2006-09-08 - What If I'm Wrong
John 20:16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). (NASB)
I was recently speaking with a coworker about my Christianity. She comes from a world view that says nothing that can not be seen, touched or described in a physical sense exists. She was surprised at me, because of my computer science background, that I was someone who believed in something outside the physical world - anything outside the physical world. She was not particularly disparaging Christianity.
The most difficult questions are the ones everyone asks: How do you know? What if you're wrong and there is nothing? The counter question is, "What if I'm right?"
But, for the sake of discussion, what if I am wrong and there is nothing after this life? Paul says it best in his letter to the Christians at Corinth:
1 Cor 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (NASB)
I guess the logic here is that we miss out on all the fun of what we say is sin. And there may be some truth to that logic, if our hope in Christ is misplaced. But I counter saying that not all is lost. If nothing else, we would have led more selfless lives, with an ordered moral code that values human life and society, and is realistic about the best and the worst in humanity.
Of course, my faith runs a little deeper than that. As I was trying to explain what happened at the time of my conversion, I said that I did not "meet God". That is to say that a white-robed, bearded gentleman did not walk up to me and bless me. I did meet God that day. As weird as that may sound to believer and non-believer alike, it is what happened. Jesus Christ came into my life that day and gave me hope where there was nothing but turmoil, frustration and pain. That hope, not like, "oh I hope this will happen", but "I hope this will happen soon!" It is a sure hope, waiting for the inevitable day of Jesus' return. It is a real as the idea that 2+2=4. I can count the four stones in my hand grouped in two sets of two, or explain the mathematical theory of addition. It is a hope so strong that I can almost touch it. It is also a very difficult thing for someone to express to another human being without a similar frame of reference.
For someone who has never experienced that hope, it is easy to say, "you had a tough time in your life and you made this up in your mind to make yourself feel better." This is the same logic that refuses to see beyond what is known. If we adopt this logic, then Christopher Columbus never sails west far enough to find the Americas because he knows that he will fall off the edge of the world or be destroyed by sea monsters. He had the courage to believe against the common knowledge of the day, and understand the truth that the earth is actually round. It is easy to scoff. I will tell you that I am far from perfect. I am definitely a work in progress - no question. But before one tosses the baby out with the bath water, witness the change in people's lives.
Have there been misguided, mislabeled instances where Christ gets the blame for something? The crusades come to mind. Because a bunch of mercenaries and uneducated people take up weapons and "kill the infidels" in the name of Christ, does not mean that Christ sent them or sanctioned their actions. This is warped logic at best. Even in the instances where the behavior of the soldier is exemplary and believe they are fighting for their Lord, the victim is still dead and can no longer change his or her eternal destiny. It means they were at best misguided or misled souls that killed and died for a cause that was purely a contrivance of men. Jerusalem is a special place, and there are things there that draw people of faith to them. This place will be the location of one of the final chapters in human history according to the Revelation. The places and things found there help us to verify the history of the scriptures. Does Christianity go on without them? If Jesus Christ is truly the center it does.
In the mathematical balance of things, is it possible I am living under a set of rules that needlessly restricts me? In the purely physical world, yes. But I believe there is much much more. The boundaries of the physical world are pushed further back all the time. Is it better to trade what you can not keep for what you can never lose? Since I must lose this life eventually, and Christ has offered His free gift of His eternal life in exchange, the choice is obvious to me. I will eventually die in either case. What if there is more? What do I need to do to prepare for what happens after this life?
Mark 8:36-37 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 "For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (NASB)
What if I'm right?