This year, my Christmas greeting is not simple, not as simple as I would have it to be. I’d just like to say “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” Watch the grandkids open their gifts and then drink a big glass of eggnog. Instead, I feel an overwhelming compunction to address a group of people who view this time of year with great anxiety and disdain and consider it an unwanted distraction, pushed upon them by the rest of society.
Atheists … People who do not believe in God. As church attendance has fallen, the ranks of unbelievers has swelled. In the last three or four years, I have met more atheists (either closet or publicly declared) than ever before. There are several reasons for this, beyond the Church’s wholesale loss of trust, the advent of man-made transcendental go-hug-a-tree religions and the rapid spread of Transhumanism. (That’s a big word for the growing belief that the future human condition will see such improvements in physical ability, lifespan, mental acuity and health, that men will become gods.)
The bottom line is that people have logically and coherently embraced a lifestyle in which they have no use for God … especially of a God that allowed their child to burn up in a house fire, or mother die from cancer, or brother come home from Afghanistan with no legs. The so-called religious people have no answer for that. (There are answers in the Dead Sea Scrolls. But if you ask a hundred pastors, 90 have not bothered to read them.) They talk out of both sides of their mouths about love and virtue. In fact, I heard a well-known televangelist say Trump was sent by God and was doing God’s work.
I thought to myself, “how damaging to the cause of religion and spirituality.” If I could get a show back in 1940 in Germany, I could make a lot of money saying Hitler was sent by God to do God’s work. Even the atheists know the difference between love, peace, and compassion … and deception, antagonism and divisiveness. Yet, the televangelist had a large following, waiting for him to tell them what to believe.
Many years ago, I visited a church in the small community of Sunnyside. At one point in the service, everyone stood up, the door flew open, and a small entourage of ministers marched in. You might call it a short holy train; one minister with a lighted candle leading the way, followed by another minister with a big Bible on a gold-plated tray, followed by the senior pastor who was going to preach that day, followed by another minister who ended up singing a solo and getting the congregation pumped up.
This was their rendition of bringing in the holy “Word”. This was supposedly such a serious and sanctimonious moment, that one woman held up her hands and almost passed out.
There was a doctrinal problem with the entire charade. You didn’t have to be a Bible scholar fresh out of seminary to know that the “Word” is in you, that is, if you are a believer. And if they were bringing in the “written” Word, then my question was: what’s wrong with my Bible? Half the congregation had Bibles. Was the Bible they brought in on the gold-plated tray better than our Bibles? Had it been delivered by an Angel?
There are people throughout Europe called Flagellants who cut themselves with sharp knives to please God. Back in ancient times, during the reign of the Babylonian religions, priests used to throw young children into the fire to please their god. The parents have to watch. If they tried to intervene, they would be killed.
Since were talking about Christmas, then we need to take this a final step. Not all Christians are naïve. Most historians and scholars and hard-core researchers unanimously agree that Jesus Christ was probably not born on December 25. Studying certain factors, including the change in the Jewish calendar, it is widely believed that Jesus was born sometime in the Spring. December 25 was originally tied to the worship of a pagan god that the Catholic Church decided to honor the traditional date. So when you hear some Christians say this is the day Savior was born, they are technically misinformed.
What is my point?
If you are an atheist, you have many reasons to get distracted. Instead of helping the poor and trying to do good, many (not all) big churches and big preachers are raising big money to build bigger sanctuary to take in bigger collections. People who claim to be Christians are living any kind of way. Some “Practices” adapted by the so-called holy people are not even in the Bible. In other words, it’s much easier to believe there is no God in the first place. The Bernie Madoff’s of the world are the ones that make it to the top.
So on this Christmas day, if you are an atheist feeling frustrated and put upon by Santa Claus and jingle bells and the three-month stretched out trickery by merchants to make you spend money you don’t have, I have an unthinkable suggestion. I want you to forget about Christmas altogether.
Instead, I want you to think about the simple formula t=0.
We’ll have to incorporate a bit of quantum mechanics and particle physics, but don’t worry. I’ll walk you through the whole thing and it won’t take long.
Most everyone is familiar with the Big Bang theory. Scientists have highly advanced supercomputers and complex formulas and models that have calculated the movement of the universe, which continues to expand since the Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago. The formula for the Big Bang is t=1. The t stands for time. The 1 stands for the second after the Big Bang event occurred.
What I’m asking you to do this day is look at t=0. This represents all the time or eternities that existed before the Big Bang. With all of the fancy computers and formulas and Einstein wannabes, no one can see back that far. They have no idea what happened to get the neutrons and electrons and protons and dark matter and gases and microwaves up to the starting block. Some people say it happened randomly. Others say there had to be a Creator.
God said He did it and left the Bible as proof. But most atheists don’t believe in the Bible … too many writers, too many translations, too many inconsistencies. And so it comes down to a 50/50 guess. Either there is a God and He created heaven and earth, or there is no God and everything happened randomly.
Even in Las Vegas, a 50/50 bet is huge. But what if you’re betting on eternity? This is the bet you have to make. Either we die and the maggots eat our flesh and that’s the end of that. Or the dusty old book called the Bible is telling the truth and there is an eternity waiting for us, not based on our good works, but rather, our decision to believe or not believe.
Let me put it this way: would it be better to go into the ground as a fool believing in a dusty old Book, or as a genius who got the bet WRONG?
Forget about Christmas and ho-ho-ho; forget about man’s abuse of religion and so-called sacred things; forget about the hypocrisy of the church and the evil that took your child or your brother’s legs. Think of the horrible, unfathomable consequences of being wrong about a 50/50 bet.
One day, a great trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ will rise to meet their Creator, the one that was there when t=0. I would not want to be a genius on that day, a proud connoisseur of probability and logic. The cost is just too high. On this Christmas day, I beg you to cut through the clutter, shed the false armor of reason and declare yourself a fool for Jesus Christ. Let the maggots know that they do not have the victory. You have made your foolish decision. And, one day, you shall rise again.
– Leander Jackie Grogan –