Skeptic-atheist Will Durant sat in his room at the Morrison Hotel, Chicago. He wrote wife Ariel that he heard church bells chiming a Protestant hymn. It sounded so beautiful he burst into an emotional panegyric, even using God’s name in his praise. It reminded him of Napoleon’s saying that even he could believe in God when church bells rang. Then the bells stopped chiming and Durant slipped back into his old, worn rut of unbelief. Dual Autobiography, 323.
What Durant, and Napoleon, unconsciously said was that God could recruit faith even in hardened atheists, sinners, intellectuals, et al, if he removed ugliness, poverty, hatred, etc. from life. Because he hadn’t, those without faith felt justified in refusing to believe in him.
While the music played, Durant believed. When it stopped, so did his faith in God. That’s the skeptic in every age. God could be accepted if sorrow fled and joy remained; if death died and life extended permanently; if solutions flourished and problems vanished.
In answer, first, God has so constituted the world that his music is always playing somewhere, by someone serving in his name where human need cries for help. This writer occasionally watches the 700 Club of CBN. The show features story after story of Christians serving around the world in the name of Jesus: God’s music playing! IDES, of Noblesville, Indiana, a Christian-Church-based benevolent organization, has story after story of Jesus Christ loving the world through his servants wherever human need rises.
In answer, second, skeptics should remember a comment of the old deist Ben Franklin. When someone criticized God for not making life better, Franklin replied if life is so troubled with God in it, imagine how horrible it would be if he didn’t exist. No beauty would then comfort and encourage. No hope would then exist.
In answer, third, we can’t take refuge in skepticism when life goes wrong, since humanity has made the wrong turns and decisions that cause the wrongs! Our refusal to accept responsibility for all the disasters experienced won’t inspire God to accept the blame.
Indeed, and this is a challenge to Christians, our faith in God doesn’t demand having his music playing. Doesn’t demand life being uninterrupted by sickness, sudden death or loss of income. Faith in God thrives whatever the circumstances of life. It’s no good for believers to tell those experiencing hardships that “God is good”, then to question that “God is good” when we face them. Faith in God must be strong and resilient and permanent at all times if it’s real at any time. For, whether or not his music is playing, GOD IS.
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