Saturday, July 04, 2009
Is There a God?
IS THERE A GOD?
Can really atheism or agnosticism help us?
Have you ever believed a lie? Have you sincerely believed something to be true, only to discover subsequently it was so far from the truth as is Bulgaria from winning the Football Worldcup?
When I was a high-school student I believed from the bottom of my heart that Capitalism is doomed to be superceded by Communism. I remember my history teacher asked the question: “When do you think Communism will triumph over all the world?” She pointed to me and I answered: “Maybe in 20 or 30 years”. I was quite naïve. But how many of you felt the same in those years? No one, of course, you are too young, but ask your fathers and mothers! Due to the communist propaganda many people believed that we lived better than those beyond the Iron Curtain and it was a matter of time for the people in the west to see the truth. Yet, this was very far from reality. Only 3 years later just the opposite happened – communism collapsed. The fact that millions of people sincerely believed into it didn’t make it anything more than a bad theory put into practice.
Even earlier back in history, most of the people believed in the flat Earth and Geocentric Universe. Both were proven to be false by Galileo and it took quite some time for the new concept to get acceptance. So, it turns out that not only individuals but also whole nations and even the whole world can be enslaved by a lie. That fact that all the people believed the Earth was flat didn’t make it flat, it was still a sphere.
But again, if we look at our recent history, how many of you can say that you haven’t been deceived by the politicians for whom you voted since we have free elections? Do you remember when a prominent politician promised that when he comes in power Bulgarians will feel a dramatic improvement in their standard of living within 800 days?! The fact that 70 percent of the population voted for him didn’t mean that what he was promising would come true.
We can’t live without trusting others; trust is intrinsic to our very beings. The problem is, we live in a time when truth is relative and subjective and we are impressed when we see that someone has really told the truth rather than lies. Truth is stranger than it used to be.
2. The Greatest Lie
Today I want to talk about a lie we often hear about God and we don’t even think about. (Now, I know what you are thinking, look at this guy, he looks intelligent, with these glasses, and yet he talks about some religious bla-bla.) To me this is the greatest lie because it has to do with the ultimate reality. It goes like this: God is not relevant to life whatsoever. In other words, God, if he exists at all, is absolutely distant from us and cannot be known. This is very well expressed by the Bulgarian saying: “God is high above, the king is far from us” (meaning neither God can help us, nor the king – the latter because he is unconcerned with people’s suffering).
So, this attitude breaks into two smaller variations:
1) God has no relation to real life just because there is no God (the atheistic outlook); Someone once wrote on a wall: “God is dead. Nitsche” – this story shows perfectly what many people today think of God; by the way, do you know that there is only one place where there are no atheists – on the plane;
2) God may exist but he is not knowable, which again makes him non-existant and irrelevant for us (the agnostic outlook).
I remember a few months ago I was travelling by train and I chatted with a student about different stuff. We started talking about life, meaning of life, etc., so I asked him how he perceives God. He crossed his legs and said convincingly: “I am not sure there is god but if there is, I guess he is a kind of a supernatural power.” What he meant was a blind impersonal power that plays randomly with people’s fates and can’t even see what it’s doing (because it’s impersonal, after all)!
Now, when we look around us and see all the legacy of communism: grim facades of socialist block of flats, dirty and bumpy streets, corrupt politicians, doctors and professors at uni, and begging Gipsies, thousands of kids in orphanages, this answer begins to make sense to me. It starts looking pretty logical. How can a loving God let this happen!? And yet, it has nothing to do with reality. Like the picture I showed to you, it looks like truth on the surface. I will venture to suggest to you that this is just another lie that we were raised with since the time of communism.
3. Arguments for the existence of God.
Now, I don’t claim that I have found a proof of God. God is a Spirit, so you can’t prove in a lab the existence of a Spirit. Yet, there are other things in life that cannot be proved by science and still they exist! You can’t ‘prove’ things like love, sacrifice, happiness, loyalty but this doesn’t mean they don’t exist! To say that the things you can’t prove are lies is a LIE!
Second, though he is a Spirit, God reveals himself. He does this in 3 ways. The first is through his Creation. Imagine finding a new, hi-tech watch in a forest. There would be no doubt in your mind that it was created, though you have never seen anything like it before. Thanks to the electron microscope, we now know that a single living human cell is FAR more complex than the most modern factory. Creation of life, now is obvious - especially to experts in biochemistry. This necessitates a Creator (God). But you don’t need a degree in molecular biology or quantum physics. You just need to look around and see the incredible beauty and complexity of the world. As the Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” (Psa 19:1-6)
Second, he reveals himself through Revelation, His Written Word. We can be certain from the statistical "proof" of divine inspiration of the Bible. Only a supernatural God, beyond time and space, could provide the hundreds of specific prophecies and insights, written centuries in advance. For example, listen to this one:
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5).
Perhaps you think the Bible is biased, inaccurate, or mythological. I have a friend from high school. He was the best student in class, very sharp mind and had great memory. I remember I studied for 6 hours every day. And you know what? He didn’t have to study at home, he just remembered everything the teacher said in class! That’s not fair, is it? His 8 year old daughter now is an European chess-mate champion. At the university he decided he was going to refute the Bible. After he investigated the biblical texts for months finally he gave up and became a firm believer. Mathematical analysis literally "proves" the existence of God’s inspiration many centuries in advance.
And here we come to the third, most striking evidence. Now, imagine you are God. If you have to let people know that you exist, what would you do? Would you send an email to BBC, CNN or bTV with a coded message? Would you write on the sky: “I am watching you, so be careful what you do!” Or, perhaps, you would write: “What do you think you are doing, you little maggots!?” Or, like in “The Day After Tomorrow” movie, you would send a global warming and global cooling to annihilate us? Or, you would decide to be politically correct and say: “What do you think about my creation, you like it?” Actually, this sounds stupid, I haven’t heard the watchmaker asking the watch what it thinks of itself. Or, perhaps, you would speak from the mobile phones of all people to their respective language, saying: “Guess who is calling? My name starts with capital G and ends in ‘o-d. Yes, you got it!’”
Now, phone calls, emails and news reports is a great thing, but do you think people would pay attention? Do you think that even a massive calamity would make people come to their senses? Every miracle draws attention for 3 days only (Bulgarian proverb).
Now, if you know that you have made people in your image and likeness and if you love them, but they have turned their backs on you and have decided to live on their own, as if you don’t exist, only to see suffering and death entering their lives…you wouldn’t feel very happy, would you? My heart would break to hear my son saying: “I don’t want to see you anymore and I don’t even care whether you are alive or not!” So, imagine you love them so much you want to restore them to the previous position of God’s children, without sicknesses, sorrows and death, in complete union with you, forever. At the same time, being God, you are also perfectly just. You can’t go against yourself and pretend nothing has really happened! You must be consistent with your own character! So, what would you do?
There is just one thing you can tell them you are there and you love them: by becoming one of them. By taking human form and entering a human embrio (now, I know this might sound like bla-bla to you but don’t forget you are God, there’s nothing impossible for you). By living as a man, revealing your true identity to people and calling them to turn to you, by going through all possible sorrows and identifying with their plight, and finally by suffering the most agonizing death for the time, the death on the cross, and rising from the dead, thus paying with your own life for the rebelion of all your kids, who acknowledge what you have done. Sounds familiar? Yes, that’s what God has done through his Son Jesus Christ. He broke into human history to die, so that we might live through faith in His death and resurrection. I am suggesting to you that this is the third and most convincing evidence for God’s existence. Because it’s not a myth but a historical fact, demonstrated by both the Bible and extra-biblical sources. If you are still doubtful, let me encourage you to pick a copy of the NT before you go out from the desk here. Go ahead and investigate for yourself the story of Jesus Christ. But don’t just discard it as impossible before investigating it.
So far it sounds as a happy ending but that’s not all. Because, as I said, you can’t escape God’s wrath
unless you believe and accept His Son’s death instead of yours. Jesus said: Whoever believes in the Son has
eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36). So, this is the other side of the coin. I told you about that inscription, “God is dead. Nitsche.” The end of the story is that someone else went there and wrote next to it: “Nitsche is dead. God”. It is God who has the final say.
So, atheism and agnosticism are as far from the truth as the triple decker (flat earth and geocentric) universe in the minds of ancient people. It’s up to us whether we will be on the winning side with God in heaven, or with Nitsche, totally separated from God’s presence, called hell. It’s up to you whether you will be trust the lie or belive in the truth. Now, as I said, there are all kinds of lies and personal beliefs. But no matter how sincerely we cling to them this won’t make them valid. Some of these lies are pretty insignificant but there are others that can mean a lot! Believing the Earth is flat will only make you weird in the eyes of others. Believing politicians’ lies can only make you feel stupid. Yet, continuing to live and believing there is no God is different. It’s like jumping over the window from the 11th floor in spite of the fact that you know there are no mattresses on the ground.
So, I will encourage you to consider these three propositions – the fact that God revealed himself through creation, revelation and his own son. Then, as you go home, take more time and continue to investigate for yourself the Bible, God’s written word in which he explains who he is and why he came to the Earth in the form of a man. Also, there are books available on the topic of creation vs evolution – you can grab a copy of those two. It’s an excellent scientific summary of some of the issues in creationism/evolutionism. You can also come and talk with the team. And, do come to our next talk which will be on the topic of “Does God love (nqkoj prestupnik ili figurista, kojto blusna s kolata si hora). Thank you for your attention. Now, let me pray.