Do people really want God? I mean do we, today, in our enormously rich country surrounded by standard amenities like hundreds of television channels, this Internet, shopping, food, cars, celebrities really want God? I’m not talking about god – about gods of wealth or gods of power or gods of celebrity or even gods of entertainment. I’m talking about God. The Alpha and the Omega. G-D. Do people really want him?
I ask because I wonder whether our current spiritual debate isn’t a bit off kilter. We’ve got atheists seeking to prove that God doesn’t exist. We’ve got Christians defending saying He does. And we’ve got around it all a grand argument of purported facts. Some claim as fact the Gospels weren’t written by Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Others claim as fact that they were. Some claim as fact Jesus rose from the dead. Others as fact that he did not.
Does it matter?
Play with the idea for a second.
A news story dribbles across the wires. Let’s say it is another shroud. It has been kept a secret for years. And during those years, of its keeping, test after test has been run. Let’s say the tests weren’t run by a church or the Vatican but at Oxford, someplace that isn’t religious. Choose your place. And let’s say that the tests reveal beyond a doubt that the shroud dates to the first century A.D. The image is somehow more pronounced and believable than Turin’s shroud. To make it more interesting say that the shroud was discovered in a cave near Jerusalem full of other early Christian artifacts – name them, pick them, whatever you think would make it seem most real. And let’s say at the same time a more amazing discovery is made. A full set of the Gospels is discovered and they date to within a few years of Jesus’ death. I could go on but imagine, just imagine that such stories emerge and they really constitute almost irrefutable truth of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Would such a story(ies) make a difference in most of our lives? Or would we simply classify it as, oh, interesting and novel and “wow”… kind of like George Clooney marrying Julia Roberts while both gave their money away to the poor? Yes, there would be an amazing clamor. It would be THE news of history. But would it make a real difference?
Would people start leading fundamentally different lives? Would the world, would our country, would we be radically transformed?