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See, this is what I don't get

A Velveteen Apologetic

Several things go through my head after reading something like that. First off, is this person serious? I’m all out of whack when trying ascertain the seriousness of arguments put forth by believers. They’re all so alien to me that I can’t figure out when they’re joking. Let’s start with this:

I believe in God. On most days. The chief reason for this belief is a collection of stories so odd that they’re either clumsily made up or eternally true.

Had I been asked to write a book in order to trick people into monotheism, I would have concocted a tale a lot more consistent, logical, urbane, mathematically verifiable, politically correct, gender-inclusive, crosscultural, and family-oriented than what we call the Bible. That bit about God—our most devoted parent—asking Abraham to kill his son Isaac? Unhelpful. Cut. The ode to love found in the First Letter to the Corinthians, on the other hand—that’s good stuff! I’d stretch it out to a whole book of love poetry and stick it in front of Genesis, to show why God bothered with humanity. And I’d try hard to get a quote from Jesus about homosexuals.

But God’s book is already written, and—for reasons only he knows—the tricky passages remain. I tell myself, as G. K. Chesterton put it, that truth must be stranger than fiction, because “fiction is the creation of the human mind and therefore congenial to it.” My wager’s on the Great Uncongenial. In spite of its many riddles, God’s letter to his children is an engrossing thriller about Love on a mission to ravish the world.

So…it’s so silly it must be true? Isn’t the simpler explanation that it was write by people a long time ago with a certain mindset? A mindset that hasn’t aged well? I find this quite strange.

I trust in God because of the holy, universal body of Christ, too—in which weak-kneed people like me try to love God and others, but make mistakes all the time. That churches have multiplied (and not just because of splits)—from household fellowships in biblical times to Willow Creek Community Church—attests to the power of their creed. Then there are those three times in my 31 years so far that God answered my stubborn prayers so unambiguously that I felt like I’d just touched the hem of his heavenly robe.

Three times? Three? Out of what, thousands of prayers? That looks like chance to me.

But sometimes—about six days a year—all those reasons are not enough; I have no faith left. This usually happens when a migraine stabs my head or when I hear about yet another person’s body invaded by cancer.

That’s when God sends in the rabbits.

Yeah…I’m still confused.

So when my soul scampers away from God, invariably, our two mini-rex rabbits lollop up out of nowhere to lick my hands or face. Or the animals hurl themselves through the air in the ultimate show of bunny exuberance: a binky. They leap in the air, shake their heads, kick their legs to the side, spin around, and then land, having completed a 180-degree turn—sometimes several times in a row. Or they nudge my hand, presenting themselves for a massage, and grind their teeth with delight when their request is granted. Or they “faint,” flopping over on their sides with their eyes rolled back in bliss. What holy hilarity propels rabbits to dance, flop, lick, and bliss out like that? How unnecessary! How extravagant! How good.

This unsuspecting gratitude and love—in a warm, buoyant animal body, its lavishly soft fur marked by the fingerprints of its Maker, its antics so otherworldly as if to promise that there’s more of that in another place—tips the scales toward the Preponderance of Evidence, plopping me back on my knees.

So this is the Argument from Cute Rabbits? This is where I wonder how serious the person is. I’m taking it as fairly light-hearted, not particularly serious. But I really can’t tell.

I’ve said this before, but I simply don’t get it. It seems like people are convinced by stuff like this (not this specifically, but similar things from their own lives). There are interesting books about why people are naturally religious, but I don’t quite understand why I’m not like that. I’m not particularly arrogant about it, considering all those other people stupid. I’m apparently just missing something. Not in the sense of converts who say ‘there was an empty place inside me and now Jesus fills it.’ I mean I just don’t seem to feel whatever makes people biased towards religion. I’m not particularly worried about this; it’s fascinating and bewildering.

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