A Skeptic Asks His Questions

Some people, at least it seems like that, sail through life without a care in the world. That’s a good deal if you can work it out. I couldn’t. I admit some of the messes I got myself into I did it all by myself. I’m talented that way! I was also good at conning my high school teachers. I paid for that later when I went to college. College expected me to study. Can you imagine that? The college’s motto was An Adventure In Excellence. At the end of my sophomore year, they asked me to leave. Seems they didn’t think I qualified for the Adventure. But that was okay. My Uncle Sam needed me in the Army!

Illustration of a Drill Sargent

When Uncle Sam invited me to join the army (actually he said join or go to jail, which I thought was very rude) the Korean War was winding down. That meant everybody was getting tired of fighting. On July 27, 1953, they agreed to take a break. A year later when I was invited to join the festivities the ceasefire was still holding. They decided they didn’t need me in Korea after all and sent me to Germany. It turned out for me that it was a case of jumping out of one frying pan (college failure) into a different frying pan. The story goes like this.

Once upon a time, there had been a great war, a “war to end all wars”. When the dust had settled the rumblings of war still vibrated in the earth. They called it the time of the Cold War. Russia, who had been an ally against Germany, was now an enemy occupying Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia shared the border with Germany. My regiment was given the task of patrolling the border. In light of this “cold war” our regimental headquarters had a top-secret room called the War Room. This was a secret room. You had to have top-secret clearance to enter the room. I didn’t. However, there was the door!

Being an inquisitive person, I watched the door whenever anyone went in. And I listened to the people talking. The walls, visible through the open door, were lined with maps. The position of every Russian soldier, tank, and weapon was pinpointed on the map. Every time the Russians moved men and equipment our officers rushed to the War Room. They made battle plans to fit the new information. This was when I learned a very important fact. If Russia attacked my assignment was to die! Isn’t that exciting?
So, there I was. My college has informed me that I didn’t qualify for the adventure. Uncle Sam said all I was good for was to die! There I was—a loser! I wasn’t, but it made a good joke. It reminded me of an old cartoon series from 1942 titled “Sad Sack,” a private in the Army. Everything and anything that could possibly go wrong happened to him. Soldiers found it easy to identify with Sad Sack.

As my tour of duty in the Army drew to an end, I had to make some decisions. What was I going to do? First, I needed to go back to the college that had asked me to leave and graduate. That resulted in an amusing situation. When I started back to college, they put me on academic probation which meant I could not cut classes. But my grades were now so high I was on the Dean’s List with unlimited cuts while still on probation. Could I cut classes, or couldn’t I?

The reason I tell this story is to raise a question. Desperate times can arise in our lives beyond our control. If something doesn’t intervene. we’re going under. The question is, in desperate times where do you turn? When your back is against the wall, the boss says you’re fired, the doctor says it’s terminal, your marriage is on the rocks, your kids are messed up, your friends have deserted you, the bank is foreclosing on your mortgage, you’re drowning in debt, the enemy is gunning you down, and even your dog bites you – where do you turn for help when there is no help?

Times and situations can arise when we need an outside force to intervene. If we could buy it or invent it, we’d give anything for a magic wand we could wave and make everything turn out okay. But there is no magic wand to be waved. There is no magic genii. No supernatural person with the power to create and recreate. It looks like we’re stuck. Just for the heck of it let’s go into our laboratory and begin a great experiment.

We sit at our desks and begin designing an ideal God. Immediately we have a major problem. If there is a God Who meets all our criteria, we have no way of knowing it! Think about it logically. You can’t prove there is a Creator. And yet only a Creator can do the things we need our God to do. Curiosity, the compulsion to know, drives us to explore the origins of our universe and raise questions such as, are there other living beings living on other planets like us?

It doesn’t take long to realize that if there is a Creator, He will have to tell us, convince us, and prove that He exists. We have advanced enough scientifically, and gotten beyond superstition so that we are a very skeptical people who demand incontrovertible proof.

An essential tool for a pilot is the manufacturer’s handbook. It tells you how to fly the aircraft, tells you all the aircraft’s idiosyncracies, and most importantly, how every part and bit works and how to fix it if it malfunctions.

That’s what we need. The manufacturer’s handbook. Is there such a book about our universe, about us? Let me tell you a parable. It is the Parable of the Star Car.

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