Archive for April, 2005

On Coincidences

Posted by on Wednesday, 27 April, 2005

I have gone to half a dozen or so Campus Crusade meetings. Twice, the message has been on the same Bible passage that I had read that very morning. Last week, Jon Rittenhouse, who argued “pro” in the debate I mentioned, was a guest speaker. He did not actually base his talk from any specific passage, but at the very end, he made a reference to Pascal’s Wager, which just happened to be the title of the blog post I had made earlier that same day.

So, I seem to encounter the same or similar coincidences repeatedly in the same place. A coincidence of coincidences, or a meta-coincidence, if you will. It’s times like these that I think that Someone is trying to tell me something.

Stumbling All Year

Posted by on Sunday, 24 April, 2005

What if I stumble? What if I fall?
What if I lose my step, and I make fools of us all?
–D.C. Talk

Earlier this month I happened to notice that my archives run from April 2004 to April 2005. Curious, I clicked on the former to find out that my first post was on April 23. Today. So it’s been a year. (I’ve said that before, haven’t I?) I’m constantly amazed at how the days and weeks, sometimes even the months, can fly by, but the years still take… a long time.

I started this website with the intention of posting various musings and stories that ought to be thought-provoking and interesting, whether you knew me or not. I made it a blog because I thought I would be more likely to post more often if all I had to do was write and push “Publish,” with all the linking and indexing taken care of automatically. I’ve been dismayed for some time that what I have actually produced is but a pale, impotent version of what I intended.

This too is vanity, and a chasing after wind.

Pascal’s Wager

Posted by on Thursday, 21 April, 2005

Tuesday, the Round Earth Society and Campus Crusade for Christ, my two favorite clubs, sponsored a debate entitled Does God Exist?
I do not think I could be very effective in recapping the debate here, so instead, I will give a brief explanation of why I’m not an atheist.

The real issue for me is that as an atheist, I had no reason to get out of bed. If there is no God, or more generally, no higher power of any kind, then there truly is no purpose to anything. Staying in bed all day is ultimately as equally useful as getting up. Yet, for some reason, I did get up. Everyday. Even though there were a great many days when I would have rather not. Why? Well, ultimately, it feels better when I actually get up and do things. If I get to the end of the day and don’t feel that I have really accomplished anything, I feel like I have wasted the whole day, and it feels bad. So what? Why does that even matter? If there is ultimately no meaning to anything, why is it “better” to feel “good” than to feel “bad”?

At that point, the argument falls apart for me, and I can go no further. I know instinctively that “good” is better than “bad,” and, working backwards, I ultimately arrive at the conclusion that there must be a purpose for getting out of bed.

Before the debate, the President of the Round Earth Society stated that, despite what people think, they are not an “atheist” club, but a “free-thinkers” club, with the goal of being unbiased. Having been to a couple of their meetings, I would say that they are not doing a very good job.

I come from a scientific background, and I believe that there are things that are, and things that are not. I think that the very basis of science is that things behave in a certain way and not in another. So if one person says that there is a God, and one person says that there is not, they can not both be right. They could, of course, both be wrong, with the truth lying somewhere in between, or somewhere else entirely that neither of them had considered. Yet ultimately, I believe that truth exists. Now, if one gets to that point and look around, they might notice that we are surrounded by people who claim to know what that truth is. Is it not worth while to at least find out what they have to say? Who needs a lecture on an open mind now?

If it so happens that Christians are wrong, perhaps it really is true that “following God” is a total waste of time… but no more so than anything else.

The Week in Review

Posted by on Tuesday, 19 April, 2005

There are a lot of things that I wanted to talk about last week, but did not get the chance. So now I’ll just do it all at once.

Sunday: Watching the bass player at church, the thought occurred to me, “I’ve never once left the ground while I was playing guitar.” Which I guess is just more proof of how depressing my music is.

Speaking of playing guitar, I’ve started playing guitar in our group that meets Sunday nights. On Sunday afternoon, I was informed that I would have to lead two songs that night. (It turns out that by “lead” she really meant play guitar in the background while she sings, which is not my definition of “lead,” but whatever.) Anyway, I just looked at her and casually replied, “Do you know Wasting?” It was HIlarious. Of course, I don’t think anyone there got it, but the voices in my head were sure laughing.

Sunday night, my girlfriend and I broke up. You didn’t know that I had a girlfriend? Well, okay, I realize that in nearly six months I never once mentioned that fact here. I had my reasons for that, once. I suppose they stopped being good reasons long after they were already firmly established.

Monday: I’m man enough to admit, I spent a fair amount of time… weeping like a baby. Ahem.

Tuesday: I used to really like The Cure. Now they’re filed away in that big box of cd’s I don’t listen to anymore. However, when I walked into the food court Tuesday morning, (where they have wifi, and I can check my email if I get to school early enough) I was greeted with a line from the somewhat lesser known tune, High, “…makes me bite my fingers through, to think I could have let you go.” Thanks Robert, I needed that.

I had an econ test, (yeah, already?) which of course I did not study for in the least. I haven’t even taken the shrink wrap off the book yet, just like old times. [ It turns out that I got an A… what can I say, my Dad has half of a PhD in economics… it’s just in my blood. ]
I get out of class at noon on Tuesdays, and this time I decided to haul back to Redlands for the fellowship-gathering-formerly-known-as-Taco-Tuesdays.

It also happened to be April 12th, the day on which I traditionally do my taxes. Always a good time.

Wednesday: Wednesday, I actually don’t remember so much.

Thursday: For those who have been following the story from the beginning, about two years ago, I said that God was giving me the proverbial finger. It’s really how this whole thing began. Today I gave it back.

I’m not endorsing this as a particularly wise thing to do. I might have handled things differently if I had it to do again. At least now we’re back on the same page.

If you haven’t been following the story from the beginning, I’m sorry, all I can say is that I’m working on it. Slowly. Very slowly.

Friday: I went to work for the first time in five months. I had stopped thinking of myself as even having a job. Ah, the annual Miss Teen California Pageant. You symbolize everything that I hate most.

Saturday: I spent most of the day trying to remember how to program, for an assignment for an engineering class that does not have computer programming as a prerequisite! No really, I actually am a registered Apple Developer.

It was also game night, and we learned that boys just aren’t good at the “David Bowie” game.

Sunday: Not too much out of the ordinary, unless you want to count Denny’s’s bid for worst restaurant service of the year. Unfortunately for them, it’s looking like a pretty tight competition this year.

Enough Carrots, Time for the Stick

Posted by on Tuesday, 12 April, 2005

There’s something I’ve been praying about, asking for wisdom and guidance and all that. When I simply no longer knew how to go any further, I gave it to God. I could not have been more amazed when He actually took it. Away. Immediately. Just… gone.
And I knew it was as it had to be.
Today it hurt. As it will hurt, today, this week, these months… as long as it takes. Otherwise i don’t learn nothin’.

Great is Your faithfulness, to carry on with a sinner like me.

On Evangelism

Posted by on Saturday, 9 April, 2005

You must have heard by now that the Pope died. My pastor even offered a prayer for the Catholic church as they search for new leadership. I, however want to say what I don’t think others else would dare say right now. However great a person he was, and whatever he may have done, the man was crazy. I have no doubt that he did a lot of good things for a lot of people, but he also thought that when he sat in a certain chair, that he spoke directly for God. To be fair, there are a lot of people who seem to feel that they speak directly for God whether they are sitting in a chair or not, but I digress. A long explanation of the differences between Catholics and Protestants is beyond the scope of this post, but briefly, I feel that the main argument for Protestantism can be summed up by Luke 11:27-28:

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Did the Pope have a relationship with the Lord? I would certainly hope so. Yet the fact remains, from where I stand, he was the world leader for a large group of people who just don’t quite get it. Now there lies is the real issue. If Catholics are all wrong, how can I be so sure that the people of my church are right?

I think the greatest hindrance to my spiritual growth is that, having cast aside my former world view, I now lack any tools to properly evaluate “truth.” So, while I need no particular convincing that I myself am a wretched sinner, when it comes to declaring to others that they can never earn God’s favor on their own merit, (my own mother for example, or say, the Pope) well, that’s where I fall short.