One thing that comes up when I am discussing the existence of God with my 9th grade religion class is the idea that faith (not just belief, but trust in God) is much more conducive to human flourishing than the alternative. We see how Faith can change lives and transform people, and when we embrace it ourselves, our faith is confirmed by similar changes in our own lives.
It’s a tough sell. Unfortunately, militant atheism is a bit trendy these days, due in large part to the success of prophets of nothingness such as insect biologist Richard Dawkins (whom I previously discussed here). A number of my current students have become enamored of the atheist worldview, and are always demanding “proof” - in this case, that faith supports life, and life abundantly, while atheism does not.
The proof is there for those with eyes to see. This past weekend, for instance, I attended our state Right To Life convention with my lovely bride and two of our sons. The Keynote speaker was a man named George Michael Lane who wrote book called A Different Kind of Perfect, about his daughter Amy. Amy has Down's Syndrome. In his talk, Lane described his struggle of conscience when he and his wife Thea received an in utero diagnosis of their daughter’s condition. He wrestled mightily with the temptation to seek an abortion, but he was finally convinced by his parish priest to put his trust in God, who forbids us to take innocent life.
Lane’s life since has been abundantly rewarded. Amy is a beautiful young woman who plays the viola, has an encyclopedic knowledge of musicals and old movies, and infectiously spreads love through her family and beyond. We spoke at length with Amy after the talk and can confirm that she is as delightful as her proud father claims she is. She is a living reminder to us that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
Which brings us back to the aforementioned Dawkins. I couldn’t help but think of the last time I had heard of him in the news. This past summer, in response to a woman who was wondering what she would do if her child were diagnosed before birth with Down’s Syndrome, the esteemed insect biologist tweeted back: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” No Amy for him.
All I can say is that it’s a good thing George Lane went to a priest for advice, and not to Richard Dawkins. And whose world would you rather live in: Amy’s, or Dawkins’?