Posts Tagged ‘agnostics

25
Feb
09

Taking the Leap

the-big-leapNo surprise to regular readers that I have semi-regular discussions with atheists and agnostics on this blog and at others. I don’t try to covert them, because I’m not clinically insane nor masochistic, but I think it’s great to make sure we all understand each other. Much better than one side calling the other a bunch of superstitious idiots, while the other side is calling them narrow-minded secularists.

In fact, TitforTat and The Word of Me have probably been my most frequent foils lately (and I mean that in the nicest recreational fencing/dueling way possible). In terms of longer dialogs, though, TWOM had a conversation with me here with regard to a Mrs. Blue post here, and I’m trading thoughts with him over at one of his postsover at his blog right now.

It’s good stuff, and I like the conversations. As long as no one gets to calling me an out-of-touch looney-toon, all’s good (that hasn’t happened often, and most of those people I don’t even try to engage again). But I have been thinking a lot lately about what divides a spiritual believer from a non-believer, and it strikes me that as much as we intellectually can appreciate each other, it is hard to truly explain ourselves to each other. For both sides, it seems self-evident that our position is the correct one, and it troubles us on some level that the other side hasn’t broken through to our way of thinking.

This struck me in particular when TWOM recently posted in one of his comments something to the effect of “I’ve read the Bible and I’ve tried to understand it and believe.” I’m probably misquoting him a bit, but that was the gist as I recall. And it’s been said to me before by other agnostics and atheists that they have tried to read the Bible with an open mind and “just don’t get it.”

And this is precisely where the rubber meets the road: Faith vs. concrete facts. Intellect vs. surrender.

This is not to say that the faithful lack intellect nor that the doubters and atheists lack any kind of “spiritual” or moral core. Far from it. But here is the best example I can come up with as a person of faith:

Imagine a person who decides to go skydiving. There are a few likely scenarios.

She completely freaks out with fear and doesn’t go to the skydiving takeoff point at all. This would analogous, I believe, to someone who says “Yes, I’ll consider your points and/or read that Bible thing” but never really tries.

She goes to the site, freaks out, and just cannot get on the plane, or she gets on the plane but cannot get herself out of that seat until it lands again. She never jumps, but she at least went to where it would all start. I liken this to the person who does give some consideration to it, but never really turns off the literal/concrete parts of their brain. I mean, I personally enjoy and respect (and use) critical thinking, but you cannot think your way to faith.

She makes it to the door of the plane while it is in midair, but she cannot make the jump. She sees all that open sky beneath her and feels the excitement and fear in her gut. She has a visceral and emotional reaction, but making the leap is just too much. She goes back to her seat. Here we have a person who has managed to open their heart and might see a glimpse of what the faith believer sees, but on some level, the thought of letting go is too much. Whether because of fear that it might be true, and a desire not to find out and have to consider answering to a higher power, or whether fear that faith will lessen them somehow; reduce their intellect or spin them too far away from provable reality perhaps.

She jumps out of the plane and goes for the ride. This would be the person who does make the leap from purely temporal and rational thought to faith. It is a wild and scary ride sometimes, and the person might regret it in some ways. The person might even decide one day to reverse course and deny that faith she tasted or decide not to embrace it fully, but the leap was indeed made, whether for a short time or a lifetime.

None of this is to suggest that atheists or agnostics are cowards. Fear isn’t altogether a bad thing. And they, in turn, could accuse someone of me of being fearful of considering that there isn’t anything beyond this life; that there isn’t any intelligence guiding the universe. They would argue that I am afraid to let go of a comfortable superstition.

Myself, I don’t feel fear at the possibility there might not be a God. I have considered it. Hell, I spent most of my life ignoring spiritual things and the church and might as well have been an agnostic or even atheist, despite having been a baptized Catholic who occasionally went to church. I still find myself at a crossroads at times when I ask, “Am I spiritually delusional?” In the end analysis, having made the leap and feeling the swell of my spirit and sensing things beyond the physical and intellectual, I simply cannot conceive of there not being a God.

It is, to me, as clear and as unassailable as the existence of gravity. That doesn’t mean I don’t doubt some of the specifics of the Bible or wonder if my spiritual path is the right one. But for me, taking the leap wasn’t simply a transient thing. I live in a world where God exists, and I can no more deny Him than I can deny myself.

20
Dec
08

So It’s An Uneven Field by Miz Pink

I know Deke keeps an even head most of the time and a sunny disposition with people who think people who believe in God are nutter-butters. He doesn’t let it get to him much but I do see times when he clearly gets a little miffed (even if he tries to hide it) that his faith somehow puts him in a category of not being “in touch with reality” or not being a “critical thinker.”

So as I see things here at this blog in the comments sometimes and stalk him around some of the other blogs he posts at I can almost see him getting a twitch in the corner of his eye and balling his fists at times. Not often but enough.

I understand it because I get irritated when I see some of that too. As much as I don’t like Christians who brow-beat everyone else and slam them with “your going to hell” when they disagree and crap…I also don’t like atheists and agnostics who act like people of faith are simple-minded folks who are holding onto fairy tales.

But you know what? I’m not going to get irritated anymore, and I’m gonna encourage Deke not to either.

Jesus told us we would catch flack for our beliefs and for lifting him up. He told us we would have tribulations and trials and he told us to turn the other cheek.

People who are opposed to faith-led beliefs are sometimes going to be irritating and even insulting at times. They are going to be in many cases dismissive. I accept that. And as hard as it makes my job or Deke’s. As much as it might hurt to not get the same consideration that we give to them (I’m not lumping everyone into this boat…there are atheists and agnostics who are respectful but some are just jerks) well…we just need to accept that they are going to want an uneven playing field.

They are going to want to throw science into our faces and remind us that we can’t prove the existence of God, then rub salt into the wound by telling us that we shouldn’t even be trying to use science or archeology or anything else either because the Bible tells us faith is enough. They will continue to tell us it’s silly to believe in a God that always existed but refuse to explain how that’s sillier than the fact we live in a universe thats clearly always existed or came from nothing at some point…just like God.

It’s not worth getting upset about. And after this post, I probably shouldn’t even point out this mindset again…because it’s not something we should let get to us. As believers in Christ, it isn’t our right to expect a level playing field in discussions about faith with ANYONE. We might get level fields. Sometimes we might get the high ground in a debate and have the advantage. But we shouldn’t expect anything to be “fair” and we shouldn’t let that stop us. We should just be ready to take the heat and turn the cheek and keep on going.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

_________

Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

_________

E-Mail

You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

_________

LinkedIn

For my public profile, click here.

_________

Tales of the Whethermen

My superhero fiction blog, click here

_________

Raising the Goddess

My parenting blog, click here

Copyright Info and Images

For more about images used on this site, and copyrights regarding them, as well as usage/copyright information about my own writing as posted here, click here.

Deac Tweets

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 833 other followers

May 2022
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

%d bloggers like this: