June 05, 2007

Jacob Vs. Esau

Isn't it amazing, and this really is true in life, that no matter who our parents our and no matter what our common upbringing may be, that two siblings can come to radically different conclusion about the nature of life and it's meanings.

Christopher Hitchens recently wrote a book titled "God Is Not Great - How Religion Poisons Everything" that is causing some uproar and now his brother Peter has come out with an article speaking out against his own brother.

You really do have to read this article as it is truly amazing. One of the things that I find most striking is the similarity it has to my own family situation in many ways. I love my family dearly, including my brother, half-sister, and step-brother. We have endured many trials together and those trials have brought us extremely close together even though we see each other all at once very infrequently.

But this article might as well have been written about me and my siblings. While I don't think they would claim to be atheists (at least I think they wouldn't), they have very little use for faith at all. Since my conversion at the age of 20, we have been on extremely divergent paths and the gulf of our worldviews has done nothing but continue to widen. I wouldn't say that it's caused us to have animosity for one another, but more of a "cordial" tolerance of the opposing viewpoints.

The really curious thing is how to explain all of this. We all essentially grew up in the same situation. Faced the same set of circumstances. Had the same parental influences (for the most part), lived in the same area, enjoyed the same comforts of life and yet I am extremely passionate about my faith (not perfect about it, just passionate) and my siblings are simply not. How then do you explain it? Why does environment have such different effects on people?

My wife's father has a pet saying that he uses quite often which says "They didn't have a chance", referring to people's environment when it is bad and using it as a pointer to why someone has led a messed up life. I've always in some sense really disagreed with that. Jacob and Esau had the exact same Creator, the exact same parents, the exact same situation, yet before they were ever born "Jacob have I loved, Esau I have hated".

My belief is that it is God who gives faith, and it is God who gives the ability to believe and be passionate about Him. Now the larger question is and the one to ask yourself and think about because it will lead you ultimately to the Gospel and "Amazing Grace".

Why did God pick me and not my brother?

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