Something that has come to my mind a lot recently, whether it's been through conversations I've had, articles I've read, or watching Richard Dawkins on The Colbert Report. People seem very interested in the idea that God may (or may not) actually exist! Scientists (like Dawkins, a biologist) and mathematicians, like John Allen Paulos (pictured right...and looking AWESOME) seem caught up in an almost-Christian evangelical fervor: the message they have come to preach is that there is no God, and they preach their gospel on the same street corners and from the same soap boxes from which we preach our Gospel.
In fairness to Paulos, I should separate his work from that of Dawkins and the like-minded Christopher Hitchens, who seem to be angered by the fact that so many people claim to believe in God. To their mind, "God" is a mass delusion perpetrated on humanity by those who would wish to subdue it. Paulos, on the other hand, has written a very light-hearted book that I actually recommend. It's called Irreligion, and refutes (to the extent that one can refute such things) the common logical arguments for the existence of God. Maybe the most common argument for the existence of God is the so-called "Argument from Complexity." It goes like this: Look at the world, how complex and beautiful it is! This cannot have been the product of random chance. Therefore, there must be a Creator who is ultimately complex, and that Creator is God." Paulos simply asks, "If the creator is so complex, must not he have had a creator? If there is a cause, that cause must have a cause."
I only bring up Paulos' book and his arguments because I have found such arguments fascinating. I have never felt that my faith was challenged by arguments against the existence of God, something I never felt I could (or had to) prove. I'm reminded of the story of Jesus' interaction with the woman at the well in John 4. After a profound interaction with Jesus, the woman goes back to her town and tells the people there, "Come see a man who told me everything I ever did." This woman felt herself so profoundly described by Jesus that she was willing to stake her life on the things that he said. I feel the same way.
Jesus (and the Biblical writers) so accurately describe and diagnose my life, down to the fact that I so often do the very thing I wish I wouldn't do, and vice versa, that I naturally put credence to their other words, including their descriptions and assertions of the existence of God. In the end, though, I'm not too naive to admit that I need God to exist. The need I feel to strive (the Army's "Be all you can be") must come from somewhere! Of course, this is not a rhetorically strong argument. It is undeniable, though, that despite the need to be all I can be, I feel that I am not. I need the God described by Jesus and the Bible, who sent an envoy to me, to be all I could have been, in my place.
Ted Turner famously called Christianity "a crutch." I think it's funny...Christianity never claimed to be anything else. That's the thing that Dawkins, Hitchens, and Paulos don't understand. They're convinced that humanity just needs to be told to throw the crutch away. "You can walk," they say. "Stop letting this 'God' nonsense hold you back!" Their vision of humankind is one of strength, self-sufficiency, and power. They don't have an answer for people's weaknesses, insufficiencies, and fear. These are the people Christianity speaks to. If Ted Turner claims that Christianity is a crutch, Christ affirmed it! It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Christianity is not for the strong and wise, but for the weak and foolish, like you and me. After all, we all have our crutches...right Ted?