The most enduring and intuitively appealing of the traditional arguments for the existence of God is the argument from design. It manifests in non-arguments like “intelligent design theory,” which basically says, “When explanatory schemes give out, add God and stir — the old “God of the gaps” strategy; and in more sophisticated formulations such as the “anthropic principle,” which explores the astronomically improbable odds that various physical constants would converge within the narrow ranges that have allowed the emergence of life, or even a physically stable universe. Personally, I think that none of these arguments hold up; they all bear the aroma of “arguing backwards from the results.” (ask me sometime). But whether I´m sharing “spiritual” counsel from the unprovable but enduring metaposition of faith, or simply describing the habits of a healthy psyche, my very best advice is to give thanks,
to live gratefully, generously, magnanimously. Even in the age of Trump, be grateful. Even within the possible surge of the sixth great extinction, be grateful. Even as your heart aches for the refugees, the victims of war and trafficking, those caught up in Kafkaesque immigration proceedings, be grateful. (And get busy.) Grateful people will live purposefully and die with few regrets.m And the world will sing their coming and going.
Epilogue: Diana Butler Bass, church historian and eloquent commentator upon contemporary faith and culture has a new book out: Grateful: the Transformative Power of Giving Thanks. In a recent New York Times op-ed piece, she reminded us that even the act of giving thanks can be weaponized, citing President Trump´s recent declaration the the United States, under his leadership, had done “a great job” ridding the Middle East of ISIS, and where is the “Thank you, America?” Gratitude that is veiled complaint and blame is toxic. “Blessed are the pure in heart,” says Jesus. So to rejigger the Gospel chorus for this cynical age, I say, “Give thanks, with a guileless heart.”