I have to start out here and say that I have a bit of a rocky history with atheists. I can think of a couple off the top of my head and if they ever deemed me worthy to follow on Facebook or even if I ever become world-wide famous and they end up seeing this blog – again, proof of the miraculous, I’m sure – they would VERY WELL KNOW WHO THEY ARE!! (Or at least, I hope they do and they haven’t forgotten me…although I’m pretty sure the argumentative/stalkeresque/weirdo/snob Christian stereotype I’ve left behind is indeed a very lasting one). But all in all, it’s more of a rocky history because of what they did and said and not the creepy, said-something-the-wrong-way incidents I did. YES I AM BLAMING THEM. And I have every right to in the world, if I choose to adopt their way of thinking. Just because I’m a Christian does not mean I have to be ‘nice’ when ‘nice’ is not warranted. That’s how we end up with more bad drivers on the road, even if there are less accidents.
But anyway, my point is this. When it comes to Christianity, I believe in a God who has created me, has said I was good (although my self-deprecating humor tends to forget that), and has given me certain powers. I have free will, to choose to love him and (try to) follow his will. Part of that will is telling others about him and his desire to save humanity from themselves and the devil. As a Christian, I am called to tell others about Jesus, as weird and as illogical and awkward as that sounds to the unchristian.
When it comes to atheism, they are just as passionate about their disbelief as I should be about my belief. And I have to admit, it is an attractive offer they are preaching: No church Sunday morning, to start off, and no bad feelings about watching Family Guy. I would not have to feel bad about anything, because right and wrong would be completely relative and subjective. I wouldn’t have to ask for forgiveness for punching you for no reason, taking your stuff, throwing up all over you, writing a book with characters in it who resemble you, and/or telling you to go to hell, which would only be laughable. I could also steal, lie, cheat, and kill. I would have trust issues far worse than I do now. Money would color a lot more of my decisions, since money is the key to power. I could have sex (cover your eyes/ears, children) without care. I could abort anything without wondering if it was the right thing to do or not. I would finally have proper incentive to learn hacking. And I would NEVER EVER have to admit I was wrong about ANYTHING.
Thinking just that would be enough to convince people maybe we are not ready for a godless society yet, I’m sure.
But I do want to assert that I GET IT. I GET WHY you want it. There are days I want to believe it too, although I still know it’s not true. You don’t want to think someone is out there controlling your life. You don’t want to be held responsible for your actions. You don’t want to have a crutch. You don’t like some of the stuff God’s let happen to people. You don’t like Christians (GOD I TOTALLY GET THIS ONE – SOME [MOST] OF US ARE ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE! I COULD SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE APOLOGIZING FOR THIS ONE AND I WOULDN’T MAKE A DENT IN THE APOLOGY LIST). You think God is a bully. God took someone or something away from you and you hate him for it. Life is too random to be all connected. Life is too unfair for a supreme being of justice to be ruling it. Maybe for you, God shouldn’t have to be the standard for love or family or fairness in your life.
I GET IT. REALLY!! And I’m telling you it’s better for the long term that God is alive and real and wants you to know him and what his love is all about.
People who tell me they want proof are just making excuses. YES, YOU ARE. I know very well that people generally believe what they want to, regardless of the belief itself. I’m guilty of that myself, I won’t lie about that. But faith that needs proof isn’t faith, just as grace earned is not grace and mercy earned is not mercy.
But I will say these things:
1. Don’t you find it interesting that atheists, more than enough of them, try to preach back to Christians and other religions? If there is no God, why do they care so much that we don’t believe there is one? Christians are called to preach by God, but atheists don’t have any authority to back up their own preaching. Frankly if you think about it is much better for them to allow us to believe because Christians are very easily taken advantage of if you know which things to say and which buttons to push. If we were all atheists this would be a lot harder to do.
2. Science is limited. It does not answer any meaningful, purposeful “why” questions. As Professor Farnsworth from Futurama asserts: “There’s no scientific consensus that life is important.”
3. We’ve been down a long and winding road with the history of Christianity and the things we have done as a people in the past which make you hate or disregard or at least not like us today are things we have done in the past (like the Crusades and Fox News). All I can say to this is: IT’S COMPLICATED. We are actually tired of being insulted and turning the other cheek, which we know we are supposed to do, but WE DON’T LIKE IT ANYWAY. We are not masochists! And even while we KNOW you are not in agreement with us, and we believe in heaven, and we are SUPPOSED TO want you to be in heaven with us one day, WE JUST WANT TO PUNCH YOU SENSELESS SOME DAYS. Being Christian doesn’t make us any less human. Hopefully more humane, but not less human (I’m sooo tweeting that!).
4. It is SO hard to be good today! We live in a time where pretty much anything I want I can get. I even have an app for getting it! You try thinking nice things about people all day, not hating anyone, forgiving every one (even road ragers), not being lazy or jealous, and helping out people as much as you can. You probably can’t do it any better than I can, and if you try, you will be doing it for pride’s sake, not out of genuine concern, like it is supposed to be with us. To quote Eliot: “The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right thing for the wrong reason.”
5. FINALLY: IF NOTHING ELSE, Eternity is a BIG DEAL. If I am wrong, then I have not lost anything, really. I am going to be mushroomed up and foddered in the ground and nothing more when I die if there is no one out there and no heaven. I could even end up as a happy spirit or a ghost when I am dead, or perhaps even reincarnated as a worm, according to some of you, and that’s fine. I don’t lose anything by believing in Christ. BUT I cannot say the same for you if the shoe is on the other foot. AND at least as a Christian, I am duty-bound to admit I am a total douche on a regular basis.
Really, people, I am begging you to at least CONSIDER this. Don’t be a proud idiot. Don’t be like that. Flippancy is a poor excuse for ignorance (I’m SO Tweeting that!).
Research it. Ask questions. Talk to people. Ask people questions. Do you know how much Christians squirm when we are asked about our faith? It is hilarious! You should do it just for that alone.
You can even try God out if you are brave enough. Try being good, and when you fail see if you can see the need for forgiveness on a global scale. If nothing happens, you at least can say you have an informed answer! BUT YOU DO HAVE TO REALLY TRY.
I do want you to know too, that I have asked those questions from the other side. I’ve been a Christian nearly all my life, and yes, people can say what they want about my faith and stuff, but it’s true. I remember the day I became one. And I was 6. So for me, being a Christian that long is like being married to someone you hardly ever see or try to be a family with…Kind of like all those people who get married really early on in life and start to regret it for awhile while they see all their other non-married friends have lots of fun while I have a stack of dirty dishes and a crying baby to come home to. I have a lot of time lost in making a relationship that when I do try is so fulfilling and wonderful. And I have considered the idea of divorce, of disbelief. I asked a LOT of questions – REALLY – and I had a couple crisis of faith and I KNOW IT STILL SOUNDS TOO CLICHE but I still believe in God. I have seen too many things just miraculously happen. I have seen too many worlds where beauty lives and hides. I have seen people come out of a darkness of their own making and transform into new people. I have even seen people RELUCTANTLY believe in God! (They are my favorites). And it is not just me that sees these things. They are real and true and wonderful.
So atheists of the world…I just really want you to know I know where you are coming from. I care that you don’t care, or even if you do but are scared to admit it, or EVEN IF YOU HAVE A WAR going on inside of you, I can sympathize and I do care but please understand it is hard to talk to you about it. And I am so emotionally insecure I have to put it up on a blog to tell you about it.
Please don’t hate me for trying to love you…loving some of you has brought so much joy to me, I’m trying to do the same for you, and I miss you. And I want you to know I miss you and I still care.