"But I Don't Want to Graduate!"

  Sometimes the world outside looks really scary, and even though our cover picture was taken of our daughter Wendy when she was graduating from one level of a Bible School program to another, many of us move from one stage of life to another with the same reluctance. Some people never grow out of being a teenager and view their marriage about the same way they did "going steady." The "empty nest" syndrome can motivate us to be overprotective, but turning loose is one of those major graduation steps. Even old age is a graduation step that many of us fight in spite of its inevitability--and yet people spend enormous amounts of money to try to at least delay it. Our society is in denial of the final graduation that all of us will make whether we like it or not--death. A vast percentage of money spent on medical help in our society is spent on people in their last year of life. We continue to develop mechanical ways of perpetuating life, with little or no concern as to whether the quality of that person's life is high enough to justify the effort or expense.

We would suggest that a major part of the medical problems and of the extreme fear of death in our society is rooted in a faith problem. We have a difficult time understanding the suicide bombers of the Moslem extremists because at least in part we do not comprehend their level of faith in what will happen to them when they die. If you believed that tying 100 pounds of explosives to your body and detonating them in a certain place would guarantee you 100% surety of being in heaven, would you do it? Our increasingly atheistic culture finds these acts hard to understand, but in reality, they are expressions of total belief.

The Christian system offers the same positive reward system as that expressed by the Moslem fundamentalists, but in a totally constructive way. From the earliest days, the biblical system clearly stated that God had assigned a progression of graduation:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:.a time to. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

We are also told that death is an inevitable graduation.

It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority (Acts 1:7 ).

It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgment ( Hebrews 9:27 ).

The important thing to understand about these promises which some might interpret as harbingers of doom is that they are followed with the same guarantee that the Moslem fundamentalists believe that he has:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (John 1:7 ).

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death ( Romans 8:1-2 ).

The skeptical reader will read this discussion and logically say, "Well, how do you know which of you (the Moslem extremist or the Christian) is right--or if you are both wrong?" This point clearly underlines the vital importance of evidence! If all you know and believe is what your parents taught you, then there is no answer to that question which is any more valid for the Christian than for the Moslem fundamentalist or any other religious or philosophical viewpoint. I was an atheist because I was indoctrinated with that belief system just as the Moslem fundamentalist was indoctrinated with his belief system. The solution is for all of us to look at why we believe what we believe and act on the evidence we find. That does not mean to read a journal like this and blindly accept what is written, but consider the material and analyze its content. This is an attempt to facilitate and provide ideas and approaches, but not an attempt to indoctrinate.

--John N. Clayton

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MayJun02.