The power and the glory

Seeing as how it is Sunday - well, it is for me, anyway - and given that I am in a thoroughly pagan land, I figured it might be useful to take a look at how God's grace can transform even the worst of men.

If you do not know who David Wood is, I highly recommend checking out his YouTube channel, which contains some of the best take-downs of Islam, and apologetics of Christianity, that you will find available today.

David Wood is a devout Christian, an exceptionally skilled debater and apologist, a loving husband, a father to five (!!!) sons - two of whom apparently have profound disabilities - and a very well-reasoned, measured, and powerful voice against the abominable heresy of the Word that we know of as Islam.

In many ways, David Wood - he could be Doctor David Wood at this point, I have no idea whether he has actually completed his PhD or not - is an exemplary human being.

And yet... he was once a psychopath who tried to bludgeon his own father to death with a hammer.

Watch the video below, in full. Yes, it is 35 minutes long, but trust me on this, it's worth the time:



It is easy to look around at the evil in this world and think that no just, benevolent, or even decent Creator could possibly permit such horrors. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that such a Creator must be unimaginably cruel - far more cruel than even the worst of all human sadists.

It is easy to believe that there is no ultimate meaning, no purpose, to life at all - that we are just a bunch of not particularly sophisticated big apes with large brains who come into this world amidst blood and pain and screaming, live on it for a while, and die. According to this worldview, we are nothing more than sacks of meat and bone, and 99.999% of us have no purpose on this Earth whatsoever and can be safely killed off.

Those are the beliefs of nihilists. And to psychopaths, who lack the ability to feel remorse or guilt or any real empathy whatsoever for other people, such a worldview makes perfect sense.

That is, it makes perfect sense until you actually start looking in detail at its most basic assumptions.

Atheists love to proclaim their lack of belief in anything unscientific. I certainly did, back when I was an atheist. Yet, as Mr. Wood points out in the video above, the reality is that atheists believe in a number of things so deeply, and so irrationally, that their belief is in many ways even more ridiculous than the things that Christians believe in.

Atheists like to mock Christians - observe that they rarely mock Muslims, for the simple reason that Muslims tend to react to mockery by screaming JIHAAAAAAAD!!! and beheading or shooting people - by telling them about how ridiculous it is to believe that the entire Universe was created in just 6 days, and that the Earth is only a few thousand years old.

Yet atheists believe, and hold as articles of a rigid faith, that:
  • The entire Universe around us somehow spontaneously came out of nothing at all in a gigantic explosion - which, by the way, sounds suspiciously like the Biblical account of Creation;
  • Life more or less somehow spontaneously emerged from some random flash of lightning into a nutrient-rich "soup", something on the order of 4 billion years ago;
  • Through an extremely slow and difficult process of evolution, various organisms somehow came into being over the next 3 billion years;
  • The pace of that creation increased dramatically, somehow, about half a billion years ago, to create the vast array of biodiversity that we observe in the fossil records;
  • Mammals somehow came along in the form of small rodents that were contemporaries of the dinosaurs and survived a mass extinction event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary;
  • Those mammals somehow then branched off and evolved and mutated and split and evolved some more into apes, the exact process of which, and the rate of which, has never been properly explained;
  • Those apes evolved, somehow, into humans;
  • Humans somehow developed intelligence, consciousness, and - most critically - souls;
  • Using those souls, which developed somehow, Man comes up with a code of morality that has roots in nothing and yet, somehow, just sort of... works;
You can see where the atheist runs into trouble almost immediately.

The sheer number of "somehows" in the standard atheist belief system is enormous. Yet they never address the problems with their own belief structure.

Let's be clear, however. This is not a question of science versus faith. I leave that debate to far better and more well-informed minds.

This is a question of which worldview makes the most sense: that of the nihilistic psychopath, or that of the man of faith.

The nihilist has nothing with which to justify his existence. There is no reason for him to be on this Earth. The psychopath is an outright danger to those around him if he gives in to his violent impulses.

This is where the grace of God comes in.

From my experience, He has a rather... odd sense of humour. He tends to get involved only after one screws up royally in some way, and offers a way out - but there is always a cost associated with taking His Hand.

One has to feel completely broken before one can take that way out - because only when one truly feels as though there is nowhere else to go, can one realise that, in fact, the Way was there all along.

That is when things get very interesting. One then realises that somehow, somewhere, there is, in fact, a Plan of some kind - an open-ended one that takes into account all of one's own individual choices, and a non-compulsory plan at that. One does not HAVE to follow that plan - but if one does, then one has to do so of one's own free will, and accept that salvation comes at a very real cost.

He gave us free will - not to do as He commands "because He says so", but rather to do what He commands because we want to.

And why should we do as He wants us to do? Because, for all that He asks us to give up - and it is a lot, just read the Gospels and you will see this - what He offers in exchange is of even greater value.

David Wood's story is proof that even the absolute worst of men, the most wretched, the most broken, the most terrible of sinners, can be saved, and become worthy and decent men who serve their Creator as ardent defenders of the Faith.

Such is the power and the glory of God.

Comments

  1. Didact,

    Very true. The hic- as the French say - is to say yes. Now the vast majority of us won't be like our Lady even though she's our model. Nope we're more like Issac (the one that fought God and left with a limp) or St Augustine and thousands of other saints who tried to run but God eventually caught up with them.
    Give the fact that we're a bunch of pathetic punks he gave us not only grace but the sacraments 'cause he knows we're backsliders.
    Sometimes as I read about some devotions, I'm struck at how much God loves us and wants us very much to be with him. I shake my head given that I'm a backsliding punk but I keep trying. I just hope I'll succeed because Lord am I pathetic backsliding punk.
    xavier

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  2. Atheists don't actually believe in souls at all .

    Also there is ample observable evidence for some kind of process of evolution. There might be a logical need for some first initiator, maybe, but no need whatever for any caring deity for reality to exist.

    Even the first initiator question is dubious as a pre existing universe is just as reasonable as a pre existing deity

    Also re: human morality. Its not remotely universal , Christian west of the Hajinal line morals are if anything an outlier

    Truth is most systems of morals work fine in terms of reproduction, people have kids and normally pass on the culture . Hell the Aztecs who were basically a state run by denomaltors managed to do pretty well for a century and would have gone on had it not met the Conquistadors

    Many appalling cultures do as well as non appalling ones at job one , continuing.

    What few common things human societies have in common are also easily explained by Evo Psych and the behaviors are those of a banding primate

    There are a few behaviors, out group altruism mainly that defy current explanation but that is current explanation

    And while we may not need Deities to explain existence , this doesn't say the don't exists, that whatever faith is wrong or that most people won't benefit from some Christianity in their lives

    In the big picture Christianity is useful and mostly makes things better.

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