In Brian Zahnd’s book “Beauty Will Save the World” Zahnd suggests that Christianity has lost much of its shine and beauty in its endless pursuit of:
Apologetics: Defending Christianity and attempting to “prove” God
Ethics: Christians have appointed themselves the behavior police of not only the church, but the world.
The tragedy is that the focus on these two “missions” camouflage the inherent beauty (Jesus) of Christianity. A “Beauty that will Save the World”.
And isn’t that the problem Christianity is facing now? We spend an inordinate amount of time on “ministries” that have little to nothing to do with the instructions our Lord gave us. He told us to:
* Love God
* Love those around us beginning with our enemies.
Then Jesus tells us to go everywhere and share with everyone the good news (gospel) that they are FREE! That they are invited into a new way of ordering society based on love, mercy, justice, and forgiveness.
Somehow though that message has got a little muddled as we somehow feel it’s our duty to defend God (who needs neither defending or to be proved) or to enforce our perceived norms on people around us (and convincing ourselves its just our “loving” them)
So I was watching a “Christian” TV show that came on in Hong Kong a couple days ago. It was an American pentecostal minister and the title of the sermon was something like “7 Proofs that God Exists”. I am always intrigued when these shows come on the “free to air” Hong Kong channels. The cultural layers separating Hong Kong “urban Internationals” and American southern Pentecostals would have to make for an interesting sociology study. In fact some Hong Kongers probably don’t “get it” and just figure it’s just one of those crazy American reality comedy shows.
Well, I was rushing to get out the door but had my curiosity aroused enough to stick around to see what he was going to say to “prove” God. I was able to catch the first 3:
1) Creation Demands a Creator
2) Life Demands a Life giver
3) Laws Demand a Lawgiver
Really? These are “proofs”. To a 21st century audience you are going to claim these propositions prove the existence of God?
Now I’m not suggesting these are not great things to contemplate as a Christian. As a believer and as I mediate on God and study the Bible these statements are certainly worthy of further reflection to underpin my faith.
But I would certainly not use them on someone who didn’t believe in God as a tool to get them to now suddenly believe in God.
Point of fact, I don’t see a lot of Bible space given to “proving God” (A little Romans Chapter 1 comes to mind). It just doesn’t seem like “proving God’s existence” was something we were supposed to give a lot of energy too.
But there are a number of things Christ says we should be giving some energy to. Things that just may help “prove” God!
But Ok, So if its proof we need I got Seven “proofs” to get us started:
* Be kind to someone who doesn’t like you
* Speak nice about someone who talks behind your back
* Spend time listening to someone share their heart when they have no positive networking potential for you whatsoever.
* Doing an extra task at work for another even if its “unfair”.
* Find a neighbor who is out of work and show up with a few bags of groceries and something for the kids.
* Let someone who is in a hurry go before you
* Be a genuine friend to someone who doesn’t share your religious, political, or cultural beliefs.
So there is my seven “proofs” of God’s existence. Believe me, if more people lived this way A LOT more people would believe in God.