A Chaplain and and Atheist go…

This story was the original. This is a letter to the WSJ concerning it.

It is a great mutt & Jeff or odd couple story. A military chaplain who “preaches about divine protection…rejects evolution and believes the earth to be 6000 years old. He carries a large KJV bible with him into a combat zone…” and his specialist assistant who “totes writings of Richard Dawkins…and is a full blown athiest”. The military’s thoughts on the matter, “They don’t have to be religious, they just need to be able to shoot straight.” The combat chaplains assistant is the gun that they don’t carry.

The letter is from Chaplain Wainwright who writes, “it became apparent that the problem with the chaplain and the religious programs specialist has nothing to do with faith or lack thereof but with teamwork and leadership. After two tours of Iraq, three IED hits, mortar attacks and other sundry excitement, I attribute my survivability and sanity both to my faith and to the technical and tactical expertise of my chaplain assistants and the other non-commissioned officers whose guidance and example kept me alive.”

The military, because the stakes are so high and immediate, is often an intensification of everyday life. Everyone who practices a faith strikes a balance between faith and understanding. You could say that even the atheist does that with the balance being anything I don’t understand I don’t believe.

In some ways I’m the odd ball. I’m a Chaplain Wainwright type guy. Let’s get competence and good practices as a base. To me faith doesn’t make up for stupidity, nor does it cover lunacy. Now God might save you from that bullet, God might bless your completely nuts program, but you stand a better chance of that happening by planning for it. That odd ball nature extends into the basis of faith. I believe, but that belief is not just something ungrounded. Read John 14:8-11. “Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.” Our faith is based on something solid. And yes I know that everybody and his brother has published a book debunking the gospels. Guess what, if you are being fair, the gospels hold up. There was a guy named Jesus. He actually did perform miracles. And they nailed him to a cross. The crowds that had followed him were all dispersed. But three days later, he was back. The tomb was empty and he appeared to a bunch of fishermen. Fishermen and a former zealot named Saul who got a special appearance traveled the known world telling just that story. This Jesus came back. That is the work I’ve seen him do.

If I needed complete understanding of something to believe it, I’d never drive a car let alone ride an airplane or type this message on a computer. In the words of an old hymn, “proofs I see sufficient of it, ’tis the true and faithful word.”

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