A co-worker of mine died suddenly last night of a heart attack. He left two young sons and a wife. I’m sure the family is devastated.
Those of us who live in the world of ideas spend our time thinking about how to determine truth, which arguments are logically solid, wrestling with technicalities or abstract concepts. We often deal with people with whom we disagree strongly, trying to find weak spots in the argument of our opponents. We sometimes lose sight of the fact that underneath all of this are the consequences of ideas. For ideas do have consequences, and impact people’s lives.
This week Stephen Hawking said that heaven is a fairy story for weak people. He shares a worldview held by many. Most of the people who hold this view are not swayed by the evidence that Christian apologists give to prove them wrong.
Hawking, and all the others who hold this atheist position, will have to look a widow and her two young sons in the eye and tell them that life is meaningless and they are weak for thinking otherwise. The atheist will have to say that the pile of components that used to be Dad has stopped working, and that’s all, end of story. I say to the atheist as respectfully as I can, your statements ring very hollow in circumstances like this. You have no message that can benefit this widow an these orphans. The atheist can only look downward.
But we Christians can offer hope. My friend was a Christian, and the good news is that he still is. The Christian message is a message of hope, a promise from a heavenly savior that there is a place prepared for those who know Jesus. (John 14). The Christian service work that my friend did will have an eternal benefit, for it impacts people who have everlasting life.
The people who live in the world of ideas will sit tonight in their comfortable chairs and argue about whether God exists and whether religionists are stupid idiots. Meanwhile a new widow and her children will mourn their loss, most likely crying until they have no more tears. But since my friend was a Christian, deep down the family has hope, they have a reason to live, something great that will happen in the future…….the great day when they will be reunited in heaven. They have something in which to look forward.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)
Jeff P., on earth 10/30/57 – 05/18/11.