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Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's time to ask yourself what you believe...

The title of today's blog comes from the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. [Paramount, 1989]

In a pivotal scene, Walter Donovan (Julian Glover), an American industrialist who has thrown in with the Nazis in search of the Holy Grail, has just shot Professor Jones (Sean Connery). Donovan asks Indy (Harrison Ford) in effect, 'Do you really believe in the Holy Grail?'

It seems an odd question; with all of the death-defying action that has taken place, would Indy have really gone through all that if he didn't believe? But you could make a case that Indy was in it for fortune and glory, as he famously intoned in the second installment of the Indy franchise [Temple of Doom, Paramount, 1984]. And his seeking for the grail could have just been a way to help complete his father's lifelong quest and mend a relationship that had been tenuous at best.

Of course, in the heat of battle how often do we have time to really consider the important questions?

As life is steaming along full-speed and you are careening from one event to the next, do you ever stop and ask yourself, 'What do I believe?'

We all have a handy pouch that we carry around the stock answers in. You know the ones;

As some of you know, I finished up my annual Bible reading this week. Today, I started this years' reading. I decided to go with the English Standard Version [Crossway, 2001] because the goal of ESV is to be very accurate (word for word) yet very readable. This morning I embarked on a chronological plan provided by the great folks at the Blue Letter Bible. If you are looking for a new - or maybe your first - site for online Bible study, BLB is the bomb.

So what?

So, a chronological plan - as you might expect - presents the Bible in the order that the events happened, as near as we can determine. Naturally I began with Genesis and read chapters one through three. Most will know that these chapters deal with creation and our removal from the Garden.

While reading, that line from The Last Crusade just hit me right upside the was time to ask myself what I believed. I thought about what possibilities exist for creation:
  1. God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. (the Bible account as documented in the book of Genesis)
  2. The heavens and the earth and everything in it have come to be as a result of some cosmic event and over time have evolved into what we see today
With some variation, those are the two main schools of thought regarding how we got here.

Those who believe - or lean toward - number 2 can be very logical, factual and, dare I say it, evangelical, in their belief. It seems like those who adhere to number 2 do not recognize the logic inherent in believing number 1. After all, isn't that all based on the Bible, a book written by fallable men? And aren't most people who believe in the creation account just taking it on faith with no real proof to sustain their beliefs? So obviously that belief is flawed, right?

I'm no apologist and I'm not here to sway you to either belief. All I'm saying is that it's time to ask yourself what you believe - and then ask yourself, 'Why?' 

Go outside, look at the sky, the trees, the grass, the flowers, the mountains, animals, an apple (not your phone), your wife, mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter - anything existing naturally (i.e. not manufactured like a car, home, etc.). Where did they come from?

                              The big, blue marble

I'm looking out my kitchen window. The sky is a vibrant blue; there is a large evergreen in our backyard swaying in the wind. I can't see the wind, but I know it's there because the tree is moving. And because if I went outside I would be able to feel the air moving against my skin. There are pine cones hanging from a few of the branches. I'm not an expert but things like acorns and pine cones are the mechanism trees use to make more trees. The grass in the yard is mostly brown; it's not dead...just dormant because it's cold. In the Spring it will turn green again - even if I don't go to Lowe's and get any weed and feed. Because that's what grass does.

                                        Our beautiful earth...


Because supposedly billions of years ago there was a big explosion out in space and somehow, in a completely random series of events, enough particles came together to form a planet. And over billions of years those particles continued to connect in different (random) ways to form mountains, rivers, trees, oceans, grass, animals and ultimately people. They formed in such a perfect way that they could be self-sustaining.

                                                             ...came from this?

Which school of thought takes the most faith? The one that believes what a book that is thousands of years old says? The one that believes there was a guiding hand that lent purpose to the creation of the earth and everything in it?

Or the one that asks you to believe that all of it - every little thing - came about, in essence, by accident?

It's time to ask yourself...


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