Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself." Ferris Beuller

"U.S. District Judge John Bates said Michael Newdow had no legal basis to pursue his claim because he could not show he would suffer any injury from hearing the prayer."

Sigh. I truly don't understand this man, or people who claim to be atheists like him.

If a person is truly an atheist, they don't believe in any higher power whatsoever. They "disbelieve or deny the existence of God or gods" (American Heritage Dictionary). They take the natural world as it is, and believe the natural world exists all on it's own, without any outside influence whatsoever.

If this is true, and there is no God, as atheists think, then it follows that those people who do believe in God are misguided and simple folk at best, or delusional and crazy at worst. Prayer (talking to a God which, in the atheist's eye's, does not exist) therefore, would be the mutterings of a simpleton or a delusional nut.

So, if one is an atheist, how can one argue that the delusional rantings of a simpleton or crazy person will in any way injure you? If one truly has a deep seated belief that there is no god of any kind, why would that person even give a second thought to the lunatic rantings of someone who is obviously misguided and wrong, much less contemplate injury from them?

A true atheist should probably treat religious people like indulged, misguided children: a roll of the eyes and a shake of the head for the poor duped souls praying to their non-existent god.

But I don't think there is anyone who is truly, honestly, deep-seated, way-down-in-their-heart-of-hearts, rock-solid sure, without a doubt, atheist. No one.

I think most people who proclaim themselves atheists don't really "disbelieve" God or the supernatural. I think they are rebelling against the possibility that God exists, because if there IS a God or an afterlife.... then we have to take some responsibility for how we live and what we do here. If there is a God, or some karmic afterlife, then we can't do everything and anything we want, AND have no responsibility or consequences.

I think most atheists are more like Riddick, in the movie Pitch Black, where he says, "I absolutely believe in God... and I absolutely hate the f@cker."

Just about everyone, at some point, has contemplated eternity, or the after-life, or heaven, or reincarnation, or something beyond this natural world we can see and touch. Everyone. I'll wager there is not a single person, who is able to think and reason (including even the poorest people living in the nastiest mud huts in the poorest places on earth), who has not asked, at some point, "is there nothing more?"

Why would that be? I think we are designed to think about "something more", because there IS something more. We yearn for there to be more. We dream about it, we hope for it, and we secretly fear it because most of us have no idea if we are prepared for whatever IT is. But, even if we disavow any chance of there being a God, we've ALL thought about it.

I figure either there is a God, or there isn't. If I were on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", and the question was "Is there a God?", I'd take the "ask the audience" lifeline, because I'm pretty sure the audience would answer an overwhelming yes. Would they be right?

I figure it's a 50/50 shot, with strong evidence leaning toward the existence of God. But the choice is yours.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I Go To The Rock Of My Salvation...

Since I work Sundays now, and have for the past few years, I've obviously not had the chance to attend church much. I take a few Sundays off, now and then, but that just hasn't been cutting the mustard, so to speak. It's hard to feel connected to a church family when you only visit the family every couple of weeks.

Choir on Wednesday nights, although I do so enjoy singing, doesn't cut it either. There's not much "fellowship" there. No connections. No meaningful conversations that take place when you have time to sit down and talk. It's a hit-and-run occasion. Everyone takes their seat, we all say a few cursory hello's, then down to business. Afterward, folks usually like to get on their way home. I enjoy choir for the music aspect of it, but I don't get out of it what I need, which is a closer connection to my Christian brothers and sisters.

So I was driving to work yesterday morning, Saturday, thinking.... I NEED to go to church. Someplace. Attend a service. Listen to some preaching, sing some hymns or praise music. Enjoy the time with fellow believers who love God as I do.

So I called my friend Lisa. She's told me tons of times that her church has a Saturday night service that's pretty cool. She goes to Saturday night church once a month and teaches Sunday School class for the little kids who's families attend on Saturday night. (I guess that would be Saturday Night School. Just doesn't have the same ring to it. Anyway...) She told me the time and place, and was so excited she said she and her fiance would meet me there. I told her no, I'll be fine, but she insisted. Wanted to be there the first time I showed up, ya know. Good friend.

So, off I go to The Rock of Rocklin, which is a satellite church of The Rock of Roseville. It's a very upbeat, but easy-going place. People greeted me and were very welcoming. The church is set in the corner of a strip mall, next to a Canned Food Outlet. Kinda seemed odd, but if it works, it works. I'm told the place used to be a bar or dance hall or something. Talk about a conversion.

So I go into the worship center or main hall, and the worship band is warming up. I was hooked from that moment. They were good!!! Drums, lead guitar, bass, keyboards, rhythm guitar. Nice tight alternative rock sound. And above all, good praise music. What can I say, I loved it!

The service was simple. Lots of music, sharing of the Lord's Supper (Communion for you who think more Catholic), and a good message about the power of words (Proverb's type stuff, like Proverbs 12:25: Anxiety weighs down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up.). A message I needed to hear, and enjoyed thoroughly.

Afterward, Lisa, her fiance Patrick, her daughter Jen, and I all went over to Strings and had dinner. Again, more fellowship with friends and believers. It was great. I'd been needing that.
I'm pretty sure I'll go again next Saturday night.