“The bible is patently unbelievable.”
That self-assured declaration was how you began our latest conversation. You proceeded to point out that I put my faith in a book where oceans part, donkeys talk, the sun stops moving and a dead man got better. How can a thinking person fail to laugh at such fables, much less build his life on them?
(Funny how you say the work “thinking” with all the weight of a zealot defending his creed.)
We could of course walk down the usual trails. We could talk about presuppositions (but you’d roll your eyes and say “not this again”), or about how denying miracles because they cannot exist sounds suspiciously like the naturalist’s version of the perfect island (it must be so because so must be). I could point out that the Bible itself agrees that such events are extraordinary – God has to open the donkey’s mouth, Sara laughs at the angels’ promise, and when Mary tells Joseph that she is pregnant by the Spirit, he does not plan to divorce her because he finds it a plausible explanation. However, we’ve gone down those paths before. We’ve gotten lost in the twisting rows of syllogism and tautology, and it isn’t nearly as romantic a garden as younger souls might imagine.
Instead, what I want to ask you is how a thinking person could believe the universe to be as dull as you insist. I was told in grade school that we live on a spinning ball of rock, trillions of tons of rock, with a green candy-coating of life. The only reason we don’t fall off is because some invisible, intangible, miraculous force holds us onto that green crust, even though we have no idea what this force really is. (Yes, yes, I know it’s “gravity,” but I could call it “shazaamination” and offer an equally clear explanation.)
Not only that, but this trillion-ton rock is catapulting though nothingness at 67,ooo miles per hour around a giant flaming orb powered by atoms bumping together (we haven’t yet gotten to how everything is made up of imperceivable bits of something connected by more invisible bonds), and this orb is also turning at ten times that rate around the center of something we call the “galaxy,” in the middle of which is a whoozit we (descriptively) term a “black hole” – which scientists have the adorable presumption to name Sagittarius A.
I would keep reciting my recollections of astronomy class, but I think that should suffice to make my point. I can tell you how David Copperfield flies. (I really can, but it would violate the Magician’s Code). I can’t begin to tell you how any of the above works. All the best attempts of man to explain this universe have come down to saying, “Well, he spreads his arms and floats around the stage,” except with bigger words.
This life, this world, this cosmos is bursting with true magic. What you call the weak atomic force I call providence – and if I’m going to be blunt, I think my label gets closer to just how incredible it all is. The only reason you don’t like a God who makes donkeys talk and dead men rise is because your rationalistic vernacular has erected walls to safeguard you from the extraordinary, to make you feel safer by telling you the magician must have had your signed card up his sleeve. Never mind that he’s wearing a t-shirt.
As for me, I’ll take your fables and raise you everything else you don’t dare to imagine. After all, I’m the one who believes fairy tales, and there’s one thing I know for sure: Middle Earth couldn’t hold a candle to this one.