy of Aristotle's Omnibus fell on my head in college.  Dawkins would still have to square things up with God.
Suppose someone has a photograph of the earth at the time of the flood (Noah's ark and all that), taken by one of L. Ron Hubbard's space aliens.  And, this photograph has been scientifically authenticated.  Don't ask me how all this comes to pass.  But just suppose.  I guess that would make it ok to accept that there was a global flood.  But then, that's not faith.  Seeing isn't believing.  Believing is believing.  Hebrews 11:1 nicely defines faith.

I read some of the message boards and how people throw down on this whole age of the earth thing.  They get nasty about it.  So let's say someone proves beyond any doubt that the earth is five thousand, four hundred, and sixty-two years old.  Ok…so what?  That doesn't change a thing about what I'm going to do tomorrow, and it has very little bearing on what goes on in eternity.  If such a thing were proven, it would remove the need for faith about the age of the earth.  For the record, I don't claim to know how old the earth is, though I am pretty sure God made dinosaurs because He knew we'd need petroleum products for our cars.
If we could explain some of these things, what would we need faith for?

I understand faith in Christ is a foolish proposition.  It says so in the book (I Corinthians 1:23).  The Apostle Paul wrote that if he were wrong, he'd be the most miserable person out there (I Corinthians 15:13-19).  But Paul had faith.  The big delusion among a lot of people is that they have to see something to believe it.  That's existentialism, if you're interested in such things.
The problem with proving things is that somewhere it always boils down to faith.  I'm sitting in a chair right now.  I can see it and feel it.  My wife says she can smell it.  But I have faith that it will support my weight.  I trust the chair and it's not because I know that much about physics.  I don't know if that makes any sense. Sometimes faith doesn't make sense.

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