No, Virginia, Christmas is Not a Fairy Tale…
by Graham Veale
DEAR SAINT NICHOLAS:
Sorry I haven’t wrote you in a while; I’ve been much busy studying at college. Some of my little friends there say that the stories the pastor tells me about Christmas are fairy tales; and they say that I’m much too old to believe in fairy tales.
Please tell me the truth; can I believe in Christmas?
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. Perhaps they have been affected by the scepticism of American Atheists? I hope not. They do not seem to believe anything unless they have scientific evidence. But when you ask them to justify that belief with scientific evidence, they argue round in circles. They believe that Christianity is very wicked, and that churches make people do terrible things. But when you ask them to provide scientific evidence for things like “right” and “wrong”, their heads hurt a little, so they change the subject.
Is there a God? You may not glance out the window and see him; but you can see his work. You see everything that he has designed, and everything that he guides, sustains and watches over. You might have noticed that sense and sight do not directly reveal what matters to you most: the particles and forces which sustain you and your world are only known by their effects. Brains may produce thoughts and dreams and wishes, but these are all immaterial things which cannot be located and measured. You know that others have them because they speak and act.
Physicists are captivated by all the wonders of the world, especially those which are unseen and unseeable. Yes, they can tear back the veil which covers this unseen world with their instruments, so that it can be described in the language of mathematics. But why can this unseeable world, which makes yours possible, be described by scientific laws? Why do particles and forces exist? Why do you, and the stars and the sea and sky, exist to be studied? American Atheists cannot ultimately explain this ‘happy accident’. But if God exists, the astonishing order in the universe becomes explicable. A seemingly infinite list of facts is explained by the action of one all-powerful mind.
So, yes, Virgina, God exists. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist. Haven’t you noticed all those things that you “must” do? Have you observed that there are many acts which you “ought not” to do? Now, there are many sensible goals that you might pursue with your life. You might wish to be a great business-woman, or an artist, or a politician, or a soldier. Yet, no matter how reasonable your ambitions, they must all take second place to what is right. Not all goals are created equal: moral values trump all others. Why is this so?
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