I'm duly inspired by a video I've just watched. The one I've just posted to my Facebook page called "Atheists - what if you're wrong?"
It's a fair question. If I'm wrong then I'm really in it. Hell for eternity. No parole, no escape, no end to my suffering. And all because I couldn't bring myself to believe something that in the end was just ridiculous to me.
I was an evangelical for 12 years. A genuine, Bible believing, spirit filled agent of Christ. I prayed, I fasted, I sought to persuade others that Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life. And now I'm not. Now I'm the polar opposite, an open and often vocal critic of all religious claims.
Have I been drowned in sin? Are my lusts and cravings blinding me to the reality of God? I don't think so. I'm not feeling lustful or gluttonous right now, and I still think religion, all religion, is nothing more than the imaginings of the delusional. Is this harsh? I think not. I'm perfectly open to new information that would change my mind, and if I ever think I've missed something I investigate. Over the course of several years I've listened, read, and watched the very best Christian apologists. I've tried my best to take what they say aboard and think it through. Trouble is, then I listen to the other side, secular philosophers, free thinkers, and what they say always makes a lot more sense. And what the latter say require me to use the simple tools of reason and evidence, with a sprinkling of philosophical reflection thrown in. I don't have to believe claims without evidence. I don't have to accept second hand accounts of miracles. I don't have to believe baseless threats of eternal damnation for the simple act of unbelief. In short, I don't have to make leaps of faith, or make sense of the countless absurd claims the religious make.
If you want to accuse me of rejecting God then go right head. For my part I'm just trying to make my way through the world with honesty and integrity and consistency. If a person of faith wants to bring something to my door for consideration then I won't slam it in their face, but I'm pretty sure I've heard every argument out there. More than that, there's so much we can explain that doesn't require the existence of God. We're so close to figuring out the origins of the universe now, and we've a good grasp of how this planet and its denizens have emerged and evolved over vast epochs of time. And the thing is, even if I'm totally wrong, or just a bit wrong, the religious simply cannot shoehorn their particular God of choice into the gap that remains. This isn't how we learn things. It's not how we accumulate knowledge. Simply to say that just because we do not understand a thing that God did it is to say precisely nothing at all. It's really very lazy, and massively feeble minded.
I know that a fair few Christians read my blogs. I expect I haven't changed many minds. To you I suggest the following; just step back from what you believe and try listening to an alternative voice or two. Don't drown yourself in religious teaching and culture but instead make a genuine attempt to at least listen to another point of view. Here is where I feel the most frustration; and where I encounter the most resistance. I've come across so many excuses to the last challenge. My friends say they haven't the time, or they're not in the right place to ask these questions. Saddest of all I've encountered many who simply won't go there. They are riddled with unease at the prospect of really examining their world view, of stepping out of the comfortable and into a place where nothing is certain. The risks are too high, the implications of having to change too severe. This to me is tragic, and itself an indictment of the religious position as a whole. How cruel that a mind cannot go where it wants. What a prison. What captivity.
I feel very lucky to have escaped.