"So You're a Hard-Core Christian. Why?"

"So from what I can tell, you are a hard-core Christian. Why?"

One of my students had come by my office to chat with me, to ask a lot of questions, but this was one of them. He was a skeptic, and confused about why someone who seemed so intelligent would be a "hard-core Christian."

I answered, "Yes, totally. I'm a hard-core Christian."

"But why?" He still looked confused.

"For three reasons," I responded.

"First, there is a sacred, hallowed texture to life. There is a spiritual backdrop to life that makes it human and meaningful. This sacred, hallowed texture is what makes values values, the beautiful beautiful, the good good, the evil evil, the wonderful wonderful, the meaningful meaningful, the human human. That this sacred texture exists is the most obvious and practical fact of our lives. And yet, search as the materialists might, this sacred texture will never be spotted in the Periodic Table, in the equations of particle physics, or in the telescopes of the astronomers.

In short, if you watch how humans live--their joys, their sorrows, their art, their values, their dreams, their loves--you'll easily see how this sacred texture is the most obvious fact about the world, more factual than anything Stephen Hawking ever described and more practical than anything Steve Jobs ever created.

"Second, religion is the science of this sacred, hallowed texture, the repository of all our discoveries and the techniques of our investigations. In this, religion is the most factual and practical of all the sciences.

"And third, I must be 'hard-core' about these investigations because, at any moment, the sacred texture is not obvious to me. I lose track of it due to my hurry, laziness, selfishness, ignorance, inattention, and emotions, succumbing to anger or fear. Consequently, noting and discerning the grain of the sacred texture in any moment requires focused attention, vigilance, discipline, training, practice, knowledge, accountability, and commitment. Only the 'hard-core' will be able to see and pick up the thread in the hurry, confusion, chaos, and noise. If you aren't 'hard-core' you'll be jerked around by your desires, ignorance, stress, and the powers-that-be like a puppet on a string, like a leaf blowing in the wind."

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