What if we approached the question of God’s existence not as an “I’m right, you’re wrong” argument, but through the recognition that people interpret signs around them in different ways. So you can interpret the world around you as though there is no God, but in this series of posts, Branson Parler touches on a few signs that make him connect the dots.

This Part 1 of a three part series on Signs of God. Access the rest of the series here:

Justice Shows Us God’s Among Us | The Pursuit of Happiness | Why Get Up in the Morning?


 

 

The recently-released Exodus movie is something of a barometer about how many of us think about God and God’s interaction with us. How so? Well, throughout the entire movie, it’s an open question whether God or coincidence is driving this whole story.

 

Did Moses have a vision of God or was he suffering the aftereffects of a concussion?

 

Were the plagues a sign of divine justice or a chain of events set off by a freak alligator frenzy on the Nile?

 

Did God part the waters of the Red Sea or was it a meteor-induced phenomenon? (By the way, most people see these questions as “either/or” but they could just as easily be “both/and.”)

 

Viewers are left thinking that the one thing we can be certain about is that nothing can be certain. There’s always the possibility that God could be explained away.

 

There’s always the possibility that God could be explained away.

 

I get that. There are no arguments to prove 100 percent, lockdown, no doubt that God is real. Instead, I want to offer up some reflections on what I see as signs, pointers to God. Is it possible to explain these things as coincidence? Sure. Lots of people do. But like the movie Exodus, we are haunted by the fact that nothing can be certain, and so maybe, just maybe, these might be signs and pointers to something beyond coincidence.

 

Oddly enough, avowed atheist Richard Dawkins helps us explore one of these signs that point toward the existence of God. If God is really real, Dawkins often asks, why doesn’t he show up when we ask for proof? As a scientist, Dawkins wants physical evidence as proof that God is real. Most people would classify Dawkins’ worldview as “naturalism” or “materialism”—the only thing that’s real is matter in motion.

 

Dawkins, however, is also an avid advocate for justice. He is so anti-religious because in his mind religion is a key source of violence and injustice in the world. You may or may not agree with him on that point, but bracket that concern for now and ask yourself this: have you ever seen justice? Now, I don’t mean to ask whether you have seen a just action or a just person. Have you seen justice itself? Is justice “matter in motion”? Can you see justice itself with your eyes? Can you smell it, taste it, or touch it? I can’t. Richard Dawkins can’t either. There isn’t a chemistry lab in the world where you can bottle it, no MRI test that can reveal it, and no telescope or microscope that can locate it.

 

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,

 

 

For a materialist, that’s a little odd, isn’t it? After all, American society is organized around the concept of justice and human rights. It’s in the Bill of Rights and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. We fight for rights like free speech, freedom to assemble, and freedom of religion (and the right to party—I see you, Beastie Boys). But how are these verified and confirmed? Certainly not by the scientific method. Much as we might think otherwise, I think our convictions about justice show that even people like Dawkins—committed atheists—operate by fixing their eyes on what is unseen. It may not confirm that there is a God, but if justice is real, it certainly is true that what is real cannot be reduced to what is seen with our physical eyes.

 

I think our convictions about justice show that even people like Dawkins—committed atheists—operate by fixing their eyes on what is unseen.

 

Now, one option is to go the route taken by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He thought any talk of justice or morality was just an invention made up by slaves (see: Moses, Exodus). Weak people invented justice as a weapon to use on the strong. I can’t make Pharaoh set the slaves free? I’ll call it “injustice” to try to manipulate people in power to change.

 

Can you buy that? Is Nietzsche right? Is justice just an invention of the weak? Maybe. Is justice just something Martin Luther King Jr. used to try to manipulate the powers that be? Maybe it was and maybe he did. But maybe he was in tune with something deep, deeper than eyes can see. What do you think?

 

Are people working against child sex slavery and human trafficking just trying to manipulate modern-day slave owners? Maybe they are. But maybe those taking up this fight against modern-day slavery are operating in line with something deep, something they didn’t invent but something that actually encompasses them, giving them this drive to do what they do. What do you think?

 

But maybe those taking up this fight against modern-day slavery are operating in line with something deep, something they didn’t invent but something that actually encompasses them, giving them this drive to do what they do.

 

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that people and cultures around the world have some idea of justice (even if they disagree about what qualifies as just or unjust). Maybe philosophers and political activists from Plato to Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King were just flukes. Maybe when we emphasize the need to do justice to others, we’re just manipulating people.

 

But what if it’s a sign of something more? What if there’s a reason we seem wired to seek justice or, at the very least, to be angry when someone does us wrong? What if it’s not just an accidental by-product of matter in motion or an invention of Bronze Age Hebrew slaves?

 

Regardless of what you think you believe, watch how you act and ask yourself: how does the unseen reality of justice drive what I do today? I’d wager it’s going to be more than you might think.

 


 

This Part 1 of a three part series on Signs of God. Access the rest of the series here:

Justice Shows Us God’s Among Us | The Pursuit of Happiness | Why Get Up in the Morning?