Joe, an atheist, was spending a quiet day fishing when suddenly his boat was attacked by the Loch Ness monster. In one easy flip, the beast tossed Joe and his boat high into the air. Then it opened its mouth and prepared to swallow both.
As Joe sailed toward what appeared to be a certain death, he cried out “Oh, my God! Save me!” At once, the ferocious attack scene froze in place. As Joe hung in midair, a booming voice came down from the clouds, “Hey, I thought you didn’t believe in me?”
“Come on, Lord, give me a break!” Joe pleaded. “One minute ago I didn’t believe in the Loch Ness monster either.”
Friends, though this story is clearly fictional, it does remind us of a couple of very important truths. First, faith is not contrary to evidence but often flows from evidence. Joe and I now disagree over whether the Loch Ness monster exists. I see no credible evidence that would warrant believing in Nessy. Joe’s experience, however, has (in the fictional story) provided all the proof he needs to become a believer. Yes, Joe still has the option of insisting he is in the middle of a bad dream. However, considering the situation in which Joe finds himself, pretending it is impossible for the Loch Ness monster to exist, would seem unwise. Friends, in the real world, there are folks who do not believe in God and have decided they don’t want to “be confused by the facts.” Despite substantial historical and philosophical evidence which supports the truth claims of Christianity, they continue to point to a supposed “lack of scientific evidence.” These folks often insist they are “open-minded,” but they do not seem to be pursuers of the truth.
Second, this fictional story reminds us that people often will turn to God in the face of imminent danger. According to the old adage, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” When people are faced with the clear possibility of death, they look for something that can either preserve their life, or something which will give them hope beyond the grave. In almost all cases this involves some type of deity. A recent survey found that almost 30 percent of self-described atheists believe in some form of “life after death.” That is rather surprising, since “scientific naturalism,” the philosophy on which modern atheism rests, insists that physical death is the absolute end of a human being’s existence. Yet even many atheists cannot believe that is true. The reality is, of course, that death is the inevitable end for all of us. Though we may not be heading toward the mouth of a great sea monster, we are mortals and our time on this planet is limited. The story of the thief on the cross reminds us that God hears even those who cry out to Him for help and salvation during the last hour of their lives. However, if we really want the Lord to save us, it only makes sense that we turn to Him today! The Bible puts it this way: “For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’ Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Rev. Dan Erickson,
Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church