Thank God for Atheists

A Review of Enlightenment Now

Yes, you read that right: Thank God for Atheists. This title was prompted by a book I just finished called Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker.

Thank God for Atheists

The thesis is that the Enlightenment—a philosophical movement led by great thinkers like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson—ushered in a new way of thinking that greatly benefited humanity.

Great Achievements

The United States was born in the Enlightenment. Enlightenment ideas have cured diseases, created wealth and promoted democracy.

While the book is beautifully written and thoughtful, it has one glaring weakness. Pinker is an atheist with little interest in God. He believes progress comes solely from human ingenuity rather than divine inspiration and guidance. But here’s the problem: The notion of light guiding us forward—of human beings guided by light toward the truth—rests in the Bible.

God Creates Light

Remember that God creates the world with the following words: “Let there be light.” [see this earlier post on the power of light) Light began as a gift from God. God gave us the means to create, improve, and progress.

In other words, an enlightened world is a better world, and the source of that great light is God. Still, despite Pinker’s avowed atheism, I am grateful for this book. It reminds us that ideas matter. And faith matters. Sometimes a person without faith reminds us of how important and powerful it is.

The Secret of King Solomon’s Bracelet

What did it say?

There are many legends about King Solomon's bracelet. But the most important part of it was not its mystical power. It was the inscription.

King Solomon's Bracelet

When times were good, he looked at the inscription. When times got tough, he looked at it. When he celebrated, he looked at it. When he mourned, he looked at it.

Somehow, the words on King Solomon’s bracelet always had the right message at the right time.

What were those words? They were not a prayer. They were not a biblical quotation. They were a simple phrase he heard from wise man.

King Solomon’s bracelet read “This, too, shall pass.”

Why did these words bring so much comfort? Because they capture life’s fundamental truth. Our greatest gift is time, but time passes.

In times of joy, we may think they will last forever. They won’t.

But the opposite is also true. When we are going through a struggle, we think it will never end. It will. But it, too, shall pass.

You may be familiar with the proverb that you cannot step in the same river twice. Well, the truth is that you cannot step in the same river once. Once you step into it, you have changed it.

All we have the present moment, and once we recognize it, that moment has passed.

So what do we have? Our only permanence comes through the God who created us, sustains us, and shines through us.

Does God Care About the Super Bowl?

Does God care who wins the Super Bowl? Do you?

god super bowl

Well, if you’re from Philadelphia or Boston you might.

But I don’t think God does. I don’t think God is waiting to see which teams prays harder.

But what about the pre-game prayers? What about the pastors who come into the locker rooms? Do they matter?

I think we can find some guidance from what Tim Tebow said. Tebow was often criticized for his wearing his faith so proudly. He prayed before each game with devotion and consistently.

But here’s what he also said: He said he does not pray to win the game. He prays he makes the right decisions. He prays for guidance.

That’s something each of us can do.

God may not have a favorite team. But God does have a favorite book. And that book is our guide to a life of ultimate victory.

With warmest wishes, Rabbi Evan

P.S.: You can still get the Happiness Prayer for $2.99 on Amazon! It’ll make good half-time reading.