I’m not interested in demonizing atheists. It would be too easy to say they want to deny God so they can be free to do whatever they want, regardless of the impact of their behavior on the people around them.
For one thing, I can see where many of them are coming from:
- Some want proof of a God and they haven’t found any proof that satisfies them. Meanwhile, they do not wish to dedicate their lives to a belief system developed by ancient people before the advent of science.
- Some are appalled by the evil done in the name of religion and they want no part of that.
- Some are put off by believers who insist that they stop asking so many questions and forget they have a brain.
I know I’ve asked the same questions myself that my atheist friends ask: How does one prove God’s existence? And, if some folks are so sure of their beliefs, why are the rest of us discouraged from asking questions?
At the same time, I’m not ready to join atheists who paint believers as child-like purveyors of silly superstition. I want there to be a God, for several reasons:
- If there is a God – and eternal life – it means I will once again someday get to see my beloved father, my grandparents, my sister Jennifer, my friend Patti and other people I know I will probably lose before I check out myself.
- The existence of a God would mean there’s an ultimate answer to where the universe and everything in it comes from – an answer that makes sense to me.
- I want Someone I can call on in times of trouble. I love the idea of a “close-up” God who not only cares about each of us, but each sparrow or dog or cat as well.
- Yes, I understand some people distort spiritual teachings and do evil things in God’s name. However, I don’t like to think about the consequences if there were NO moral standards at all to appeal to.
- A Peggy Lee song from my childhood asks, “Is that all there is?” The gist of the song is, we’re born. Our lives are filled with a series of relatively meaningless activities. Then we die and people may remember us for a period of time. Or not. I just don’t like to think that’s all there is.
While I’m not interested in demonizing my atheist friends, I must say their habit of calling my God a “Sky Fairy” and my beliefs “silly superstition” wears thin very quickly.
I’m not one of those Christians who promises hellfire and damnation to everyone who disagrees with my interpretation of reality. I don’t call atheists names or ridicule their beliefs. Nor do I blame them for everything going wrong in this country.
I would like the same respect in return.
That seems an eminently reasonable approach. I think that this is more likely to cause people to think than any strident debate.
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Very well put!! I have an atheist friend who never misses an opportunity to knock my beliefs. I have never hit her over the head with religion, just tried to live my faith for all to see. Because I was raised to have good manners, I would not taunt her back. In my mind, I think good manners and treating each other with respect are close, if not the same. How I miss the days of good manners!
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