Incredible.

Fog in Rio. It’s moments like these that blow my mind. Because the average Christian sees it and says “It’s a miracle!” True. The average atheist sees it and says, “It’s an admittedly sweet event, but not outside the realms of good probability!” Also true. So what are we to make of la epicness?

Exactly what I talked about in my last post, How To Convert. The miracle is that we are struck, atheist and theist alike. The miracle is that we care, when no other life-form seems to. The miracle is that we live in a world where it is entirely possible that clouds may roll like hills bearing a Victorious Christ, that we recognize the image, and that we are made speechless by a particular mass of water molecules located in a particular place. In an atheistic world, there is no excuse for awe. Awe is the recognition – however dim – of that which we cannot comprehend. It is a good sign that man was made for more than material clouds and trees, if mere clouds and trees send his mind soaring upwards.

It is a great freedom to realize this. So very often we, as Christians, seek the miracles of God. We seek his intervention in our life, his signs and wonders, his miraculous gifts and charisms. And don’t get me wrong, all of these are Very Good Things. But how often are we like children surrounded by toys and screaming for toys?

The reality is our very being is miraculous. Our intellect and rationality is the bizarre intervention of God. Our ability love is a thing entirely dependent on Him. The beauty in the world is the mark of the Creator, the ever-renewing, ever-renewed breath of the Holy Spirit. Don’t get down on yourself if you’re not experiencing mind-blowing daily miracles: the only difference between your ability to read a book and your ability to walk on water is that people are impressed by the latter.

As a side note, I think the above picture is a pretty good sign that WYD 2013 in Rio is going to be terrifyingly awesome.

  • PSParker

    Isn’t this the statue in Brazil?

    • Marc Barnes

      Yep! Cloud came down!

  • Dan

    Marc, fantastic posts as always. I have been an avid reader for a few weeks now and have delved far back into some of your older posts in the hopes of “catching up!”

    Your comments here and in “How to Convert” inspired me and reminded me of recent experiences. I have been deployed to Afghanistan 3 times and have been a witness to both extremes of war; our inspiring capacity for compassion, and our predeliction for voilence and hate. When exposed to these extremes, the beautiful sights around me (the sun rising over 10,000 foot peaks in eastern Afghanistan, morning frost, etc) seemed all the more sacred, for lack of a better word. I was able to, as you put it, see myself more clearly as a result of the extremes all around me.

    Thank you again for a great perspective!

  • Matt Emerson

    “In an atheistic world, there is no excuse for awe. Awe is the recognition – however dim – of that which we cannot comprehend.”

    This is transparently untrue and, strictly speaking, incredible. Atheists and agnostics are some of the first people who recognize there are things we cannot comprehend. Many indeed feel awe at the immensity of the beauty and mystery in the universe — it’s often the reason they are turned toward searching for a creator.

    It is a gift of God, actually, that He has permitted us a sense of the “mysterium tremendum” without requiring us to believe in Him as a precondition.

    I would also wager that some atheists probably feel an even greater awe and appreciation for the magnitude and majesty of existence and the universe because they are not as quick as some believers to try to fit the world into schemes and systems.

    • Marc

      there’s no excuse for awe, I’m not saying awe doesn’t exist for the atheist.
      peace!

    • Virgil

      Atheist here.

      Yeah, that pretty much sums it up, except for the bit about searching for a creator. The scientifically inclined nonbeliever puts a creator as just one possibility among many. It’s best not to pre-decide what you’re looking for, because then you’ll start fitting the facts to your favorite theory, and not the other way around.

  • Beatrice

    That picture is REALLY great and beautiful! It also makes me SO excited for World Youth Day 2013!!


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