Thursday, May 26, 2016

Why I Believe…Every Atheist Will be a Theist…


Yep, that’s a crazy bold statement, especially in this day and age of political correctness and “tolerance” for all beliefs.  And I don’t mean anything disrespectful to any atheist who may read that statement; it is simply what I believe.  And I would like to explain why.
First off, this isn’t an original statement to me.  I heard it first this past Sunday morning, and it stuck with me.  So I thought I would blog about it.  Nor is this a blog full of cute pics of little ones to bring a smile.  This is much closer to a Deb Dissertation – words that I hope are laid out in a somewhat logical sequence.
Because I tend to be a word geek who makes a point of defining terms when I do any sort of training, I would like to define three primary terms.  These aren’t my definitions; they come from
·         Atheist - a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings
·         Theist -  a person who believes in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation

·         Christian - a person who believes in Jesus Christ; adherent of Christianity
So this DD is about why I believe that every atheist – one who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being – will one day be a theist – one who believes in one God as the creator and ruler.  But a theist does not necessarily equal a Christian, as a Christian is one who believes Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and who recognizes their need for a Savior and trusts in Jesus as the One who saves.
Let me begin by saying that I’m not trying to take on atheism.  I’m not.  Many people have reached the choice to be atheist from a multitude of angles.  I’m not qualified to argue all of those angles.  I’m not arguing against that choice or position.  I’m simply offering another perspective of what will be true if atheism is a false logical conclusion and Christianity is true. 
See, if atheism is right – that there is no God, there is no life after this life, there is no higher purpose to life – then no one really has anything to lose.  This life is it, followed by oblivion.  Granted we Christians would lose all that we’d hoped for in this life; but once we were in oblivion, it wouldn’t matter anyway.  Since, by definition, oblivion is a state without awareness or thought of any kind.
But if Christianity is true – there is a God, there is life or awareness after this life, and there is a higher purpose to this life – then there is no such thing as oblivion.  There would instead, by virtue of the premise that Christianity is true, be life – or really LIFE! – and the contrast thereof, or awareness in a reality absent of LIFE.  For Christianity clearly teaches both.  There may be a variety of interpretations of what awareness after this life may look like, but the teaching is clear from Christianity.  This life isn’t it.  This life points to something after this life.  Or really Christianity points to Some One after this life.
I’ve read a book twice recently simply called Imagine Heaven by John Burke.  It was the first book in a long time that when I finished it, I turned right back to the beginning and started reading it all over again.  This book is a collection of near-death experiences (NDE’s) from all over the world.  People from many cultures and belief systems are clinically dead but come back to life with a story to tell of what they experienced while dead.  What is fascinating to me about these stories is how many of them have such common elements, not the least of which is being aware – AWARE of a reality that is more REAL than this life.  I get how impossible that is to believe.  I can’t imagine something more real than what I know now.  But nor can something two-dimensional imagine a third dimension.  So I allow for more dimensions than I may know here as a viable possibility that I could experience in another realm. 
This book describes more than simply being drawn to The Light.  It describes color and beauty that we don’t have words for here.  Even people who are profoundly blind from birth – and still blind after they come back to this life – describe seeing sights that they cannot see here.  People talk about seeing lush plants and trees and flowers that are so full of life and energy and color that if they pick one, a new one grows right behind it, since there is no death in this place. 
Another common element to NDE’s is a life review, seeing their life events from a different perspective – yet remarkably without judgment.  They are instead, surrounded by love and compassion.  Because they know they are experiencing this life review with Jesus, the very embodiment of Love Incarnate.  Keep in mind that these are people and children who may not know the Name of Jesus from any sort of teaching or belief system prior to their NDE, yet they know they are talking with Jesus and being loved by Him. 
Where am you going with this?  Deb, have you lost track of your original thesis? 
No, I haven’t lost track of what I started out saying.  Hang with me a moment longer.  For see, there are also stories of people who don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God who meet him in an NDE.  For example, Mr. Burke shares one story of a lady who has been Jewish her entire life.  She dies, and experiences a life review with Jesus.  She felt His love and compassion, and yet after coming back to this life, she says that she still does not believe that He is The Christ, The Messiah, since her life-long Jewish teaching tells her that Jesus is not Messiah.  In other words, this woman would be a theist but not a Christian. 
The book also shares a few stories describing a place that is full of darkness and fear and taunting criticism.  This is also a reality that is more real than this life, yet most unpleasant.  These darker stories also come from all over the world, from people with many belief systems yet share striking similarities, like those stories that are full of Light and Love.  In essence – an awareness of being in a place, yet in a place that is not this earth and in a form that is not this body.
How could people from so many diverse backgrounds experience events so similar and so vividly REAL?  It seems harder to me to believe that there isn’t life after this life than to believe that there is.  Beyond that, to believe so gives this life infinitely more meaning and purpose and hope than to not believe such.
Which brings me back to my opening statement – that all atheists will be theists.  Someday.   Not that all atheists will someday be Christians.   But I believe they will realize that God is. REAL.  Jesus is.  REAL.  More Real than today’s reality.  It may not be a change of philosophy experienced this side of the grave, but what is so compelling about the NDE stories is that there is life and awareness after this life.  We don’t die to simple oblivion.  We merely pass through a veil to Something else…to Some One else.
One of the writers of The New Testament even talks about this Someday – that every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.  And I happen to believe that “every knee” will include every atheist who has ever lived, famous ones such as Stephen Hawking, and less famous ones who have chosen to conclude that God is not.  
Atheism is a choice that I respect even though I cannot embrace it intellectually.  I find it more forced to deny so much evidence FOR God’s existence than to simply accept how much He has revealed about himself in so many places: creation, our conscience and innate sense of right and wrong, Scripture, how we define time, etc. But I don’t speak for everyone.  I speak for me only.  In addition, I am not trying to say all of this from a “we win in the end” viewpoint.  That is not my intent here.  I’m merely articulating in a quiet way why I believe there is Something … Someone…Someplace…beyond this life we know here and now.  While I have not studied every belief system out there, Christian teaching of grace and mercy and love and communion with God provided by the sacrifice of Jesus is so outrageous and scandalous yet evidential, that nothing else comes close to being able to replace what I’ve believed since I was 9 years old.  And if I believe Christianity is true, which I do, then a reasonable conclusion of that view is that someday, whether here or there, all people, including atheists, will recognize God as not only Real but Supreme, the essence of being a theist. 
Do I think that writing this will change anyone’s mind?  Nope, that isn’t my intent either.  This blog isn’t about being famous or making money or gaining internet fame.  This blog is a means of communicating with a few family members and friends, so they have a record of some of the things I did and how I did them, plus how I thought – perhaps a glimpse into my heart and mind – as long as the internet is around and after I’m not.  So this is simply one more glimpse into my heart and my approach to faith in God. 
Thanks for reading if you’re still with me.  If not, that’s cool.  Maybe you will enjoy the next post better!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Happy! Happy! Birthday Boy A-Man!

I don’t normally post one of these “5 Things Taught” DD’s for the grandkids, but this guy is now 8 years old, which let’s face it, is half-way to driving.  (Yes,  I do believe that I just gave his parents a heart attack with that line.)  Besides that, he taught me these 5 things this past weekend, so it seems as though a post is due. 


Happy!  Happy!  Birthday, A-man!  Here are 5 things you’ve taught me.. 

5 – The Wipe-Out bike beats the Rock-It.  Trust us on this.  It just does.

4 – Grandpa G & Grandma Deb need to see a baseball game soon.  A-man likes to hit a ball.  Far.  And hard.  We need to see this live and in person.

3 – Kissing scenes in movies are bad.  Like gross bad.  Like really yucky bad.  I wish you could have seen his face when he’s teaching me this, because my words can’t do it justice.  (Hide your eyes!!!)
(But I think this kissing scene is still ok!)
2 – Rat Bat.  He’s one of the Decepticon Transformers, and he has “bat” mode and “flight” mode (or something like that).  Anyway Rat Bat can transform like the best of ‘em.  And then he can fight the bad guys.  I’m still learning who the bad guys are.  The bad guys may be Pokemon with water energy and fire energy and hyper power that Rat Bat is fighting while also keeping the Beyblades at bay (did you catch that pun there?)  Oh, and Chewbacca (not the now famous mask, but the “real” Chewbacca) fights for the good guys, too, so I think he and Rat Bat are friends.  I’m sure that I have this story right, right?  I still have a lot to learn about Rat Bat.

1 – Courage comes in many shapes and sizes, even relatively small sizes.  Whether that shows up as being the only boy to sing with a group of girls or sharing his faith in Jesus, A-man is one courageous fellow.  I’m pretty sure that if you looked up “child-like faith” in the dictionary, no words are necessary.  They just show A-man’s picture.
Happy!  Happy!  Hope your birthday has been wonderful, A-man!  We love you!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Happy! Happy! Birthday Girl S!

This beautiful daughter, mother, teacher, student, manager and lady celebrated her birthday today!!! 
 (I chose this one 'cause she be holdin' two of our grand babies here!)

It is late in the day, but I hope it's not too late to share with you 5 things that I appreciate that S has taught me....

5 - Family pics matter.  I haven't always been good about this, but S always has been good about this.  And hopefully I'm learning. 

4 - Excel.  My work world is all SAP now, so I don't use Excel as much as I once did.  So when (note I did not use the word "if" but WHEN) I get stuck and want a new formula in Excel, S is one of my go-to ladies for this sort of thing.  She's as good as any Excel Google answer you'll get anywhere!
3 - A renewed appreciation for tea.  For ladies' teas.  For gloves and special treats and simply taking a bit of time to appreciate each other and catching up over a cuppa...
2 - A renewed appreciation for SAP.  I've been going through a bit of "empty nesters' syndrome" of late, because S has truly, completely flown the coup in recent months.  She found herself a new job, and is doing wonderfully at it.  But the place she is working doesn't run SAP.  Yet.  They probably will in the next few years, because their parent company runs it, but today, this shop doesn't.  And she has said to me more than once how much she can appreciate all that a system like SAP brings to an organization.
1 - Juggling motherhood and work and school and teaching are not easy, but they are fulfilling and worthy pursuits.  And S does it with many smiles and good humor and grace and balance.  She doesn't expect any of them to be perfect (as much as she might like each thing to be!), but she takes each moment as it comes...even when those moments may include broken bones of little ones...and keeps moving forward.  All part of what makes me so proud of her. 
Happy!  Happy!  Birthday to you, S!  I hope it has been truly wonderful, full of love and laughter and joy and memories.  I love you!!
Mama Mia Quesadilla