The Easter Story: Reasonable Doubt, Logical Belief
U.S. state nicknames, such as those in our tri-state region comprised of The Empire State, The Keystone State and The Garden State, are not likely high on the average Joe’s list of facts and trivia. I just happen to know a few, among the 50. Here’s another, which for some peculiar reason remains tucked away in my lifelong facts collection: The Show-Me State.
“There are several stories concerning the origin of the ‘Show-Me’ slogan,” says statesymbolsusa.org. “The most widely known story gives credit to Missouri’s U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver for coining the phrase in 1899. During a speech in Philadelphia, he said: ‘I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.’ The phrase is now used to describe the character of Missourians: not gullible, conservative, and unwilling to believe without adequate evidence.”
Since the tumultuous U.S. presidential campaign of 2016, resulting in the “surprise” election of Donald J. Trump, followed by a cantankerous start to his presidency – wherein “truthful facts” were largely in dispute on both sides of disagreements among President Trump, Congress, others in government and the general public – one could easily imagine a new U.S. slogan, “Show Me,” might win a national referendum to be coined to replace “In God We Trust.”
Nowadays in the U.S., it seems almost anything is as likely as not to be claimed as “true.”
Except, maybe … “In God We Trust.”
Do we? That is, do we, as a national people, trust in one, supernatural supreme authority over this land?
Well, it’s fair to say there are millions – nay, tens of millions – who do embrace that trust as the highest principle in the way we conduct our lives, particularly in our human relations. But are we a majority in America? It’s again fair to say that probably the “In God We Trust” population was once the majority. At the start, the Founding Fathers attributed the very existence of the new United States of America to the “benevolence” of God, and they expressed, in writing, a national appeal for God’s continued mercy and guidance, and for His forgiveness and enlightenment when we stray from doing right.
Look around, listen and notice the vile stench of greed, building a beyond-super rich power minority that lives a luxury that is light years above the common people; contempt for authority (toward parents and even all the way up to presidents); gawking amusement with the participation in, or spectatorship of, brutal violence against the weak; walking of the dead with murderous intent, or the devil’s demons, as ghastly popular new themes in the entertainment industry; “giving all the glory” to self, rather than to any so-called god – “if there is one.”
It seems to me that, sadly, we are not “one Nation, under God.” We don’t appear much united as one. Neither do we, as a whole, demonstrate attributes of a people that reveres God. Is God tired of us? Or are we just tired of God?
The Easter season is upon us, a merry holiday of candy baskets, a bunny mascot and a week or so for a warm-climate vacation. Is there anything more?
The Easter Story – that the God of the universe, who created heaven and earth and mankind, loved the world so much that he sent his Son into the world to be the “salvation” for inherently evil humanity – is a reality to some, but a mere fable to others. Those who believe are those who, at some point in their lives, came to the conclusion that there must be a higher purpose to life beyond just existing a while and then dying. Those who don’t believe in the Easter Story, or in any god, have decided, apparently, there is no life purpose – everything, including their birth, is random – and human beings ought to just make the best of the few decades of living before vanishing from existence.
“Anything is possible,” says one common expression. “Nothing is impossible” is another. I cannot even speculate on whether a majority or a minority of humanity believes either one. But here is one theme I have noticed, and I point it out to reveal its fallacy: Under the modern “scientific fact” of all life on Earth came into existence without any Creator, the conclusion of that philosophy is 1) “anything is possible” in terms of the mystery of life origin and evolution; and 2) …“it is impossible for there to be a God of the Universe who is the Intelligent Designer of everything.”
It ought to be plain to see that to believe life created itself, or that random freak accidents of nature over eons of time managed to ignite and evolve life, depends on a belief that “anything is possible.” But to qualify that by believing “anything, except God, is possible” is not logical.
What’s left is that no matter what one believes, he or she must believe by faith. Is it possible life is random happenstance, without a creator? Yes. Is it probable? Hmmm.
Is it possible a supreme being runs the universe, and all life therein? Mankind can never prove it is impossible.
Now to my last points.
Is it possible that human life is joined to a soul, which is a source of yearning for a purpose and understanding beyond what can be satisfied by its own brain – and also a source of the above-natural instinct but nonetheless universal human desire not to merely live but, above all, to be unconditionally loved?
If so, how is a soul’s existence accounted for, unless the soul is a supernatural link to a being that is beyond the biology of a physical body?
“All things are possible, to him who believes,” said Jesus, in The Easter Story, to a man desperate for his dying child to be healed.
Is it possible The Easter Story is a fraud, a grand conspiracy through history to placate the common people with a false hope of life in paradise after death? Yes – anything is possible.
Is it possible The Easter Story is not a fraud, but a true source of hope eternal, written by those who were inspired by God to share this gospel in love, which they witnessed in Jesus while He was with us, providing assurance of eternal life with God?
“Show me, God” might be a good prayer to send up this Easter. You just might erase your doubt that there’s any answer to the purpose of human life on Earth.
“Ask, and you will receive,” this Jesus, called the Son of God, was reported to say to people deeply yearning for hope. “Seek and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.”
Neal Roberts, a SandPaper copy editor, lives in Lanoka Harbor, N.J.