A Parable of Two Planets

kepler-35

Image Credit:  NASA

What if I told you that I was absolutely certain that there was a life-sustaining, yet-to-be-identified planet in a galaxy far, far away?  So certain, in fact, that I would die before I said that there might not be any other life-sustaining planet in the universe other than our earth.  What if I then told you that you needed to help me locate this planet as it was humanity’s only hope for survival?  What if I asked you to commit significant money and time to the cause and join me and other like-minded individuals for semi-weekly meetings where we discussed the best way to proceed in locating this planet?  Regardless of your opinion on the matter, because of my earnest faith, you would probably ask me why I believed it and how I could be so sure.

“Well,” I might reply, “it’s statistically probable that there’s at least one planet among the trillions of solar systems that can support life.  It’s simply illogical and arrogant to think that our earth is unique in the universe.”

“But that’s just a guess—a conclusion you’ve drawn from thinking broadly about the universe,” you might respond.  “You might be correct, but I haven’t heard anything substantial that supports your conclusion.”

What if I then proceeded to give you an impressive list of highly-revered scientists, academics, educators, and world leaders that believed as I did?  Some had even published highly-acclaimed books on the topic.  Some, in fact, had sacrificed promising careers and put most of their own money into efforts to find this planet.

What if, seeing that you weren’t convinced of my claim, I resorted to scare tactics and emphasized the point that without locating this life-supporting planet, humanity would be doomed to destruction?

Would this be enough to convince you to join me?  While it might spur some people to do a little investigative research of their own, I would hope that nobody would immediately and impulsively commit his life, time, and resources to my cause.

What I did was make a sincere, emotional plea for people to join me in what sounded like a worthy cause, appealing first to altruism, appealing finally to fear; but I did not give them any credible reason to join me.  While some of the people that support my cause may be respected and successful, their opinion is just that—an opinion.  Without supporting evidence, my claim is meaningless.

Unfortunately, many Christians offer claims such as this to nonbelievers.  As rationale, they offer tradition–opinions and credentials—but no substantiation.  If our universe was created by a being who generated not only physical space, but life, love, and healing; then there should be ample evidence to support this claim.  If you believe in this Creator and desire to share His story with those around you, I would recommend that you stick with what you know.  Offer evidence rather than popular opinion.  If we base our claims on tradition, they will sound no different than most competing religious claims.  Anyone who accepts such a claim will have as a foundation for his beliefs only popular opinion or fear.  Healthy relationships are not formed on such foundations.

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