I set my alarm for 2AM so I could get up and see the full lunar eclipse the other night. I figure something that only happens once every several hundred years was worth a little sleep deprivation.
With crystal clear skies here I wasn’t disappointed.
It was a spectacular shift. As the Moon passed into the Earth’s shadow it’s color faded from brilliant silver into a dull gray and then on to a soft orange.
CalculationsAs I sat in a lawn chair in my back yard bundled against the night chill I thought about how folks who know a lot more than I do were able to calculate exactly where and when the eclipse was going to happen.
I had even looked up a chart online to find out when if and when I’d be able to see it at my house.
It’s amazing to me that the planets and stars move so precisely that we are able to calculate exactly where they will be at pretty much any point in the future. When I studied celestial navigation (yes I’ve actually used a sextant at sea) we had books full of tables telling us where the sun, moon and various stars would be at any given moment in time.
They were so precise that we could use them to “reverse engineer” our location on earth based on where we saw them in the sky.
Leap of Faith
As I pondered all this alone there in the quiet cold darkening night, it occurred to me that most people believe that all that precision came about through random chance. They think it’s all just a cosmic accident.
To them that makes more sense than believing there was some sort of intelligent force that set things in place.
Talk about a leap of faith!
Folks who look at the world that way have more faith than I’ll ever have. They’ve chosen a belief system that flies in the face of the evidence that’s all around us.
What Faith Is
Some people misunderstand what faith is. They think faith is believing something when all the possible evidence available says it isn’t so, like you have to check your brain at the door in order to have faith.
They treat it as if faith is completely incompatible with reasoning and rational thought.
That’s not the case. At all.
No, in reality faith is what happens when you get to the end of the available evidence.
For example, we cannot absolutely prove or disprove the existence of God. What we can do is evaluate the evidence. How does it stack up? Does it lean more towards God existing or being something mankind invented?
We can sift through that evidence, weigh it out. And it will get us a long way down the path.
But it never quite gets us all the way there. We can look at the preponderance of evidence, which way it leans. Once we see which way the evidence leans, it is faith that bridges the final gap.
When I see evidence such as the precision with which the various astronomical bodies move around in relation to one another and how exactly we can calculate where they will be hundreds of years into the future it seems to leave a smaller gap to get to “God exists.”
It’s a much broader gap that faith needs to bridge to say “God doesn’t exist.”
Photo credit: mawer23