One Damn Thing Or One Divine Thing After Another?

Is life one damn thing after another or one divine thing after another? This week's hand-out from our local church brought this question into focus. It contained edited extracts from 'Why I left: Why I stayed' by celebrity evangelist Tony Campolo and his atheist but humanitarian son Bart. Tony notes the scientists who believe there is something within organisms that drives them to evolve further, and assumes this driving force is God. Bart assumes there is nothing beyond this world, but that the best use of our lives is to fill it with love.

I can't prove that either Tony or Bart is right. However, my experience this week provides evidence of what Jung called synchronicity - co-incidences that in the law of probability are more than co-incidences. The leader of the latest new monastic movement asked me to do a podcast on soul friends on Holy Island. Before she left the island she 'by chance' bumped into a singer and artist from a USA evangelical prophetic network who 'by chance' had booked accommodation near my house in Berwick. She suggested she record an interview with me next day we met. A publisher has asked me to write a book for 2020 on a particular theme. 'By chance' this was the theme she wanted the interview to be about. It sparked creative inspirations for each chapter of this book.

My new friend is fascinated by the symbolic glimpses into heaven that we get in The Book of Revelation. I told how in the Celtic tradition seers, sages and mindful people discern heaven in everyday things. People like Bart may dismiss these as escapism - a compensation for this short, sharp and finite life. Or as Karl Marx's 'pie in the sky when we die'. I cannot prove which is right, but there are three reasons why I believe that death is not the end of everything.

The first is that the synchronicity such as I have experienced this week is more than mere co-incidence. The second is that these 'divine glimpses' serve no evolutionary purpose - they cannot be explained by a purely mechanistic theory of evolution. The third reason is that the evidence that Jesus rose from the dead is stronger than evidence that he did not. The full military might of the Roman Empire never found a body even though it served its interests to do so. After Jesus had been certified as dead sceptics felt scars in his body in a locked room, and friends shared a breakfast with him which he cooked.

If I was a betting man, I would bet my life on Jesus. But thank God for humanists like Bart who shame those who kill in the name of God.

Posted at 11:41am on 2nd November 2017
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