By: McKenzie Hahn
Life doesn’t come full circle very often. Most of us come and go about our days expecting them all to be the same forever, or we bide our time until the next best thing comes along. But every once in a while, we get a glimpse of the grand tapestry, the threads that our lives are trying to weave. It’s not just loose ends and unfinished business; it’s a story with purpose and meaning, told by a master storyteller. Like a father who gets to walk his daughter down the aisle to start a new family. A teacher mentors the child of a former student. An office manager hires an employee for the position she started in.
On Thursday, March 7th, along with an amazing group of volunteers from the University of Calgary’s Christian Unity Team, Faith Beyond Belief, and BIOLA University, I had the good fortune of bringing in Dr. William Lane Craig to address an audience with the topic “Is the Material World All There Is?” Weeks of planning, preparation, and advertising (aided by the Freethinkers’ counter-campaign) came to life and suddenly I found myself standing at the back of the room with the rest of the organizers, nervously feeding off the buzz in the room waiting for Dr. Craig to speak; a mixture of excitement and disappointment that we’d gone over capacity.
If you had told me, in 2007, that I’d one day be on campus helping to orchestrate an event for one of the world’s top defenders of the Christian faith, I would have mocked you to both to your face and behind your back, and probably would have suggested some urgent psychoanalysis. All I knew of the faith were the snippets and quotes pulled from books like The God Delusion and A Brief History of Time. I certainly wanted nothing to do with the church (all hypocrites), with religion (burdensome and bigoted), or with God (why bother with something that science had disproven?), unless it involved pointing out how utterly intellectually bankrupt they all were.
That was the year I found out that not all suicidal people are irrational. If, for example, there is no real purpose to life that lasts after death, and if we are all simply accidents of matter travelling through time and space, then what was the point? Why prolong the inevitable, or wait until we’re a burden on the people dear to us? Plus my generation had, in the span of just over a decade, seen the Oklahoma city bombing, Columbine, 9/11, world-record-setting natural disasters, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The world was not getting safer like our parents had promised.
Then a friend introduced me to the Q&A section of the Reasonable Faith website, among other resources. I felt like, after a long season of holding my breath underwater, someone had handed me an oxygen mask. I read as much as I could get my hands on, as much as my eyes could take and as if my life depended on it – because for the first time in my life, it actually did.
Dr. Craig laid it all out on the table the night of the 7th – the kalam cosmological argument, the fine-tuning of the universe, the ontological argument, the moral argument, the historical resurrection of Jesus, the personal experience of God… most on his resume of arguments. Arguments I first encountered late at night alone in my bedroom, too ashamed of what I was reading to be seen viewing it in public or on a break at work. For a moment, just before Dr. Craig took the stage, it was like I was back in that room opening Reasonable Faith for the first time, and I realized that life had come full circle – that now I was the one helping to introduce instead of being introduced.
So for anyone else out there wondering whether you’re on the right path, doing the right thing, asking the right questions: keep seeking the truth, and no matter what happens follow the truth where ever it leads. The road may not always make sense, and it may take years before some of your questions are answered, but genuine gratitude and accomplishment does not come from arriving at a destination without having first gone on a journey. And finding the truth is easily worth the journey, it will transform and possibly save your life, as it did for me.