Day 204: Accepting Reality

1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 (AD 50-51)

In the film, Matrix Reloaded (2003), Morpheus (a key ‘good guy’) stands in front of his military boss, Commander Lock. He tries to explain why he disobeyed a direct order in an attempt to locate the man he believes will save the remnant of humanity: Neo. Lock isn’t impressed. The scene unfolds thus:

Commander Lock:      I don’t care about oracles, or prophecies, or messiahs. I care about one thing: stopping that army from destroying this city. And to do that, I need soldiers to obey my orders.

Morpheus:                  With all due respect, Commander, there is only one way to save our city.

Commander Lock:      How?

Morpheus:                  Neo.

Commander Lock:      **** Morpheus. Not everyone believes what you believe.

Morpheus:                  My beliefs do not require them to.

Morpheus’ claims about the saving powers of Neo ran counter to observable reality, conventional wisdom, and logic, and you don’t find out for another film-and-a-half of the trilogy whether he was right. But what always struck me is the script and direction for this exchange. Morpheus: a calm junior officer. No aggression, no defiance, no loss of temper. No insults, invective or mockery of his superior. He knew that nothing about what he believed entitled him to think others would agree, or fall down in front of his arguments. But he lived in absolute certainty of the truth he knew based on trusting his source, and believing in the miracles he had seen. And he was consumed by the importance of his mission.

What he believed was a matter of faith, with arguments that fall outside the realm of science. He could no more force Lock to believe what he knew to be true, any more than you or I can switch off our love or hatred for certain foods. The miraculous and supernatural isn’t subject to logic any more than love is.

This does not, of course, mean that a felt certainty overrides any and every logical or authoritative claims to the contrary. After all, the world contains billions of people who are profoundly wrong about deeply-held convictions, off whose shields of dogma conflicting evidence may have bounced for years.

But nobody is asked to throw out their brain in order to believe in God. It is not a leap into the unknown based on nothing. It is a leap of faith based on mountains of circumstantial evidence. Of course you cannot prove God in a lab, but neither can you rebut an atheist with ‘But you can’t prove God doesn’t exist’.

the Flame Bowerbird

The entire universe screams ‘Design!’ with aesthetic features out of step with ‘survival of the fittest’[1], and with the infinitely delicate balance on which every life form exists. Chasms between supposed steps on the evolutionary path, and the infinitely complex working order of a universe supposedly created by chance and explosion screams ‘Design!’. Human concepts of love and self-sacrifice scream ‘Design!’, as does our appreciation for many forms of art.

The fulfilment of 600+ Messianic prophecies cries ‘God!’

500+ previously sceptical witnesses of the risen Christ cry ‘God!’

10 of the 12 disciples, who didn’t believe Jesus would rise from the dead until they saw him, were killed for refusing to stop telling people that Jesus rose from the dead. They cry ‘God!’ as they sit with him in heaven.

So when we read and share the gospel  we do so in the certain knowledge that it is “the word of God, which is at work in you who believe” (v.13). It takes faith from God to accept such a Word, because you can’t find it on a spreadsheet. But that doesn’t make it less true, or less important to every human being.

So when you read the Bible, and when you share the gospel or anything about God, be humble but don’t be apologetic. Be gracious but don’t cower. Be sensitive but don’t back down. You are sharing what you know to be true and which contains the most powerful force in the universe: the will of God.

And in all of it, have the humble steadfastness of the character Morpheus, who trusted his ‘Bible’ (the Oracle), saw the miraculous acts of the ‘messiah’ (Neo), and trusted that what was prophesied would come to pass.

[1] See the following article about the bowerbird, for example, including attempts by secular evolutionists to explain it away: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html?

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