Daily Archives: July 9, 2008

Doctor Who, Atheism, and God, pt. 2…

In the first part, I focused on the themes of Doctor Who, and gave my thoughts on why I believe they, the themes (such as messiah-like heroes, the betterment of the human race, miraculous type powers, faith, etc…), not just the specific show, are so compelling to write, and to watch; I believe it shows that regardless of what we say, every human has an almost innate urge for these things, as well as for things like perfection.  The only true way to fulfill these types of urges is with the Truth that can only be found in Christ and an acknowledgment of God.  Now, in this installment, I use a line from Doctor Who as a jumping off point to talk about aspects of human nature I have observed.

In the episode “The Doctor Dances,” we come to the resolution of a storyline, and have a scene where the little boy Jamie is in his mother’s arms, and we still don’t know if they are going to make it, if they are going to survive and thrive…The Doctor (Nine), pleads, “Oh, come on. Give me a day like this. Give me this one.” Who is the Doctor pleading with?  Who is he asking that he assumes knows precisely what kind of day he wants without even having to utter it out loud?  Who has the power to give days or withhold them that would hearken to pleading? Was he pleading with sheer dumb luck?  The materialistic universe?  Who? The actual character, and beliefs of The Ninth Doctor aside, I was always struck by the irony; the writer of the episode, Moffat, is an atheist, the executive producer of the series, Russell T. Davies, is an atheist, and the actor playing Nine, Christopher Eccleston, is an atheist.

Again, I’m using this as an example…but I have observed precisely the same thing in the humans around me, many of which have no religious beliefs one way or another.  There is something going on and they are pleading from the depths of their being, “Come on, come on, please let them be OK,” “Just this once let me hit the jackpot,” “This has got to be it, come on, please…”  It’s a reaction that just seems to come out, why?

Anger, blame, and questioning…I don’t know how many times I’ve experienced this online while engaging in conversation, not anything like evangelization, just common discussion, with a mix of beliefs; atheists, agnostics, fellow Christians, pagans, etc… but an atheist will be explaining how they don’t believe in God, and ends their post with “F— God!” exclamation point and all, with a true underscore of vehemence.  The anger is most assuredly there…anger at whom?  A God that he claims doesn’t exist?  Somehow or another God gets the blame for everything bad in life, even though the blame is coming from those who say He doesn’t exist…quite an odd set up.  “Why are you doing this to me?” said in a groan while looking at the sky, or curled up in a fetal position, or just, “Why?” or the perennial favourite, “Why me?”  It is instinctual, something coming from a part of ourselves that most atheists would deny.  It runs deeper than thought, emotion, or physical reaction, it comes from our soul.

Thanksgiving, no not the holiday, but another observed reaction.  My atheist friend was so worried about getting a certain job, it was on his mind day and night, and he waited and waited and waited for a call.  I happened to be there when the call came.  He got the job.  He proceeds, with no conscious thought whatsoever, in a fit of exultation, to fall on the floor, on his back, hands toward Heaven, and exclaims, “Thank God! Yes!” with more fervency than I’ve observed in most Christians. I can “hear” people’s reactions now, “well, it’s just a phrase,” no, sorry, I was there.  There are times when people, even/especially believers who do not really mean, or feel what they say, “Thank God, praise God, praise the Lord,” rolls off the tongue with nothing behind it; this wasn’t in that vein.  I’ve heard others do similar things, offer up thanksgiving and praise “thank you thank you thank you”…to who?  Again, it is before thoughts get in the way, and it is from our beings.  Humans click into a praise and thanksgiving mode without even putting forth effort, it is something internal and fundamental.

The deep feelings of “otherness” or resonance, of something greater than ourselves, or nature.  I was dialoguing with an atheist online, and he was explaining his deep love of music.  I commented on how music seems to be something that can touch us on every level of our beings.  He agreed.  I asked if he had ever felt caught up in a piece of music in such a way that it resonated with him on a level that was beyond mere thought or emotion.  Yes, he had.  It was a fundamental resonance with awe and wonder, a pure feeling, again, something beyond and deeper than emotion.  Folks, we have a soul, and we’ve experienced things like what this person is describing.  I asked if that meant anything to him, or how could he just dismiss it out of hand, that feeling of purity and that there is something more, something bigger, something beyond the physical, and at the same time fundamental.  He couldn’t really answer, he just said he did dismiss it.  I urged him, and urge everyone reading this, don’t dismiss it, think about it.

In God we find the key to these things.  We do have souls, we are geared to seek answers and ask major questions that can be phrased quite simply, “Why?”, we are geared towards thanksgiving and praise to something “other,” geared toward asking for things bigger and outside of ourselves, and we do experience deep resonance and the sense of something bigger even than nature itself…with an understanding of the spiritual nature of ourselves and an acknowledgment of God, these things start making sense, and makes our lives so much richer…many people that come to Him through Christ do have that “Aha” moment, akin to the realization that “Oh, so that’s Who The Doctor was pleading with after all…”

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