Let me begin by saying that I hate apologetics. Whatever they may have been in the past, today, they’re basically a way of saying “I’m right, you’re wrong and you’re going to hell unless you agree with me”. I’m writing this with desperate hope that it doesn’t come off that way.
In a recent post, Tony Jones answered the question of why he believes. Some would say he answered it poorly, even offensively. I can’t speak to the offensiveness of it because…, well, it didn’t offend me. It made me cringe in a couple of places, but didn’t upset me. What it did do, however, was set me to wondering how I might respond to that query. The short answer is: it works for me.
You didn’t think I stop there, did you? Of course not, we all know I’m much to long-winded for that. So, here’s the long answer: It works for me because I desperately need some sort of framework for my life. Maybe you don’t and, if that’s the case, I stand in awe of you. That’s not hyperbole; I find people who have their shit together utterly amazing and those who do so with no outside influence, doubly so. I need a framework because, without some guiding structure, I am a petty, selfish asshole of a man. For me, the message of the Gospel (the true message, not the twisted fire insurance that passes for it all too often) provides that structure nicely.
That doesn’t mean I think my way is the only way or that, without Jesus, everyone is a terrible sinner with no hope of redemption. It means that Jesus was, and is, my hope of redemption. Despite what many say, Christianity isn’t the only way to God/heaven/Nirvana/common decency/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it, it is one way. If it’s done properly, I think it’s a pretty good one.
If you’re looking to me for concrete proof that God exists, you’ll be sorely disappointed, because I cannot offer any. In fact, I don’t believe that there is such proof and if there was, Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would be a prophetic tome and not the weed-infused fairy tale that it is. In that book/play/movie, Adams contends
“”I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.”
The truth is that I don’t know if God exists or that there ever a person named Jesus who lived and breathed and taught this remarkable message of love and acceptance; one that he believed in it so much that he allowed himself to be executed in a truly gruesome manner as an example to the rest of us. But, I do know that living as if all that is true makes me a better person and gives me a purpose beyond indulging my petty, selfish side. And, I kinda like that.