Dear Rev. Know-it-all,
How do I deal with atheist friends who say that Science has proven there is no God?
Just tell them they are wrong. God most certainly exists. In English, God is defined as the Supreme Being. Just ask them, “You mean there is no Supreme Being?” Don’t ask them about a creator or an almighty spirit or a Flying Spaghetti Monster, for that matter. Is there a Supreme Being?
God is simply the greatest reality. If the universe is somehow self-creating and self-perpetuating, then I suppose the universe is God. Perhaps this Supreme Being is an unfeeling unthinking cluster of cosmic forces. Perhaps God is existence itself. The question is not, “Does God exist?” God exists by definition. The greatest reality is, by very definition, God. So the real question is not, “Does God exist?” The question should be, “What is the nature of God?’
I am an adherent of a strange religion that claims the essence, the heart, of the Supreme Being came into the world 2,000 years in the form of a Jewish carpenter. He was born in a barn and was publicly executed as a troublemaker by the civil and religious authorities. Not only was he publicly executed, but he was tortured to death over the course of about six hours. This all powerful Supreme Being was pinned to a cross just as a scientist might pin a beautiful butterfly to the backing of a display case. Why would I or anyone else for that matter think that this blood-spattered loser was the Supreme Being?
Simple – He rose from the dead.
We hold that he was life that couldn’t die. 500 of his followers claimed they saw him after he came back to life. Most of them were so convinced that they were killed for claiming that it was true and they never recanted or backtracked. They preferred death. He has been appearing ever since. I know two or three people who claim to have seen him. I have never seen him, at least in human form, but I feel his presence around me and know in my heart that he is very much alive. If you look a little more deeply at this absurd religion that says God could be abused and victimized by a tyrannical government you may just find the most beautiful idea in history. The all-powerful Supreme Being became powerless for the sake of love. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son… (Jn 3:16)
I once heard a story about a poor girl, a Christian, who, having received a scholarship, attended a summer camp for children of privilege. Late one night, sitting around a campfire, the girls were talking about the luxuries they enjoyed. One girl talked about her father’s yacht, the next mentioned her father’s polo ponies, and so on. As the boasting went around the circle, the less privileged girl wondered what she could say. There was no worldly status or luxury in her life. Then she remembered the greatest thing she had.
When it came her turn to speak, she simply said, “My best friend died for me.” Her friendship with the Risen Jesus of Nazareth made all the luxuries of the rich seem like cheap baubles. They had things. She had love. My absurd religion teaches that the Supreme Being, the greatest force in the universe, the creating power that called everything into being, is Love, self-sacrificing Love. We believe that, not only is the supreme reality true love, but that it can be had simply for the asking. It is available to anyone and everyone if a person simply says and means something like, “Lord, I want to know you and to give my life in exchange for yours.” Forget the yammering of philosophers and fanatics for a moment. It really is that simple. Let the greatest reality inside or outside the universe love you. You will most certainly learn to love Him in return.
The Rev. Know-it-all
PS When they challenge your absurd medieval religion, ask your atheist friends if they want to pray with you. They might back off or they might say, “Okay.” Have them close their eyes and then you simply ask God to bless them in words an eight-year-old might use. Say something like, “Dear Jesus, thank you for letting me know you. My friend wants to know you too. Help him (or her) with the problems they face and give them real peace. Thank you.” I’ve done this countless times and more often than not, the results are amazing.