Some of my favourite authors are agnostics, men and women who face life honestly and courageously without faith in a personal God. They’re stoics mostly, persons who have made peace with the idea that God may not exist and that perhaps death ends every-thing for us.
I see this, for example, in the late James Hillman, a man whom I greatly admire and who has much to teach believers about what it means to listen to and honour the human soul.
But here’s something I don’t admire in these agnostic stoics: while they face with courage what it would mean for us if God didn’t exist and death ended our personal existence, they don’t with the same courage ask the question of what it would mean for us if God did exist and death did not end our personal existence.
What if God does exist and what if the tenets of our faith are true? They need to face that question too.
I believe that God exists, not because I have never had doubts, or because I was raised in the faith by persons whose lives gave deep witness to its truth, or because perennially the vast majority of people on this planet believe in God.
I believe that a personal God exists for more reasons than I can name. The goodness of saints; the hook in my own heart that has never let me go; the interface of faith with my own experience; the courage of the martyrs throughout history; the stunning depth of Jesus’s teachings; the deep insights contained in other religions; the mystical experience of countless people; our sense of connection inside the communion of saints with loved ones who have died; the convergence of the anecdotal testimony of hundreds of individuals who have been clinically dead and resuscitated back to life; the things we sometimes intuitively know beyond all logical reason; the constant recurrence of resurrection in our lives; the essential triumph of truth and goodness throughout history; the fact that hope never dies, the unyielding imperative we feel inside of ourselves to be reconciled with others before we die; the infinite depth of the human heart; and, yes, even the very ability of atheists and agnostics to intuit that somehow it still all makes sense: it all points to the existence of a living, personal God.
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