On the Edge of Common Sense
by Baxter Black, DVM
It’s Christmas time, when we celebrate the birth of Christ. In the U.S., surveys show that more than 80% of us believe in God. That’s more people than have lawyers, drive foreign cars, believe DNA is absolute proof of a criminal act, own a home, have been divorced, or watch Oprah!
How can such a high percentage of a highly educated, well-read, technologically and scientifically knowledgeable people believe in an omnipotent being? Where inside of us is the biological process that allows faith to exist? Not just to exist but to flourish. How do you define the words soul, love, compassion, conscience, guilt or sorrow without going outside the parameters of scientific definition?
To choose to believe only what is scientifically provable is to assume, I guess, that all human behavior can be traced to the basic instincts of territoriality, reproduction of species, and survival. That a conscience is a highly refined sophisticated mechanism that somehow helps keep peace in the herd, insures that each member gets her share of the kill, and that each dog in the pack gets a place in the pecking order.
If Earth is truly just a long series of accidental chemical bondings and adaptation to the environment, and God has no hand in it, then those animal rights folks who say a rat is a dog is a baby, are right. Human existence on earth would have no significance, no more than dinosaurs, rocks, oxygen, stars, wars, or renal dialysis. As Bertrand Russell, an atheist, once said, "Unless one assumes a God, any discussion of life’s purpose is meaningless."
One of the dilemmas that deep thinkers have is the need to explain the biological, physical, neural or meteorological mechanisms that allow something to happen. Miracles are hard for them to swallow. There must be some earthly explanation that the Red Sea parted, Lazarus rose from the dead, and Jesus turned water to wine.
It is necessary for them to write off Jesus feeding the multitude. To conclude the Bible is more fiction than fact. That Christmas is just a benign commercial day off.
But for the vast majority of Americans, Christmas is the recognition of something bigger than ourselves. It also strengthens our beliefs and reminds us that Jesus was born to change the world and that He has. Our entire concept of God exists by faith. It’s not complicated. When I’m asked if I believe Christ was born of a virgin, I say, of course! If I can believe in something so all mighty, all-powerful and unbelievable as God, I can surely believe Jesus was His son.
Merry Christmas, and God bless you.
Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through this column, National Public Radio, public appearances, television and also through his books, cds, videos and website, www.baxterblack.com.