Family Practice: Keeping the faithWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A famed atheist, Christopher Hitchens, dying from esophageal cancer, recently warned that any last-minute spiritual deathbed revelations would be his illness talking, not him. Although I was previously unaware of his existence, Hitchens’ desperation to be remembered as someone who didn’t believe in something caught my attention. From my recent experience, he is not alone in his proud and brazen aversion to faith. In fact, a faith in God seems to be increasingly under fire.
Science no doubt comes up as the No. 1 defensive play against faith, yet my friends of faith are generally also friends of science. In fact, I am a huge fan of science myself and can’t figure out how or why faith and science would ever be decidedly mutually exclusive. Science demands some element of belief that there is something more than what is currently known to be true. The continuation of scientific exploration and discovery hinges on our faith that there is something bigger and better out there waiting for us to comprehend and utilize.
Agnosticism I understand. Though I don’t subscribe to it personally, not believing that the existence of God can ever be proven makes logical sense to me on some level. There was certainly a time when it only stood to reason, based on the cognitive abilities of the time, that the earth would never be proven round. At this point, our cognitive ability to scientifically prove the existence of a supreme creator, or even a belief that we ever could, is also no doubt questionable.
However, the atheist declaration that God assuredly does not exist seems as scientifically ludicrous to me as the declaration that God assuredly does exist must seem to atheists. With all that we have been wrong about in the course of human existence, it is nothing if not surprising that anyone could have the confidence left to proclaim the impossibility of anything at all. At a time when the verdict is still out on something as simple as the value of eggs in our diet or the safety of our water supply, it seems premature if not illogical to scientifically file what is perhaps life’s greatest mystery under “solved.”
After both witnessing and experiencing so very many of life’s implausible twists and turns, I’ve personally learned not to declare anything outside the realm of possibility. Anything I thought I knew for certain after my first 18 years was all but disregarded by new realities in my next 17. Just having children has proven to me that a + b = c does not necessarily apply to the nature of humanity. There is something intrinsically unique and incomprehensible about human nature that continues to shock and awe no matter how many worldly principles we attempt to wrap around it. The most difficult-to-encapsulate quality of our humanity is no doubt our spirituality. It is a dimension of our existence that many of us experience but have yet to find the words to explain to those who are not tuned into it themselves.
Without proper proof I can only proclaim that yes, atheists, there may be a deity. The existence of God is as possible as any other idea our universally young intellects can fathom. Why wouldn’t it be? Sound waves and light waves and DNA surely could have been and surely were dismissed by stubborn and incapable minds before those open and willing enough to pay attention to clues and connect dots eventually presented proof. Yet, our logic tells us they still existed prior to such proof.
In this infancy of human existence, God’s existence still only glimmers in slight and personal ways. The acceptance of it and the means to completely understand it are beyond the cerebral faculties we presently use to unravel life’s mysteries. For so many of us, however, a sixth sense pleads with us that there is more to this life than that which can currently be summed up by writings or conversations or the most complex of hypotheses. There is a connective umbrella layer that remains just outside of our ability to define it, but it comforts us and keeps us going nonetheless. Continuing to embrace it is just a matter of faith.
Shannon and her husband Michael are raising three children in Sylvania. E-mail her at email@example.com.