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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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The Question of God
Jonathan Pait
September 16, 2004

I found the PBS program The Question of God to be very stimulating. I almost expected a Hannity and Colmes experience, but I was wonderfully disappointed!

I plan to order the DVD. If you are an atheist - or at least antagonistic toward Christianity - this show will at least give you some insight into the thought processes of those who have accepted the claims of Jesus Christ. For Christians, it is a good exposure both the thought processes of atheists and spiritualists. As Cal Thomas wrote yesterday, "It is worth your time to watch. It is worth your time to investigate the claims discussed. It might even restore (or enhance) your faith."

Funny, but if you were to take the Christians out of the panel and then ask me with whom I would prefer to enjoy a nice lunch, I would say Michael Shermer, editor-in-chief of Skeptic Magazine and director of the Skeptics Society. I found him to be an honest skeptic and greatly perfer to discuss things with people who aren't all over the place. The spiritualists get me tied in knots.

I also enjoyed the input by Frederick Lee, a practicing physician and former teaching associate of Dr. Armand Nicholi (the moderator of the program).
And that's when one comes down to: Is this story made up or not? And the key thing there is, here is a man, Jesus Christ, who's documented as claiming to be the son of God. Now, I've seen patients do that in my psychiatric rotations — "I'm Napoleon, I'm Caesar, I'm God, I'm Jesus," but they're invariably psychotic. And yet, from the scriptures, from all the witnesses that we have, what Jesus said reflects some of the deepest, most insightful wisdom into human nature. He's not a lunatic, okay? He's not crazy. There's no other alternative, other than to assume that this bizarre claim, this fantastic claim, that's never been made or spoken by human lips in the history of the world has to be true. There's no other explanation.
Actually, there is a different explanation. Jesus could have been a charlatan - a liar, a fraud. Of course, that is why this particular statement falls into the segment’s discussion on miracles. Jesus’ miracles were proof of His claims.

Shermer counters one of Lee's arguments regarding miracles with the following:
Once you've tried to understand the forces by which God intervened into this system from outside this system, you're just back in the system again, looking for natural causes. God used some electromagnetic force to tweak the genome, to restart the heart, to whatever. If that's what you're doing, then you're just doing science. And the only other choice is, you just say, "beats me, it's a miracle." I give up.
At that point, I wished I were sitting at the table. I would have said, "But Michael, if we could physically explain how God did what He did, it wouldn't be a miracle. If God used some electromagnetic force to tweak the genome, it would not by definition be a miracle. A miracle demands that the event transcend natural law. More incredible would be to discover that point where natural law was suspended and you are left saying, ‘Wow, it’s a miracle!’"

Stimulating and fun - of course, it is also nice to watch something on TV that does not dismiss belief and treated both sides respectfully. There are few opportunities for that kind of discussion now days.

Finally, it would be so incredibly neat to have been able to go back and be a part of that group of spiritual thinkers that included Lewis and Tolkien.

The next segment will be next Wednesday evening at 9 PM.

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