Thursday, April 12, 2012

Born at the Wrong Time

I've had less time for writing due to longer work hours, and I'm in the process of finishing a couple of other posts, but I thought I'd quickly share a mildly interesting experience of mine from this past Sunday.

I don't go to church much anymore, but I did go to Easter service at my parents' request. It was pretty unremarkable and mediocre as far as "Sonrise" sermons go, but one thing really did stick out to me as particularly insightful—though not for the reasons it was intended to be.

The pastor's daughter made a very telling comment. She suggested that God was evident to us in the past (in the form of his interaction with the Israelites and his incarnation in Jesus) and will be in the future (in the form of the Second Coming), but that modern society is caught in a kind of "temporary atheism" because direct access to the divine is unavailable at the moment.

Well, how conveniently inconvenient.

What an odd coincidence it is that we happen to be living in the precise sliver of time during which God isn't overtly interacting with humanity. Christians who subscribe to this line of thought would have us believe that we happen to exist in a sort of divine "blind spot"—one in which God can't be empirically verified, one that looks exactly as if he was never there at all.

Do believers really find this kind of reasoning acceptable? Why doesn't it occur to them that God's "temporary" aloofness might be the rule and not the exception? And if we do reside in the one cursed era of an otherwise God-filled timeline, isn't that a needlessly cruel twist of fate? If he actually wants us to believe in him, why not give everyone the same strong evidence he supposedly gave in antiquity?

In John 20, Jesus lets Doubting Thomas put his hands in the crucifixion wounds and says, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." It's an appalling endorsement of belief without evidence, but at least he gave evidence when asked. As for the billions of skeptics who followed in Thomas' footsteps, I guess we'll be punished eternally for the crime of being born at the wrong time.

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