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April 8, 2018, 12:00 AM

Faith in God is NOT Irrational

So, Jesus showed himself to the disciples without Thomas being present and then as Thomas wanted to put his hands on the evidence himself, Jesus showed himself again when Thomas we present. And I think that we have more in common today, many of us, than we think and maybe our whole culture shares in this. We are so used to solving mysteries and we are so used to seeing the proof that this happened that sometimes there is very little room in our heads for the mystery and the unexplained. And yet what we accept as proof in my head points to why we should be able to accept faith in God without out proof as we think of it.

Consider the following, many of us here today believe that baking soda and vinegar with a little red food coloring and if you really want to get fancy some dish detergent, which by the way makes longer lasting bubbles, will fuel the child's volcano. We believe this because we have either done it with our own children or we have heard the tale of a neighbor who did it with their child. In other words we had physical proof or at least reliable testimony of the physical proof that when you mix vinegar and baking soda it bubbles up and if you use enough of it bubbles over the edge of the container in which it is held. This is the kind of evidence we think we want for so many things and yet....

Let us think about the almighty atom for a second. I have a degree in physics and I have used an electron microscope to peer into things much smaller that I can see with the naked eye. I trust that the out put on the electron microscope works because I know how a regular microscope works and have done it myself. I believe that atoms are made the way we argue for them in our science text books. I know how the electron microscope was designed to work and I trust the computer. Why do I trust the computer, because I have built and programmed simple computers myself and then trust the scalability of the project. In other words I trust the electron microscope because I trust its constituent parts and I trust the parts because I have seen the evidence of them with my own two eyes and played with them with my own to hands.

It is interesting because from this I come to trust atom smashers. Actually, I have gone to see the Relatavistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven Labs on long island. On that tour I saw the long track that they use to accelerate the protons up to the speed at which they can be then steered into each other and smashed. I also saw the device they use to strip the atoms down to the proton, utilizing Gold foil. We then went and saw where the array of instruments is to detect the collision and the computer room where they record all of the data so that they can then analyze it. And here is the interesting thing, I trust all of this because I trust the electron microscope.

Now let us go one step further down the rabbit hole. In Cern, Switzerland they operate the largest atom smasher in the world, although they are currently planning the next bigger one. In this operation they are able to control better the material they are using and they have more sensitive sensors and they can get higher speeds before smashing parts of an atom together and from this they proved the existence of the Higg Boson particle, which is smaller than the electrons, protons and neutrons and is one of the smallest parts of the Atom and I believe them. I believe them because I believe in the atom smasher I saw, which I believe in because if the electron microscope that I used, which I believe in because of the regular microscope I use. And yet proving the existences of the Higgs Boson particle is an exercise in faith, much as my belief in Jesus is an exercise in faith.

We in proving the Higgs Boson particle are about the work of explaining the mysteries of the world and yet we are so far beyond the microscope I used in High School and College to peer at microbes in water moving around a slide that we must also understand that my belief in the Higgs Boson Particle is no more crazy (and no less crazy) than a belief in God. Consider the following, I can no see a Higgs Boson particle and can no more put my hand on it in a way that allows me to separate it from anything else than I can put my hand on God and separate God from anything else. In fact they proved the Higgs Boson particle by looking at the evidence of the crash of the smashed atoms and from that and knowing what should be true if the Higgs Boson particle actually existed and because of the repeat-ability of the experiment have made the statement that I believe to be true that the Higgs Boson particle does exist. So, the proof is no longer in seeing the item itself but in fact is in seeing evidence that points to the reality that it exists. In other words it is in that sense, to my way of thinking, an exercise in faith, admittedly evidence based faith but faith none the less.

And here is the interesting thing about my faith in God. It is no more or less. I went from the faith my mother had given me through no faith and into a faith of my own between the ages of 18 and 22. In this process I rejected the claim that their was a God simply because I had been told it was true and moved to a faith that was based on something far more tangible. I reflected on my life, where I had been, what had happened, the nature and character of my existence and from that drew the conclusion that my world only made sense if there was and entity much greater than myself or any individual being on the planet and I chose to label that as God. Interestingly, my proof for God was more tangible than my proof for the Higgs Boson particle. My belief in God is more like my belief that the electron microscope works. I consider the pieces that I could put my hands on, things like does it make sense that a self conscience being would exist without some directing and guiding force in the universe. There were points in my life when it would seem that left to my own devices and without an outside force to impinge upon my conscience I would have made very different choices. At some points I chose to ignore that small still voice in my head that I believe is the Holy Spirit at work and almost always the consequences were at a minimum sub par.

One of the clearest examples of that would be the day that I wrecked my first Jetta. Something told me to use the other parking lot exit and I chose to ignore it and a person traveling up the turn lane hit the front of the car. Something connected to something much bigger than myself was trying to provide some direction to me and I chose to ignore it and it did not work out very well. Now if it were just this incident one might blame it on soemthing more random but it is just one of many clear to me examples of times in life when God through the Holy Spirit was at work in my world and yes it is like the Higgs Boson particle in that if this is true then this should be the evidence and the experiment out to be repeatable. Notice that I said there were other times this was true. Interestingly, people will not accept as evidence for the most part the times when I say that I heard the Holy Spirit and followed it and yet for me that is a huge part of the evidence, but thankfully not the only evidence.

So we return to our Gospel text, Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ and I say to you therefore. Blessed are you because you have come to believe but have not seen. That said your faith is no crazier and may be no less evidence based that modern physics and so should not have to be unbelievable to those around you.

John writes, Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. I share my testimony so that you might learn how to share that belief with those around you.

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