For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. (Rom 1:20 CSB)
Our soul, the organ of god placed inside us to yearn for something higher then ourselves (according to some…). The book of Romans in the Christian bible references the fact that the universe, our earth, our own bodies scream supernatural for many people. According to Romans this leaves people without an excuse for belief in god. You should be able to look out into the sky at night and not be so arrogant as to think that you are “it”. Of course, as an atheist, I recognize the fallacy of that thought process, but for the purpose of this blog I do not want to dive into it. We are all on a journey; constantly seeking and finding our way through both personal issues such as a career choice, or where to live, or what to wear each day, and also through much broader topics like what our purpose is on this earth. Almost a year ago I became convinced that for me there was no necessity to a god for me. From a passionate, “spirit-filled” preacher at 15 to this point at 30 I was a little struck personally by this changing within myself. I had certain events take place over the years that brought up questions for me about what I believed and why, but I had largely ignored those questions, and relied heavily on faith throughout those trials.
I believe that it is a healthy thing to search out genuinely why you believe what you believe and to be open minded about other opinions out there in the world. Also, I have found as an atheist the great importance of recognizing the difference between an opinion and a fact. I have read numerous books through this journey, and they have ranged from bold atheism, to bold fundamentalist creationism. In the middle I found an interesting area, the bible might refer to it as “lukewarm”. My decision to return to my unbelief (you are born without a belief in a god) left many confused, concerned, and some even angry with me. I believe strongly that many simply felt a level of love for me that they could not express into words. I would place that position especially on my family; and my parents and siblings being the ones specifically with that stance. Nevertheless, many chose to throw out repeated diatribes against me, and some even towards the eternity of my children (which I took particularly not too well). The reality is, that opinions are something everyone has, especially nowadays (that makes me sound really old). I have had to figure out what to do with those insults. Initially I chose to “fight back”, if you will, with my own set of invective “memes” and posts. This of course did not win anyone over, that I know of. I might emphasize though that these comments towards me did not win me over either. So, back to the “lukewarm” part. I do not know if you realize this or not, but there are people who do not believe what you believe yet still have a very strong belief in “a god”. For some this is even a very specific god, just as you might, but for others it may be a more general idea of a god. I found in my readings those who believe in the salvation brought to mankind through Jesus’ death on the cross, but because of the amount of evidence towards evolution as a fact, believed Genesis to be a story not meant to be taken literally. To be clear, they believed in the general consensus among scientists that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and that we evolved (not created) through a series of evolutionary time periods, but also in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Now, you may say, “not fair”, “fake news!”, but this is what some believe. I want this blog to be both for the fundamental Christian, and the fundamental atheist. It seems that many on the left and on the right have gotten to this point where they are all about emphasizing the fallacies of the other side. Let’s be honest, both sides have fallacies. Both sides of the spectrum have things that you can poke holes in. How important is it to an atheist whether or not there may be a god? For most, the answer would be a big fat zero! Why? Because for the atheist it simply does not matter. Based on everything that we have available to us in science and evidence there simply is no reason to believe in a god. There is absolutely nothing that points us to a supernatural being, but that is a blog for another day. Listen, I love dialogue, and that has sometimes gotten me into hot water with conversations about these topics, because some believe I am being snarky or arrogant, and this is the problem with the medium of the written word. I truly desire to have conversations on these topics with people who are willing to discuss these things. Now let me approach the other side to ask how important is it to you whether or not Genesis is real to whether or not Jesus is believable? I realize for some that answer will be “extremely important”, but I know that for others who search deep you can come to a conclusion that it just simply does not matter.
What’s the point? Atheist have long tried to argue against the existence of a god, but I believe (as an atheist I might add) that this is a ridiculous argument to have with any theist. Because, the possibility of a god is so difficult to remove. There are truly too many variables to completely dismiss in its entirety the possibility of a god. So, my belief is that when we get into this pissing match over whether or not there is, or is not, a god, we lose the premise of why we are there. In general, what atheist are most against is fundamentalism. Basically, fundamentalism is someone who declares, and believes wholeheartedly that they are right, and their religion is right, and everyone else is wrong. Where it does get truly sad, is when these beliefs about social issues, such as LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, scientific facts to be taught exclusively rights (I realize that is a weird phrase, but work with me), get intertwined with religious fervor. To the religious person out there, spirituality does not require you to remove the belief in a higher being, or that you go somewhere pretty when you die, and all of your family is waiting on you, and your sweet dog Biscuit. Spirituality does not require you to abandon the belief that your life has a higher purpose, or that you can pray to something out there when you are in pain, or rejoice towards something bigger then yourself when you are triumphant. What it does require is for you to let go of this idea that only your beliefs are the right ones. It does require you to let go of the idea that everybody and their brother is destined for hell because that’s what your book says. It does require you to let go of the belief that your book decides what people can do with their genitalia, and who they can be in a committed marriage with, and who they can love. It does require you to allow a woman to chose what to do with her own body, and allow science (true science, not the fear mongering conservative science) to explain both the benefits, and the risks of abortion, to both the mother and the fetus. It does require you to love unconditionally, because it removes this idea that you might, for some reason be the one who has figured it all out, but instead maybe, just maybe you could learn something from someone else without thinking that you need to teach them about “salvation”.
To the atheist, please let go of this idea that we need to convince the world that their is no god. For some people, this is a necessary part of their lives. When I say necessary, I mean it literally. For some people a spirituality/faith in their lives is the same as water to you and I. If Jack and coke gets you off to a peaceful sleep, for others it may be Jesus (and even some it’s both Jack and Jesus). Because here is the thing atheist, if we focus in on what they hold more precious then anything else in their lives then we are losing the real fight, which is helping people to see that their book ain’t the only one (had to go Texas for a minute). Climate change is on the line when we focus on whether or not god exist. Peoples heads are being chopped off in the middle east because we want to focus on whether god exist. People are having offensive slurs hurled at them and their partner because we cannot let go of the argument over god existing. Stop worrying about how stupid religion is, and focus on helping people to see the benefit of mutual existing among a community of varying beliefs. Coexisting is what we need to promote and emphasize. Religion will always be here, but if we can lean religion more towards spirituality, then fundamentalism I will call it a win. Spirituality, not atheism is what we need to focus on. This is where the meaningful fights will be won.
To being united,
The godless Pastor.