It’s Christmas day.  Merry Christmas to one and all.

And so what?

I don’t mean that mockingly, although it sounds like it.  A minister I knew used to approach things by asking “What is so?” and “So what?”.  Those are short-hand for “Decide what is true” and “Live accordingly”.

Truth is a funny thing.  There’s a story about a man who gave a talk in a small village in Ireland.  After the talk, during the question-and-answer period, a lady asked him if he was Protestant or Catholic.  “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I’m an atheist.  I don’t believe in God.”  “But is it the Protestant God you don’t believe in, or the Catholic God?”

That’s funny, but the laughter is nervous.  The question cuts right to the heart of where we live.  Why do we do what we do?  What do we believe in, and what are the consequences of that belief?  We could believe that the moon is made of green cheese, and there would be no significant impacts on our daily life.  But if we believe in a God who rewards good actions, and uses a balance sheet at the end of our lives to determine whether or not we make it into heaven, we will act a certain way.  We may do good things (charity, kindness to strangers, good civic works) while thinking evil, murderous thoughts about the recipients.  After all, if God judges actions and not thoughts, it doesn’t matter what you think.

On the other hand, if you believe on the saving power of Jesus’ grace instead of on your own works, then the exact same acts of kindness and charity would flow from an internal love, originating with God and flowing out through your hands and mouth.  Proverbs 23:7 says “As he thinks within himself, so he is.”  Me, I’m a Door B kind of guy.  There is a God, and I’m not him.  God is perfect, I’m not perfect, and it’s only through God’s grace that I will make it into heaven when I die.

What about Door C, though?  What of people who do not believe in God, or choose to ignore Him?  I’m glad you asked.  Psalm 53:1 says “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.”.  You don’t have to believe the Bible, though, and may not.  There are plenty of atheists out there, and some of them are nice people.  But what are they basing that on?  Societal norms?  What about when society says it’s kill or be killed?  The Christian would turn the other cheek and be killed.  The atheist would be the one pulling the trigger.  Without some external reference point, some eternal truth, you’re just making it up as you go.

Our country has laws against all sorts of things.  Murder, speeding, walking on the grass.  Why, though?  If we’re going to remove God from our lives, as some seem to be trying to do, what determines how we live?  Laws can be overturned or made up as you go.  (Yes, TSA, I’m talking about you.).  I was talking to a friend last night and mentioned that we live in a post-Christian world.  His comment is that we have been living there for five hundred years.  We are denying Christ instead of denying ourselves.  One of the best examples of that is the famous atheist, Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

This voice of atheism called religion a crutch.  When her son became an ordained minister, she said

One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I guess; I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times . . . he is beyond human forgiveness.

He may or may not have been beyond human forgiveness, but he was not beyond God’s forgiveness.  The lady herself, though, is beyond God’s forgiveness.  It was available to her throughout her whole life.  When she was murdered, though, she had made her final decision.  The guy who killed her believed what she said, that there is no God, and carried out his actions according to her philosophy (through probably not her wishes).  In an interesting twist, the murderer stole a half-million dollars from the O’Hairs, and then had most of that stolen from him.  I find that wryly amusing, but not surprising.

The main philosophy opposing Christianity is Darwinism.  Darwinism is made up of two parts – survival of the fittest (AKA “king of the hill”), and the idea that we humans were not created but arose from raw elements.  These elements somehow combined to make one-celled life, then multi-celled life, then arms and legs and lungs and eyeballs and a brain and genders, and voila, here we are.  I don’t buy that.  There is no mechanism for advancing, for promoting, for increasing the complexity of things.  There is no way to go from a one-celled living thing (regardless of how that originated itself) to something with differentiated cells, like liver and bones and skin.  Think of your car or the place you live.  Do they get better over time, or worse?  Does your house gradually turn into the Taj Mahal?  Does your car gradually get better and self-replicate, so you can give away new cars to people every few years?

No!  Things decay, they degrade, they fall apart.  Whether it’s a sandcastle or a relationship, things that you want to last take work, effort, energy.  They don’t automatically self-improve.  A pot-hole on the road can be repaired, and sometimes they add in a little bit more patch, so there’s a slight bump.  Over time, the bump gets packed down and the road is smoother than it was immediately after the repair.  Evolution?  No, that’s design, and conscious effort by the work crew.

Man, oh, man, have I ended up in left field, by way of amoebas and atheists.

What all this comes down to is this: God exists, and what are you going to do about Him?  It really is up to you.  You can reject Him, ignore Him, put Him into a little box of your own design, or accept Him as the creator of the universe and the lover of your soul.

All those years ago, Jesus was born of a virgin, a babe laid in a manger.  He would grow up to teach us and to die for us.  He did His part, and now it’s your turn.

What child is this?