Some say it doesn’t matter what you believe, while others feel that it’s extremely important and that belief influences behaviour and affects outcome. I subscribe to the second view.
Carl Sagan (1934—1996), American astronomer and author, said that he didn’t want to believe; he wanted to know! Sagan was a genius. Isaac Asimov described him as, “one of the only two people I ever met who were just plain smarter than me.”
Sagan is probably best known for his book “Contact.” In 1997, the movie version of “Contact” based on his novel, and starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey, came out.
Sagan was a committed agnostic and openly skeptical about Christianity. He said he was amazed that educated adults, surrounded by the wonders of modern science, “… still cling to beliefs based on the testimony of observers dead for 2000 years.”
Conversing with a Christian minister, Sagan said, “You’re so smart … why do you believe in God?” The minister replied, “You’re so smart … why don’t you believe in God?”
The minister later explained that it was an interesting question coming from someone who, without doubt, or question accepts the existence of black holes and other un-provable, unobservable phenomena.
A popular Sagan quote is, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
He might’ve plagiarized a bit because Marcelo Truzzi stated earlier, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”
Both of them borrowed from Pierre Laplace who stated 200 years earlier that, “The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness.”
Well … how did all of this work out for him? Ann Druyan, Sagan’s third wife, who was with him when he died said, “There was no deathbed conversion, no appeals to God, no hope for an afterlife, no pretending that he and I, who had been inseparable for 20 years, were not saying goodbye forever.” Hmmm …
As one of those educated adults, surrounded by the wonders of modern science that, “still clings to beliefs based on the testimony of observers dead for 2000 years” I propose that what we believe does matter…it is my belief that allows me to know!
Two quotes in closing … one biblical, the other musical. “I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” (2 Timothy 1:12).
“I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today; I know that He is living whatever men may say…He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me Along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.” — Alfred Ackley
Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.
— Faith & Reflection