Every now and again, like a bolt out of the blue and for no apparent reason, I’ll be stricken by the thought:
When you die, you’ll just be dead.
It’s a bit of a disconcerting slice of doubt but there it is. Now I’m sure that I’m not alone in experiencing this sort of firestorm of doubt. I’m fairly sure, in fact, that most Christian folk think that thought. The problem isn’t the thought (or as Luther so colorfully put it- ‘thought’s are like birds; you can’t keep them from flying over your head, but you can certainly stop them from building a nest in your hair’) – the problem is what to do with it.
There are those, we all will admit, that give in to despair and who abandon faith and falter at the smallest drop of difficult thought. Others manage to shove the thought aside, sublimating it and never really facing it.
I’m not a member of either of those tribes. My response to that little blotch of unpleasantness is to face it square in the eye and remind it that frail human reason (my own included) can’t claim to have a corner on all truth; that there are truths and realities greater than ourselves and the fact that we can’t fully grasp them doesn’t change the fact that they are and that they are true realities.
I suppose my biggest problem with the angry atheists and their ilk is that they actually believe that their paltry, puny, faltering, miserable, lowly, miniscule, tiny, unwhole, incomplete, slatheringly low-browed intellects are the final arbiter of truth and reality. What hubris. What foolishness! Indeed, in their pretended ‘knowledge’ they become the greatest of all fools. In fact, their self-exaltation is nothing less than the exaltation of a worm to the throne of the Universe as its ruler and potentate.
For myself, the elevation of the amoeba to the Lordship of the Universe is too great an absurdity. I prefer the truth of the father in the Gospel who, when confronted with the power of Jesus declares
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
That, and that alone, is the only cure for the firestorm of doubt when it rages.