I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. I’ve gone into this subject before. One, you have to believe that something came from nothing. I have a hard time with that one.

In the past, I also dealt with things you’d have to believe to explain away the apparitions at Fatima. That’s pretty comical.

But I recently learned about something called the “Third Man Syndrome.”

You might have learned about Ernest Shackleton and his team’s 1916 Antarctic ill fated exploration which got ugly fast after their ship, the Endurance, became trapped in ice. They were stuck and starving to death so Shackleton and two companions, Tom Crean and Frank Worsley, embarked on a journey across th sea, mountain ranges, and glaciers to a whaling station in Stromness Bay.

It was a grueling journey and Shackleton wrote of the experience. In his writing, he credited their survival to a fourth unseen traveler. He said he felt a presence with them. This presence offered hope and even direction.

“I know that during that long and racking march of thirty-six hours over the unnamed mountains and glaciers of South Georgia it seemed to me often that we were four, not three,” Shackleton wrote in “South,” his book about the expedition.

Frank Worsley also wrote of the same experience.

“There was indeed one thing about our crossing of South Georgia, a thing which I have never been able to explain. Whenever I reviewed the incidents of that march I had the sub-conscious feeling that there were four of us, instead of three,” wrote Worsley, per the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

You might be asking why it’s called the “Third Man Syndrome” when Shackleton clearly calls it a fourth man. Well, that’s because TS Eliot read Shackleton’s book and it inspired him to write a part of his epic “The Wasteland.”

He wrote:

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
—But who is that on the other side of you?

Thus it cam to be known as the third man syndrome. This is not an isolated incident. Myriad adventurers and others who experienced life-threatening circumstances share similar tales. They speak of another, sometimes unseen person, that offered guidance and support and helped them to safety.

Now, to a Christian, all of this makes obvious sense. We believe in God. We believe in angels. We believe those who’ve passed on continue to exist. We pray for them.

But to those of a purely materialistic viewpoint, one has to come up with some pretty fancy explanations.

They say things such as the third man syndrome is simply a biochemical reaction to misfiring brain activity. It is a Darwinian machination helping us to survive. You see, our brain invents another to offer us support and encouragement.

Interestingly, in the case of Shackleton, more than one of them heard the same voice so that’s a pretty neat trick to have both of them sharing the same Darwinian induced hallucination. But you see, thee materialist has to say this. They have to believe something unbelievable in order to continue not believing in God.

And then they call it science.

Me? I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.