Monday, September 22, 2014

I'm Afraid I'll Become an Atheist

    Can I tiptoe up to you? Can I whisper in your ear?
    I have a secret.
    I know, I know.
    I ask too many questions.
    Look, I'm a scientist. I live on questions. But wonders on chemical bond formations aren't the type of questions I'm talking about.
    I'm talking about those questions, the questions that raise eyebrows and churn my stomach with fears of heresy. The questions like is God good? Is Christianity true? What's the point of life in light of eternity?
    So can I tell you my secret?
    Here goes.
    I'm afraid my questions...will turn me into an atheist.
    Side note: I know atheists who are among my kindest, most intelligent and helpful friends. I sincerely hope they know I'm not insulting them here.
    It's just, I like my faith. I want it to be true, so I don't want to be an atheist. (And maybe there's a tiny part of me still afraid of excommunication followed by an eternal barbecue...will you just stop, inner fundamentalism?).
    But, yeah. I want to be a Christian.
    I love the idea of God as Creator. God as Storyteller. A God Who believes in redemption and love and hope and good. A God who is so deeply intimate and personal He came to Earth to become one of us, a God who sees value in every. last. person.
    I want the chance to love everyone who ever existed (well, nearly everyone. I'm not perfect, so I freely admit I'd be icky about, say, Hitler and Nero and Genghis Khan - sorry).
    I want the chance to know that subverting oppression is not in vain.
    I want to see that everyone is special (as much as I love The Incredibles, the phrase "when everyone is special...nobody is" is nonsense. If everyone is special, everyone is special).
    I want redemption. Forever. I don't want this to be it.
   - Not for the victims of the Crusades and the Holocaust and the IS and North Korea
   - Not for the privileged but suicidal transgender American teenager
   - Not the inner city kid enticed into a gang, shot dead before he even reached two decades
   - Nor the bitter old man who's all, all alone
   - Not even the bigoted, venomous people who don't understand good.
    I want love to win, to really win, and I want God to be Love (Thanks, 1 John).
    Y'all are too wonderful and I hope and pray we actually have a God who is up there and Who is good.
    I know, I need rational reasons for belief. I have them, but I won't pretend they're hard proof.

    This post isn't a defense of my beliefs. It's not even a complete explanation.
    It's something I just wanted to say.

    I feel (gasp!) that many of us Christians are so caught up in defending their faith, we make it sound like eternal blackmail. A no-way-out situation. You have to believe or suffer eternal sadism, so you'd best do it.
    Desire isn't really mentioned. Maybe we realize we've been bad people and desire forgiveness, but we don't generally hear about people wanting to be a Christian because it's good.
    What if we admitted that the "good news" isn't behavior modification or get-blessed-quick schemes? What if we admitted that the good news is, well, goodness? Redemption, forgiveness, salvation, justice and grace and mercy, humility and listening, freedom from oppressors, they're all part of this good.
    Plus, I have this smidgen of an feeling that all good reflects God Our Author (to bring this full circle: hence my many questions. I'm looking at you, genocidal Book of Joshua).

    So if you ask me why I'm a Christian? Yeah, I'll be honest: a large part of it is because that's who I want to be.
    Why do you believe why you believe (or don't believe), and do you like it?



  1. I have submitted a Draft Copy of your Anathema to the Ecumenical Council Subcommittee on Evangelical and Fundamentalist Pathology. It may take a while before a final ruling, though. We still have to debate and vote on whether to adopt a Doctrine of Purgatory exclusively for Ayn Rand groupies.