Beliefnet
Q: If you think God isn't directly responsible for giving people illnesses or death, what makes you think God has any direct connection with our lives at all? Aren't we pretty much on our own?

A:

It would be very easy to make a case that we are on our own in this universe. It always strikes me as odd that people talk about our "founding fathers" as Christians, because they weren't. Most of them were Deists; they believed that there was a God who created the universe, set it in motion, and then went off on vacation, or some such thing. Thomas Jefferson published his own version of the New Testament, deleting passages that disagreed with this perspective.

There is a reason that science generally has so little use for God. Science deals with things that are observable, measurable, and God is neither of these things. As many scientists will tell you, it is entirely possible to explain everything in the universe without resorting to the idea of God. Since they subscribe to the idea of Occam's Razor--all things being equal, we accept the simplest explanation for something--then the scientific view must be that there is no God.

Skeptics have said for ages, "I'll believe it when I see it." The voice of faith, though, says, "I'll see it when I believe it."

Any armchair philosopher can make an excellent case that if God exists, she has little to do with human beings. A quick view of human history suggests that God avoids interfering in what happens on planet Earth. Think of the Holocaust, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Black Plague, famines, wars, and, for heaven's sake, whatever will appear in tomorrow's newspaper. If, again, God is who we say she is--all good--then how in the world could she allow such things to happen?

Some believers contend that since the Bible says God is involved in our lives, it must be so. But I'll be honest. I don't really find that convincing. There's not a single verse in the Bible that says slavery is wrong. So if the Bible can be wrong about that, then who's to say it's not wrong about God's connection to us?

It really all comes down to faith. That's the bottom line, and the problem is that one has it, or one doesn't. Skeptics have said for ages, "I'll believe it when I see it." The voice of faith, though, says, "I'll see it when I believe it."

I guess a dramatic example would be the fact that I'm still alive. In just a couple of weeks, it will be six years since my diagnosis. According to science, I should have been dead four and a half years ago. It's difficult to convey just how unbelievable it is that I am above ground today. Whenever I go to a new doctor and am asked for my medical history, I say right up front, "I have metastatic breast cancer." The doctor immediately offers condolences and asks when I was diagnosed. When I give the date, the doctor always

asks me to clarify my answer. Perhaps I mean that I was first diagnosed in 1994, and the cancer didn't metastasize until later? Some doctors have literally refused to believe me. So now, along with my health insurance card, my living will, and other medical documents, I carry a letter from my oncologist that confirms the date of my diagnosis and the fact that I am terminal. Even that is not enough for some doctors; they simply refuse to believe me and assume that I have a psychological problem that causes me to lie.

My oncologist calls me his "miracle." I also say that my continued life is a miracle. To maintain that belief causes all sorts of other problems (quite a few people become hostile and want to know why I should still be alive when so many others, more deserving, died quickly), but I cannot view it any other way. And that's because I am a person of faith.

Everything I have just said will sound like nonsense to an unbeliever or even some Christians. There's no way to prove who is right. All I can say is that I firmly believe that we are not at all on our own, that God is connected with our lives at a very deep level. I can list a hundred examples of the kinds of events that bolster my sense of God's engagement; an unbeliever can explain away each one of them. The difference, it seems to me, is a simple but profound one: are we looking at things through the eyes of faith, or not?

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