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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Marriage Is NOT an Antiquated Institution

The day my life got better.
The other day someone made the comment that she didn't think that marriage was "important' anymore. The group immediately chimed in with various comments about how it was an antiquated institution and not really needed anymore. "In patriarchal societies," opined one newly minted college-grad, "marriage was a matter of survival." Apparently not any longer according to this batch of millennials. The whole thing started over a lament about the divorce of "Brangelina" - a relationship begun in unfaithfulness in the first place. In their disappointment over the end of another "true love", the ladies were prepared to say marriage was obsolete as an institution in the modern world.

I beg to differ. The survival of my own 42 year-long love affair with the one and only woman I ever married, has long depended on our refusal to don our parachutes at the altar. Standing in front of Pastor Milton Reiber in a country chapel in the piney woods of Mississippi, Sheila and I made a lifelong commitment to each other. Promises were made that brooked no backing out. The idea was never considered. We signed the pledge in writing. I still carry my now faded, wallet-sized marriage license with me wherever I go. What has not faded is the commitment that little blue document represents.


While others of my generation were pledging "till we fall out of love", my wife and I pledged, "Till death do us part." And we meant it, even though we had no idea of what a rough ride it might prove to be. Because of our stubborn determination to honor that pledge, through tragedy, trial, struggle, good times and hard times, we have both known that we could always look over and find our best friend and lover always there beside us. 

Are we the perfect couple? Hardly. Neither of us is perfect. We understood that going in. We did, however, know that we both served the same master and we both had chosen that our lives should end up at the same place. We tried our best to believe the best, do our best and trust each other's love no matter what. It's never been easy. Life isn't. Not with the devil our adversary walking about like a roaring adversary seeking whom he may devour. But for all the struggle we've endured, I would not trade the love I've shared with my precious wife for anything on this Earth - not fame, not wealth, or power.

We have traveled this life together as God has led us, she and I. God has promised to be our teacher and so we did our best to sit still in the classes. We did our best to learn, however uncomfortable the lessons being taught. Over the past four decades, we've done our best to serve our children, loved ones and our fellow human beings as best we knew how. It has not made us rich. Quite the contrary. But, it has, I believe, left the world a slightly better place for our having passed through it. That was our intent at any rate. God must be responsible for the outcome.

There are two kinds of people in the world - those who give and those who take - those who mostly wish to be entertained and to have others meet their needs and those who strive to meet the needs of others. The love that we chose, was the consciously giving kind - the sort that reveres the Golden Rule as opposed to lusting for the power of the gold that rules. We chose to give love rather than wait around to receive it. I truly believe that choosing to believe that love was something we do rather than something we strictly receive has made all the difference.

I'm a firm believer in marriage. It's God's teaching tool; something of a crucible in which the souls of a married pair are purified and strengthened, molded and melded. Marriage is not, of itself, some touchy-feely emotional state. It's doing first, putting someone else before your own self. It's living life deliberately and with principle. It's giving 100%, not 50/50. When you do that you have a relationship that always is more than what any one person can create on his or her own - it is always a relationship that is more than 100%, for when one is weak, the other is strong. And when both are strong, the two are more powerful than they can be separately and alone. If you've put the effort into it, the emotional state comes with it as a bonus and you are strong and faithful and powerful. 

God said it was not good that man should be alone. He was right. I know that for a hard fact. As poor as we are in this world's riches, as disabled as we both are in body and mind, and as tough as life sometimes gets for us, God has given us each other, two hearts beating as one, and that is enough for this life. The next one promises to be incredible and the great thing is that we get to start it as two hearts which have already become as one thanks to an intertwined life guided by the loving hand of He who set the universe to spinning.

You can't beat that with a stick.

©
2016 by Tom King

Monday, September 19, 2016

There is No God - Flaws in the Argument



I got jumped on in the comments section of some blog or other today. That happens a lot to Christian apologists, though I'm not sure that term is entirely accurate. I've never apologized for being a Christian or believing in God. If someone asks a question or proposes a flawed idea, I just jump into the conversation. I can't help myself.

My favorite math class in high school was Geometry, especially the bit about proofs and theorems. I loved using logic to prove geometric premises. I've always loved a good logical argument. It's one of the things I like about blogging and, really, the whole Internet for that matter. It used to take a week to comment on articles in newspapers or magazines to get a word in and even then they don't publish everyone's letters. With the Internet, it's a wide open free-for-all in the comment sections.

So the guys (there were two of  them) who jumped me in a YouTube comment thread were trying to explain why a Christian like me was silly and stupid and irrational. One of the guys wanted me to understand that atheism is not have a faith or a religion like Christians. They were devotees of science and rational thinking. He was religious in his fervor to explain to me how atheism was superior to religion. He invited me to abandon my faith in religion and accept science as my personal saviour.

The other guy, his handle was something like "El Science-O", simply assaulted me with logic.  "There is no evidence of god, so there is no reason to think there is one." Okay, let's go with that logic.  I have no evidence that there is an actual "El Science-O. That could be anybody pretending to be El Science-O. I have never seen El Science-O. I've never met anyone who has actually seen El Science-O. Therefore, quod erat demonstrandum, El Science-O does not exist.

The fact that one does not have the equipment, the experience or the ability to observe an intelligence which exists in extra-dimensional space, does not rule out the existence of God. In the same way, the fact that I don't have El Science-O's real name, address, phone number, email, and/or birth certificate means that, while I may choose not to believe in El Science-O, I cannot prove he does not exist.

What are they teaching in schools these days?  Certainly not logic. The best one can do if one honestly does not believe in God, is to be neutral on the subject. After all, people at one time could not prove with their eyesight that the Earth was round. They proved it mathematically, but until someone sailed around the globe and took a picture of it from space, there was no proof. In fact, all proof of the roundness of the planet comes to most of us second-hand. We believe the Earth is round because we trust our sources of information. It you want to see what the typical Internet atheist argument looks like, go visit the Flat Earth Society Website, where you will be treated to systems of "logic" which only entertain ideas and concepts that fit within the limitation of their observational and intellectual tools.


Now Internet atheists will no doubt resent my comparing them to Flat Earthers. After all, that's what Internet atheists call people who believe in God - Flat Earthers and believers in "a magical bearded man who made the Earth". The idea that Christian belief requires a suspension of logic and good sense is a logical fallacy. It requires far less faith in the unseen to be a Christian than it does in order to be an atheist. The atheist believes that his own tiny minority of human beings are right about the whole God thing and that EVERYONE else is completely wrong. Atheists must believe that 84% of all human beings are completely and utterly wrong about the one biggest thing in human history that most of us believe in.

Christians on the other hand have the luxury of believing that at least 85% of us human beings have at least some piece of the truth about God right. So of all the vast human race, Christians need only believe that 15% of us have it all wrong. I'm betting the 85% are right.  There is a God.

I shall conduct myself accordingly.

Just sayin'.

Tom King

© 2016