Lost Your Religion? What Atheists Really Believe
There is a vocal group of people who have taken to books and blogs and articles, proudly stating their hatred of all things God. These atheists are the rage, and openly challenge people of faith like young duelers who swagger into the town square. No doubt, some will drift into this OK Corral and fire off a few shots.
I used to be intrigued at the mystics, and the monks, and the holy men who could immerse themselves in the intricacies of faith. But lately, I'm amazed at those who don't believe. The microscope and the telescope both tell us of a world of tremendous order - that simply could not have fallen into place, no matter how many zero's you add to the timeline. In the deepest, darkest night, what thought goes through the mind of the atheist? For them, what is at the end of time, or at the edge of space?
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks calls these new atheists "Shallow." Since they see the worst of religion at play in world arena - with bombs strapped underneath cloaks and angry young men marching on the square in the name of a diety - they naturally assume that God doesn't exist. Or if He does exist, he doesn't care.
"But the idea that this can be defeated by individualism and relativism is naïve," writes Jonathan. "They seek to impose their singular truth on a plural world."
He's got a good line of reasoning going, but I'm really interested in what pushed the nonbeliever over the edge. I realize that many of them didn't start at that way. Some began their walks just like I did. As a little boy, I sat in Sunday School and helped move the bible figures on the cutout flannel board. I listened in rapt fear and wonder at the sermons. I sang the songs and memorized the verses. Eventually my heart was won over, and soon my mind.
But others, with exactly the same background, all of this only fueled their disbelief. Atheism became their God.
When did you lose your religion?
I have read about those who hang their hat of disbelief on abortion protests, or gay marriage debates, or priest abuse. I have seen some point their finger at a judgmental father, or a rude pastor, or a jilted lover.
All of these things are real - but turning your back on your God isn't the answer. Doubling down on evil by eliminating good makes little logical sense. It only serves to plugs a hole in your life for a little while, making God pay even though He doesn't exist. God's still there, whether you believe in him or not.
I think the real reason that people "lose their religion" and turn from God doesn't have to do with reason, or intelligence, or evidence. I think it comes down to a choice. When faced with a major decision, they looked at God's code. And not liking what it said, they created their own. They could no longer do what was right and in order not to face the reality of that decision they simply wrote out the Author. They ripped the page out of the book, rolled it up, and "there", simply dismissed the whole idea.
Problem solved. You could have sex with your girlfriend, steal your neighbors Wi-Fi, smoke dope, and create your own set of rules with no competition.
Is this shallow? I don't know if that's the right word. But I do know that you hurt just like the rest of us, and you are looking for answers.
So, would you share with me? When did you lose your religion? Or do you have a story you can share about loved one who made that choice? Where are you in quest?
David Rupert is the Newsletter Editor at The High Calling. He also blogs at www.RedLetterBelievers.com