Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Skeptic's Prayer

I was inspired to read the story of Rhonda Chervin by another story at National Review entitled When Women Pray. the book, When Women Pray is a compilation of many women's stories of the power of prayer in their lives. Rhonda Chervin's story is one of them, and she describes a stage along the journey to conversion where she prayed the skeptics prayer "God, if there is a God, save my soul, if I have a soul."  It is a surprisingly powerful prayer, for once someone can admit to the possibility that there might be a God, and that we as people might have souls, that is enough to set in motion the great healing power of God's saving Grace through Jesus Christ.

I have been a skeptic myself, having been indoctrinated in the sciences as part of my engineering training.  Of course, back then I was too busy learning this stuff to ask too many hard questions.  But, in the last 20 years or so, I have begun asking the really BIG questions.  Science can tell us how we came to be here, but not why.  Science can not tell us the meaning of life.  Mathematics tells us that the probability of life forming on any planet spontaneously is so astronomically small as to make it virtually impossible.  Like the infinite monkeys typing on an infinite number of typewriter, the fact that they will eventually type the sonnets of Shakespeare does not mean that one should expect if within 5 billion years, or for that matter, within 15 billion.  Thus, belief in a Divine origin is not illogical.  Science can trace the beginning of our universe back to within nanoseconds of the big bang, but can not say what or who initiated the big bang, or why.

I came to the conclusion that there was indeed a God, that the Bible was not myth but in fact very real, and I began attending church in my childhood faith.  But, I didn't have faith.  What I had was belief built out of reasoned conclusions.  I didn't pray, because after all, even if there was a God, did he really listen to prayers?  My mother became a member of the St. Luke Society, and met weekly to pray for hundreds of people she didn't know.  I could not believe that these prayers did a thing for anyone except perhaps for the person doing the praying.

However, having come to the conclusion that there is indeed a God, the creator of all there is, and having come to believe the Bible, I could reason that things like abortion would be wrong in this God's eyes.  It would be murder, and murder most foul at that.  Indeed, reason took me far, but not far enough.  From whence had come the absolute faith that that led Saint Paul, for instance, to keep shouting to the world that fact of Jesus saving Grace, and accept execution with such equanimity.  This was true power, and I did not have it.

Without boring you, gentle reader, with my story, for mine is a boringly ubiquitous one, let me say that my alcoholism had become a matter of discussion in our household.  At my lowest point, and I could have gone lower, believe me, God reached out to me, brought me into Alcoholics Anonymous, and they in turn led me to a faith in God.  The journey of a foot, from the head to the heart, is the hardest and longest we make in life.

Along the way, I have learned that the only way I can do God's will is if I stay sober.  The only way I stay sober is if I maintain my spiritual condition.  The only way I maintain my spiritual condition is if I pray daily, seek out his will in all things.   The recovering alcoholic's life is, of necessity, a spiritual life.  Religions are ultimately the outer manifestation of our inner spiritual beings.  I have also learned that we are spiritual beings living in a physical world, not the other way around.

Go read Dr, Rhonda Chervin's story.  I am sure you will find it, as I did, inspiring. I hope if you are having difficulty with God, you sincerely get on your knees and pray the skeptics prayer.

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