Member Testimony: Conversations
Member Testimony: Conversations
Captain Greg Horn
A message from the Pastor- As I was thinking about what to write this month, this testimony from Cpt. Greg Horn, a physician from the Army Medical Corp arrived in my inbox. He shared it in church on May 26, but I wanted the congregation to have a chance to read it, too. While Greg writes of the profound influence of Dennis Prager, you will note that the way had been paved by countless conversations and contacts prior to his exposure to Prager. I am a firm believer that God’s grace works in the world and in us to prepare the way for us to come to God in faith. Just remember that your influence, your conversations may pave to way for someone to come to faith. Now read Greg’s story. It is powerful! Love, Pastor Martha
I could accurately be described both as having been born into faith and coming to the church late as an adult. I was baptized just after birth, attended a Catholic primary school until I was 8, and had not only attended weekly services but read the Bible multiple times before I was 10. But faith is “the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) and should “not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5). It is a continual process, a verb, and at some point I stopped.
As I learned about history and science on my path through advanced education, I made the same mistake that so many thinkers of the past have made. I began to think that mankind could reason it all out with logic, that faith was a crutch used to prop up the bits of the world’s origins that we couldn’t yet explain. People who clung to their faith I viewed as seeking an anesthetic for times of doubt, grief, or crisis. I thought how silly it must be to need a grand director to the world who intervenes in our lives. During this time, conversations on faith didn’t interest me much but I had noted how all of the people I chose as friends happened to be people of faith.
Furthermore, as I went through my medical training I had some truly remarkable experiences. I saw children born including my own. I spent time with homeless veterans bound to a ventilator and confined to a bed awaiting their inevitable death. I worked 48 hour shifts in the trauma center tending to those who suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves clinging to life. And more than just witnessing these people, I spoke with them and many of them talked about their faith.
My skepticism was stubborn but my return to the church had begun and it accelerated with the most unlikely of advocates, an Orthodox Jewish talk radio host named Dennis Prager. The writer of The Rational Bible, Prager argues that belief in God is rational because creation itself “rationally suggests a Creator.” He pointed out on one radio show how the fundamental constants of the universe must be tuned just as they are for our existence to be possible. Intrigued, I read more from a physicist who agreed that a millionth of a trillionth more gravity and the whole of everything would have never expanded to create planets and stars but remained a dense ball of nothingness. A similarly infinitesimal fraction less gravity and there would have been no great coalescence into planets, just a cloud of dust in an endless moat of darkness. The same impossible balance exists for the charges of protons and electrons, the nuclear forces, the speed of light, and a hundred other constants of the universe that we are totally ignorant of but remain absolutely vital to our very existence. The belief that organisms and DNA formed out of swirls of acid in a primordial pool randomly combining without the hand of the divine now seems profoundly unscientific to me.
In another radio hour, Mr. Prager discussed the origins of morality. He talked about how now the majority of people “rely on their own heart” or sympathies to determine right and wrong. He reported that this is superficially moral because such people have an aversion to violence and hate. However, there is an arrogance to elevate one’s own self to believe their heart knows better than thousands of years of accumulated wisdom and the words of God. Truthfully, “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9) and many great evils from the Holocaust to the Chinese “Cultural Revolution” have been produced from mankind’s belief we can work out what’s right on our own. God is necessary for morality, as Mr. Prager says because “without God these terms are no more than personal and subjective descriptions of actions we like or dislike.“
Finally, Mr. Prager spoke about what he called the “miracles of everyday lives.” He described the miracles of a sunrise or that any one person would be born, the product of an unlikely union of parents and reproduction. It is a miracle that we continue to draw breath and that we can enjoy civilization. He talked about the million miracles we write off to chance and coincidence every day. Shortly after listening to his words I was part of a miracle I could not deny. I held my infant son as he turned blue and stopped breathing, his face swollen and distorted. Michael has an allergy to peanuts that we could not have known about in advance. His airway closed and an ambulance would never have arrived in time to save him. I gave him medications and hoped and prayed but I also knew that those who suffer anaphylaxis at home almost never live. He did. Later that night, after the adrenaline faded, I held Michael in my arms and thought about how many other miracles I had seen. How many I was part of but had not recognized because of my narrow vision.
I thank God that he “so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16) and I thank him just as much that I did not have to give mine. I thank God for giving me medicine to alleviate pain and help others to live. I thank God for the everyday miracles all around us that make up our universe, allow us to live beside each other morally, and to enjoy a sunrise. I thank God for the simple work that Mr. Prager did to advocate for faithfulness on his talk show and that my ears truly heard him during my drives to work so that I could begin to regain my faith.