Monday, 28 September 2015

The Face of Love

Abortion is evil. Unremittingly, unceasingly so. In the same way that slavery is not justified by legitimate economic concerns, the reasons used to attempt to justify abortion do not change that it is evil.

And yet, it is not simple. Millions of women resort to abortion as a way out of desperate situations, or because of some great evil that has been inflicted on them. When discussing abortion, this cannot be ignored. What are we to do with those children conceived through rape, or who are destined to be born into abject poverty, or who are simply unwanted and unloved by their own parents?

Again, abortion is evil. It is not the answer. To destroy the child as punishment for the sins of their father, or to deny them a chance at life because of the situation of their parents, simply heaps evil upon evil. It compounds injustice, and is not a legitimate solution to genuinely tragic situations.

There is no justice or healing to be found in the slaughter of innocents.

But if we are not to respond to evil with evil, how do we respond? What is our solution for the mother who thinks that her only escape from terrible circumstance is the murder of her child? What is our answer to the abortionist who truly believes they are doing what is good? And how do we respond to those who have repented of this evil - who truly believe what they have done is wrong, but are now haunted by guilt?

The answer, of course, is love. Not an ethereal, inactive love. Not a false concept of love based entirely around emotions. A living, working love, that provides help in need, and grace for the fallen.

One way this love is expressed is through crisis pregnancy centres. These are an incredible resource for women who find themselves in seemingly hopeless situations. They will provide financial, physical, emotional, and spiritual support, both to aid women in difficult pregnancies, and those who have suffered the anguish of abortion and are seeking healing. The staunchest pro-life supporters I know are all involved in organisations of this sort: seeking life and love not only for the child, but the parents.

Crisis pregnancy centres have been accused of being "fake clinics" by those who support (and perform) abortions, but how much better an answer it is to suffering than death! This is true support, true hope, and true care: to be willing to help women in their time of need, while not sacrificing their children on the altar of convenience.

To love is to lay down our lives for others - not lay down the lives of their children.

Abortion is not just evil, but it is ultimately a hopeless thing. Where there is life, there is hope - yet it takes that away from the children, never giving them a chance to live for themselves. Crisis pregnancy centres promise life and hope for the whole family.

However, while they are incredibly valuable, there is an even greater answer to evil. It is the answer given by Alyosha to Ivan, in the excerpt from The Brothers Karamazov in my last post.

“Brother,” said Alyosha suddenly, with flashing eyes, “you said just now, is there a being in the whole world who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? But there is a Being and He can forgive everything, all and for all, because He gave His innocent blood for all and everything. You have forgotten Him, and on Him is built the edifice, and it is to Him they cry aloud, ‘Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy ways are revealed!’ ”

Our ultimate hope for the lives of many innocents is the life of the One innocent, who freely gave of Himself that we might live. The One who offers not just life on this earth, but life eternal.

To those who find themselves considering abortions, and those who have already had them or performed them, I urge you: turn to Jesus, the Saviour and Judge of the world, and plea for mercy and help. He is gracious, and will give abundantly to those who ask. There is no greater hope, and no greater answer to evil.

Turn too to the body of Christ in this world. Those who truly serve God will extend love towards you freely, no matter your past or present circumstances. Find a faithful church, and ask for support. It will be given, without judgement or expectation of recompense.

This is also a call to the Church itself. Do more - we must do more! As long as the evil of abortion continues in the world, we need to fight it. To do nothing is to do too little. Whether it be through prayer, through protesting, or reaching out to those who have been afflicted by abortion, we must seek and strive to shine the love of Christ into the world. It may seem a hopeless mission, but our hope is in Jesus, in whom all authority in heaven and on earth rests.

Abortion is a dreadful scar on the world. It is a terrible wordless question, screamed by the millions who have been sacrificed for reasons they could never understand.

Love is the answer. Jesus is the answer: a healing for the wounds that sin inflicts on creation, and mercy and grace for those who seek Him.

He is the face of love to whom we must turn. And, in the words of C. S. Lewis:
“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”

Friday, 25 September 2015

The Face of Evil

Do you know what evil looks like?

There are differing views on whether "evil" truly exists, and whether we can really know it. Some might say that morality is relative, others, that it's simply non-existent. Many more hold to some form of an absolute morality, that transcends cultural values. A morality to be sought after, not created.

I believe that those who claim evil is no more than an abstract concept are tragically mistaken, and demonstrably so, precisely because we know exactly what evil looks like. There are terrible tragedies throughout human history, brought about by the actions of depraved people, that are universally condemned as not simply unpleasant, but in direct violation of a real moral code. The right and wrong of genocide is not a matter of preference. Slavery is not wrong because we believe it to be so: we believe that it is wrong because it is evil in its essence.

We know what evil looks like, because we have seen it.

So why is it that, looking back at history, we freely and fiercely condemn the atrocities of the past, yet turn a blind eye to an evil that matches every one of them, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life?

Why do we slaughter our children?



How can we dare to do this?

There is no question that those killed through abortion are human: fully, utterly human in the most literal sense of the word. They are genetically no different. The only difference is in development. We say they are disposable because they are different from us. They don't look like us - like how we think people should be.

Does that sound familiar to you?

There are only two possible sides in the question of abortion. First, that it is utterly inconsequential, a thing not worth considering: discarding excess weight, as it were.

Or it is murder. If it is not murder, it is not wrong, but if there is any moral value on the life of the foetus - if this human life bears the slightest importance simply by virtue of being human - then abortion can be no more or less than murder, and the tragedy of abortion easily compares to the worst genocides in human history.

The only way to justify abortion is by taking a subset of humanity, and deeming it sub-human. By creating a separate category for them, and saying "because you do not meet our perception of those who deserve human rights, you are of no worth".

Abortion has more in common with the atrocities of history than body count. The justifications are exactly the same.

How can we dare to do this?

You may speak of reproductive rights - but on what grounds is abortion a right, when it directly contravenes the most fundamental human right that exists: the right to life itself? How can it possibly be right to have special dispensation to murder the most vulnerable, at the time when they should be safest, and most cared for?

There is much talk of the pro-life movement being fundamentally misogynist. It's claimed that those who fight abortion do so for no other reason than hatred or repression of women. This is no more or less than a terrible lie. We fight because we see life, and know its value. Our motivation is the same as that of William Wilberforce, or the heroes of the world wars. We fight for justice, and we fight against evil. We fight for life. We fight for the women who have no voice, and whose own family fights against them.

How can anyone dare to do any less?

Abortion is an attack on society from the inside. It is a terrible thing that sets mothers at war with their children, and tears nations apart from within. It is an absolute perversion of the incredible gift of giving life that women have been granted. It is completely, totally, utterly evil.

I would like to share an excerpt from Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.

“But then there are the children, and what am I to do about them? That's a question I can't answer. For the hundredth time I repeat, there are numbers of questions, but I've only taken the children, because in their case what I mean is so unanswerably clear. Listen! If all must suffer to pay for the eternal harmony, what have children to do with it, tell me, please? It's beyond all comprehension why they should suffer, and why they should pay for the harmony. Why should they, too, furnish material to enrich the soil for the harmony of the future? I understand solidarity in sin among men. I understand solidarity in retribution, too; but there can be no such solidarity with children. And if it is really true that they must share responsibility for all their fathers' crimes, such a truth is not of this world and is beyond my comprehension.”

The death of a child - of even one single innocent infant - is too great a price to pay for whatever perceived benefits abortion may bring.

My plea for you is to see this. To recognise abortion for what it is: evil. To stand up against this, no matter the cost, and fight for life. Fight for the defenceless. If you support abortion, then please think of the lives that have been lost, and ask yourself: has it been worth it? Have the 1.3 billion deaths been worth it?

Has one single death been worth it?

This is what evil looks like - what it has looked like for all time.

Let me finish with one more excerpt - one with a message of hope.

“Rebellion? I am sorry you call it that,” said Ivan earnestly. “One can hardly live in rebellion, and I want to live. Tell me yourself, I challenge you—answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature—that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance—and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.”
“No, I wouldn't consent,” said Alyosha softly.
“And can you admit the idea that men for whom you are building it would agree to accept their happiness on the foundation of the unexpiated blood of a little victim? And accepting it would remain happy for ever?”
“No, I can't admit it. Brother,” said Alyosha suddenly, with flashing eyes, “you said just now, is there a being in the whole world who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? But there is a Being and He can forgive everything, all and for all, because He gave His innocent blood for all and everything. You have forgotten Him, and on Him is built the edifice, and it is to Him they cry aloud, ‘Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy ways are revealed!’ ”

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief

In Psalm 22, David cries out to the Lord - "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And, thousands of years later, this lament was echoed by his descendant - Jesus Christ, God incarnate come to both live and die among us - as He felt the full weight of God's wrath against sin.

We live in a world of suffering. There is not a person alive who has not felt pain or sorrow of some kind. As we find ourselves seemingly overcome, it can be easy to echo the Psalmist's cry in turn. Has God forsaken us? Why can our own bodies, or those of our loved ones, be afflicted with deadly diseases? Why do thousands die in natural disasters, and why can one person be so stricken with despair that they take their own life? Why do we suffer?

There is, unfortunately, no easy answer to this question. We live in a world of suffering because we live in a world of sin. A world stricken by rebellion against its Creator. We are sinful people in a sinful world, and our pain is a consequence of that. In fact, we are the ones who have forsaken God.

And yet, for all this, He has never forsaken us.

In the very same psalm that opens by saying that God has left him, the psalmist says:

"I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
 For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him."

He knows that, even when despair is greatest and God seems farthest, his salvation is assured. God has not despised the afflicted, or hidden His face - He is a God who hears and helps. Who lends strength when we have none of our own.

So we know that, even in our suffering, God is there. But how can we know that? What assurance do we have that our faith is justified? And why would God even do that for us if we are rebellious and sinful?

To understand that, we must look at someone who suffered despite committing no sin.

We read in Isaiah 53:3-5 of:

"...a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
 Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed."

Consider those words for a moment.

Man of sorrows.

Acquainted with grief.

This prophecy points to Jesus - to his life, and to the moment that He suffered on the cross. He was perfect, completely without sin, and yet he took the entirety of God's fury upon himself. He was acquainted with grief - not a cruel, unfeeling god, not caring for his people's plight, but one who knew intimately our suffering. A man of sorrows.

Pierced for our transgressions.

Crushed for our iniquities.

In the midst of our sufferings, we can rely on this sure hope and knowledge: that though we are sinners, born to suffer and die, there is one who suffered for us. One who bore pain greater than any we could ever endure - and that we will never have to experience because of what he did.

With his wounds we are healed.

This is love, and this is our assurance.

Our hope is not in this life, but in life after death. This, too, we are assured of as Jesus says in John 14:1-3 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." And Paul tells us in Romans 8:18 that "the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

In Revelation 21, we read this:

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'"

This is our strength, and that of the psalmist. Not that God will free us from suffering in this life. But that it will be nothing compared to that which is to come. And "when the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

'Death is swallowed up in victory.'
 'O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?'" - 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

Monday, 8 September 2014

It is Finished

Is there some accomplishment or deed in your life that you are particularly proud of?

Completion of a difficult task can be immensely satisfying. While there is certainly joy to be found in the journey, it is often interspersed with hardships, which can sometimes make you question whether the struggle is worth it. But when you see them in the light of the end result, then you may realise that there is no aspect of your journey that you would give up - if only because they make the completion that much more rewarding.

"Completion" is actually a remarkably powerful word, and perhaps one that we do not give enough credit. It speaks of both the fulfilment of our labour and the cessation of our struggles, and brings them together in a word that takes the good and the bad, and makes them into something better.

But there is a catch.

The problem is that true completion is unattainable in our lives. The most monumental accomplishments or stunning works of art all have one fatal flaw. No matter how permanent they may seem in one, two, or even twenty generations, they all need to be maintained. Whether it's physical or emotional, social or personal, all of our achievements need to be preserved somehow. Sometimes the effort required may be so minuscule that we don't even notice, but sometimes it may take all of our effort to keep what we created. The struggle will continue in some form for as long as we live.

The sad fact is that completion is an illusion. A tempting, yet ephemeral concept beyond human grasp.

At least... that's almost true.

Both the unattainability and the allure of completion point to something greater. The glorious truth is that we were never meant to reach fulfilment in this world, nor were we intended to reach it through our own efforts. We are shattered souls in a broken world, doomed to fall short - but Jesus has won the battle for us. No matter how much we strive to something infinitely beyond us, or how much we fall, we are given the comfort that our ultimate completion and fulfilment is the gift of grace, imputed to us without deserving. To seek satisfaction in this life is to condemn ourselves to a fight that we could never win, but that burden has been lifted.

It is in knowing this that true comfort is found. A bleak landscape of hardships is transformed into a path to something greater. The ups and downs of life fade away in significance before the one true 'I Am' - the maker of all that is and the source of all that is good. Though there are still struggles ahead, and we may not know where this path will take us in our journey, this is made insignificant compared to the joy that is to come. Everything we do can be done in the knowledge that the battle is won, and so we are even given a taste of this victory in our present lives.

Do not be content with the pale, temporary achievements of the world. We are made to be satisfied with nothing less than eternity, and this has already been given to us.

"After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." (John 19:28-30)

This is our triumph, granted by grace.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:1-4)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Regrets, I've had a few

Have you ever decided to live without regret? I told myself I wanted that, once - for about 30 seconds.

It's easy to see negative emotions as a terrible thing, to be avoided at all costs. It's the message the world sends us: guilt and regret are wastes of time. We should live our lives to the fullest, crammed with as many happy emotions as possible. This may seem like good advice at first. After all, who wants to feel bad? Won't eliminating negative emotions give us better lives overall? For those who don't hold to an objective morality, especially, these things may seem completely useless, and it would make sense to avoid them at all costs.

Simply put, why waste time on regret?

The answer to this is simple, but it's not easy. Sorrow, guilt, and regret - these emotions tell us that there is something fundamentally broken about our world. Whether it's a flaw in ourselves or in what's around us, we are constantly reminded of the stark reality that God's beautiful creation has been stained by sin. We should always attempt to minimize the need for regret, but refusal to acknowledge the reality of the mistakes we have made will lead to dangerous consequences for our consciences. Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that there is "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance".

That said, negative emotions are not necessarily good in themselves. To disregard them flaunts the imperfections of this world, but that does not mean we should dwell on them. We must acknowledge our sins, yet we must also remember that they have been forgiven. The guilt we feel should not consume us - instead, it should serve to highlight God's grace all the more. It is through knowing our guilt that we are shown our need for a saviour.

There is also a danger in allowing our guilt to define our lives. This can lead down different paths: some may use their awareness of their sins as an excuse for future wrongdoing, reasoning that if they are sinful by nature, there is no point in fighting it. Others may choose to wallow in their guilt, letting it consume them and rejecting any possibility of redemption, believing themselves to be beyond hope. Both of these, however, trivialize the immensity of God's grace. He is infinitely greater than any sin we could ever commit.

We should not reject any emotion out of hand, regardless of how unpleasant it may be. Whether it is regret or pride, sorrow or joy, these all serve a valuable purpose in analyzing the world around us. But when we let one emotion rule our lives, then we gain a twisted perspective of both God and His creation.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


Why do you believe in God?

Well, maybe you don't. That's fair enough. Although in that case, I would ask: why don't you believe in God? And no, this isn't an attempt to shift the burden of proof to proving that God doesn't exist.

Well, I'm sure anyone with an opinion on the matter managed to come up with some sort of answer to those questions quickly enough. So here's another one: why, or why not, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Again, I'm sure most people can provide a response one way or another.

So here's something to consider. Why did the early Christians believe that Jesus was the Son of God? As a matter of fact, that question is one of the most important to consider in regards to salvation, the veracity of the Bible, and even the existence of God.

You see, many people will answer those first two questions with something along the lines of "the Bible tells me so". It may vary, some may provide more details than others, and some may provide additional evidence. But ultimately, the main factor in the vast majority of people's beliefs will be the Bible. And that's certainly not a bad thing - because the Bible IS how we should know these things. The real question is: why should we believe the Bible?

That's where a lot of people, both Christian or not, trip up. Atheists, especially, like to say that Christians believe that the Bible is infallible because God said so, and they know that's true because the Bible said so, and so on. This is, of course, circular reasoning. However, it's also a straw man, because a good case can be made for the reliability of the Bible based on objective reasoning and historical evidence.

So, let's get back to that third question. Why did the early Christians believe that Jesus was the Son of God? Paul actually directly states this in 1 Corinthians 15, and in no uncertain terms: 

"Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable."

Paul makes it abundantly clear that his faith, and the faith of the entire early church, rested entirely and completely on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. He even goes so far as to say that if it is not true, then Christians are "of all men the most pitiable". So what relevance does the critical importance of their belief in the resurrection have for us?

It tells us that the early Christians believed so strongly in that resurrection that they were willing to die for it. To be tortured, crucified, and killed. And this wasn't based on "blind faith". Paul made sure to give the church a reason for the resurrection, earlier in the chapter:

"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time."

Paul was not simply asking the Christians to believe in the resurrection so that they could have hope in Christ. He gave them a reason for that hope. He referenced direct eyewitness testimonies of Jesus being raised from the dead.

The fact that the early church accepted these testimonies is as critical to us today as the testimonies themselves were to their own faith. It tells us that the testimonies were reliable. Their sheer efficacy alone speaks to their reliability, but it's still worthwhile to look into what actually made them reliable.

The main two factors are numbers and profit. First, we know that many people testified to this resurrection. Paul said that Jesus "was seen be over five hundred brethren at once". It's not an accident that he included this number. Five hundred people testifying is a lot. And this isn't new information designed to strengthen an argument - Paul is recapping what he has already told them. Because of this, it's also reasonable to assume that he isn't lying to bolster his claims. It would be far too easily testable for Paul to rest on it if it were false.

The second factor, profit, is actually referring to the complete lack of it. The apostles gained nothing from their ministry. The idea that it might have been a deliberate deception is simply nonsensical. They stood to gain absolutely nothing from it monetarily or socially. In Philippians 1, Paul describes how he rejoices in suffering because it is used to further the gospel, and he condemns those who would preach for reasons other than out of love. And it certainly wouldn't have been a good way to gain the acceptance of their peers: everything they preached was diametrically opposed to the prevailing views of the times. The only explanation for their actions was that to them, "to live is Christ, and to die is gain".

So the early Christians definitely believed in the resurrection of Jesus, and they believed it for good reasons. As I said before, this has pretty major implications for us. The willingness of the apostles to suffer for what they believed, and the belief of the Christians who were not eyewitnesses, indicate a strong historical reliability for the Bible. Given the historical setting, it's not at all reasonable to assume that it was some kind of deception. No one stood to gain from their actions or beliefs at the time.

So, why did the early Christians believe that Jesus was the Son of God? Well, they believed it because He was raised from the dead - which corresponded with the claims He made about Himself while He was alive. And they believed He was raised from the dead because they had numerous reliable eyewitness testimonies about it.

One final question. Why do I believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Well, I believe it because He died for me, and was raised from the dead. And I can know that because the early church died for Him, knowing beyond a doubt that He would then raise them from the dead.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Is Agnosticism a reasonable middle ground?

With the topic of religious truth being so popular these days, many people believe the best course of action is to say "well, we can never really know the truth, so why live as if one stance is objectively true?" This is, while technically philosophically different from atheism, practically speaking the same thing. Assuming we can't really know which religion or lack thereof is true, the default position is to act as if none of them are true. But is this a sensible solution to the often confusing conundrum of religious quandaries? Let's take a look at what it means, using a practical example.

Say you are a sergeant in the US army. Your squad is deep in enemy territory, and you've completed an important mission. At this point, you are attempting to get to a safe zone, but are being followed by many enemy soldiers. You are currently camped in the most defensible position you can find, but you know it won't hold out for long against the enemy. You need to know if there's a way out, so you send out 4 of your best men on reconnaissance, and you also order some other men to interrogate some local villagers. Your presence in this territory is not popular with the locals, so you're not sure if you can trust them. But at this point, you're looking for any option to survive.

Eventually, everyone you have sent out returns. And they all have good news! The men you sent out on reconnaissance all agree on one point: there is a gap in the enemy forces that can be easily exploited to escape. You will have to take your squad through as quickly as possible, though, because the enemy intends to close in soon.

The men you sent to interrogate the villagers also have good news, but theirs is different from what your spies brought back. Their reports also, for the most part, don't agree among themselves. Some of them say that there is another way out through the soldiers - this is a popular claim, but most of them are pointing in completely different directions. A few even say that the enemy is actually not there at all! They claim that they left some time ago - or maybe were never there to begin with.

Now, as the commanding officer, you are left with a choice. You are responsible for the lives of every man in your squad. You can listen to the testimony of your spies. They have been shown to be reliable in other matters, and you have no reason to doubt them now. Except, of course, that their testimony is different from the varying claims of the villagers. If you wish, you could trust the locals, even though their stories vastly differ among themselves. But why not just pick the one you like best? The claim that the enemy doesn't even exist is particularly attractive. After all, you haven't really seen any of the enemy yet personally - you've been focused on staying as far away as possible. Perhaps you can stroll back to base camp unharmed, without worrying about the possibility of being shot.

One thing is certain, though. The only decision that you can't make is to stay where you are. If there is an enemy, they will be attacking soon. And if there is not an enemy right now, then they will eventually find you. And your soldiers have homes and families to go back to. You need to make sure they survive. To do this, you can choose to trust any of the testimonies presented to you - but you absolutely cannot stay where you are. Sure, it's impossible to really know which option is true. But the choice of no choice is guaranteed to have consequences. You will stagnate in your camp until you die, one way or another. The choice of no choice is the choice of throwing your life away - and the lives of all of your men.

Agnosticism is choosing to take no action in the face of incredibly important consequences. Even if you choose to believe that there is no God, then you are at least being intellectually honest. The consequences will be exactly the same as if you chose no choice, but they will be the result of a real choice. And it's not even a particularly difficult choice! The testimony found in the gospels is presented by reliable eyewitnesses. Truth be told, they are some of the best historical documents available to us. (Seriously, click the link up there. If you get that book you will not regret it.)

In Revelation 3:15-16, God sent a message to the church in Laodicea. He said "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth." That's agnosticism. Lukewarm water. It's not a "safe" middle ground - it's the choice to either condemn your squad, or make them wait for nothing.