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                Recently, famed astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, sent out two tweets that summed up the problem many atheists face – that there is no real meaning for our existence. (I believe that there are two main types of atheists – those who reject God on the basis of science; and atheists who reject God because they do not like what God might represent in their lives. Unfortunately, they both find themselves in the same place.) On Christmas, Tyson tweeted, ”Merry Christmas to the world’s 2.5 billion Christians. And to the remaining 5 billion people, including Muslims Atheists Hindus, Buddhists Animists & Jews, Happy Monday.” On New Year’s, he tweeted, “Not that anybody’s asked, but New Year’s Day on the Gregorian Calendar is a cosmically arbitrary event, carrying no Astronomical significance at all.”

            Factually there is not a single thing he said that is wrong. Christmas was on a Monday whether you celebrated it or not, and New Year’s Day does not carry any real astronomical significance. The issue is not the validity of such statements, but the heart behind those kinds of statements (it would be interesting to see if he would be willing to make such a bold statement about a Muslim holiday.)

            What is the heart behind such statements? I believe, and having read more from him and those who believe similarly to him, the true issue is significance. If Christmas is just a Monday (and not the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus, or a day we just celebrate being with our families) then does any day have any significance? If New Year’s Day does not matter scientifically, then does your birthday (the same truth holds – your date of birth is just an arbitrary day that you had very little to do with.)  Why celebrate your birthday if it only means that is started the countdown to the day you die? Your death is the end. There is nothing more after that. No day matters. No need to celebrate any event since only the Cosmos matters, and there is nothing you can do about any of it.

            The sad truth is, there are many people all around us who have this worldview. They try to find significance in anything they can, but if they have to be honest, all they can do is recognize that it is all fleeting or just by chance. Could you imagine living a life where the grave actually is the end? Could you imagine living as if nothing you do really matters? All your achievements will be forgotten shortly after the dirt covers you (for a good Biblical view of this type of life, read Ecclesiastes. The author clearly reminds us that this type of life is meaningless, just a vapor that exists for a time, then it is gone with nothing left.)

            What is our response to this? Should we scold them for not believing as we do? Should we pity them for their fatalism? Mock them for their doubts? No, we cannot do any of these. We will let them do that to us, but we must do something different. We must bring Jesus into their lives. The only real answer for life is Jesus. Apart from him, life really is meaningless. We really are just here today and gone tomorrow. When we introduce people to Jesus, we bring significance into their lives. We bring hope into their lives.

            Our excitement for evangelism (we should be excited to tell the story of Jesus) is not just to keep people from Hell, as good as it is, but also to bring real truth and meaning into their lives. Those around us need to know that life is not just random chance, but a divine plan from God. A divine plan that He has for each of us. A plan of significance with hope, joy, and a promise of life beyond death. 

MJ

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