Monday, July 18, 2016

‘There Is No President!’

Imagine this scenario, a conversation with one of your friends:

“There is no President,” the friend blurts out.
“What did you say?” you respond.
“I said, there is no President of the United States. He does not exist.”
“Huh? What in the world are you talking about?” you ask, fearing your friend must have just had a close encounter with a coconut, or hammer, or worse.
“I’m saying I don’t believe there is a President.”
“Sorry, bro, but what have you been drinking? Sure there’s a President. We see him on the news just about every night,” you counter,
“Oh, that’s just fantasy. A figment of people’s overactive imagination. You know what they can do with computer graphic imaging these days. If they can use CGI to create dinosaurs, ice queens, talking toys and avatars, they certainly can create a fictitious character and says it’s the President of the United States.”
“Where are you getting this from?” you ask, even more worried about your friend’s state of mind.
“Well, have you ever met the President? Have you ever seen him face to face, or shook his hand?”
“No, but he did come into town a couple years ago.”
“How do you know?”
“I saw the news reports, he was here – he even brought his teleprompters. They showed Air Force One at the airport. And streets along the route he would be traveling were closed. So, I’m sorry, the President definitely exists.”
“Again, where’s your proof? You’ve never seen him in person. All you know is what other people say. I’m sorry you’re so delusional, but there is no President. I don’t believe in him. I’ve never talked to him, and he’s never done anything for me. Besides, if there was a President, he or she definitely wouldn’t act the way people say he does. I don’t believe in the President, or the regulations people say he’s signed into law, and certainly not the executive orders people are supposed to follow. If there was a President, it certainly wouldn’t be the kind of President people always talk about.”

Okay, you’ve probably never had this conversation. Hopefully not. But there are people who insist Elvis never died, some don’t believe men walked on the moon, and I hear there’s a movement of people that deny the Holocaust ever happened. As Elvis might have said, there’s a whole lotta disbelievin' goin' on.

This reminds me of conversations and interactions I’ve had with atheists and agnostics – perhaps you have, too – that are absolutely convinced there is no God and present their reasoning along the same lines. They ridicule such belief as fantasy, fairytales, fictions, fables…notice a pattern here?

“You can’t prove God exists,” they argue. Well, in a physical, material sense, they’re right. God doesn’t fit into a test tube, and you can’t stuff him into a laboratory cage for observation. But at the same time, you can’t prove God doesn’t exist – because by definition, the spiritual realm isn’t governed by physical laws and limits. And the fact that billions around the world believe in God, whether known as Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Allah, Krishna, or one of many other names, has to count for something.

But the fact we can’t empirically prove God’s existence, the way one can prove the temperature of water being heated on a stove or the distance to the moon, has little bearing on the quality of our faith. In fact, the Bible declares such non-material belief is a prerequisite for genuine faith. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). A different translation states it this way: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

The materialist might argue such a statement amounts to nonsense. But in reality, when a child is promised a puppy, the youngster exhibits faith, justifiably hoping and expecting with confidence the promise will be fulfilled. In a courtroom, unseen evidence is of little value, but people get married everyday based on the unseen, unprovable evidence that they are loved by their intended.

For those who follow Jesus Christ, trusting in the unseen can sometimes be challenging. But that’s the kind of faith God desires – and rewards. As Jesus said to Thomas the disciple when He offered tangible proof of His crucifixion and resurrection, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

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