“Religion may involve the creation of illusions. But there is nothing in science that says illusion may not be useful, even indispensable, in life.”
–John Gray, Seven Types of Atheism
I’ve been really enjoying this new book by British philosopher John Gray; he aims to show how most of the atheist thinkers and arguments really just substitute another belief system in place of where God would be. Gray is not a person of faith, and the point of his book isn’t meant to show the hypocrisy of atheists who really are believers and should be; instead, his book is meant to show the hypocrisy of atheists who really are believers as much as people of faith are…and shouldn’t be. What it all hinges on, his book argues, is the idea of hope. Much of antiquity saw the idea of hope as an illusion, misguided, and deceptive. It was Judeo-Christian (but mostly Christian) beliefs that turned hope from a delusion into a virtue. To have hope means you have hope in something, and that hope is founded on a belief system that understands one’s life, one’s community, indeed the whole world, as progressing to a better future from its past. To have hope means that this future is an end, that there is progress towards it, and that the destination is something to be preferred and desired. A true atheist, Gray seems to suggest, must be a person without hope in the progress of humanity and society as well as someone who sees no advancement towards an end. Advent is a season for remembering hope; it’s when Christians proclaim confidently that there is a better future for all of us and that future is with God. The God who desires to be with us, calls us as a people, leads us and sustains us, loves us, will bring to all of us a fulfillment in and with God. Yes, there is reason to hope and there is a future to be hopeful for but waiting is the hard part, and it’s easy to get disillusioned. Advent invites us into the longing that waiting brings, drawing out our hopes and offering us comfort and reminders of what God does with those who are with God, and with one another. May this week be a time for you to reclaim your hope in a future that may dimly shine, and to hear in the words of scripture and friend a reason for hope, so that you may find yourself no longer alone but with God.
Pasta Night – Tuesday, 12/4 @ 6 pm. This is our last Pasta Night of the semester, and we will meet at Thomas’ house at 6 pm for Baked Ziti. Don’t show up to Trinity Commons because we’ll all be at Thomas’ house; if you need the address you can text or email Thomas.
On Campus this Week
Tuesday – BSC
This is our last BSC day for this semester. Come join me in the Caf around 9 am and tell me what you’re hoping for as exam week approaches. Then come join us in Yeilding Chapel at 11:45 to begin the practice of waiting in anticipation of the presence of God, and to remember that it’s God on which your hope is founded.
Wednesday – Samford
This is our last Samford day for this semester. Come join me at the tables near Einstein’s around 9 am and tell me what you’re hoping for as exam week approaches. Then come join us in Reid Chapel at Noon to begin the practice of waiting in anticipation of the presence of God, and to remember that it’s God on which your hope is founded.
Thursday – UAB
This is our last regular day in the Hill Center for this semester. Come join me at the Hill Center at the tables near the Univ. Blvd doors around 10 am and tell me what you’re hoping for as exam week approaches. Come by for a brief visit, stay for lunch or coffee, or stay for our whole time there.
Hope to see you this week!