I realize there are many people reading this who have some pent-up hatred towards my religion, mostly because a few very vocal and highly annoying people have ruined its image. But that's okay. I hope you all see me as a different kind of Christian, one who trys to lead people along with my beliefs by setting an example in my life, not my words. I try not to judge any of you with labels and stereotypes, so I hope that you don't think I'm some gay-bashing bible thumping purist telling every other lost soul they're burning in hell tomorrow if they don't find Jesus. I also want to avoid another stereotype, of the mindless sheep who goes along with religion because her parents believed it and being a church member looks good on a resume. That's why I'm writing this.
So if you don't want to hear it, don't read on, I promise I understand. A few lame Christians have ruined the religion for a lot of you, and it sucks, but we deal.
As for everyone else, here ya go:
Since I am a logical person, most of my religious believes are based on logic. About 60%, I'd say. It makes sense to me, and the arguments I hear against it don't. The other 40% is faith. There's no way I can convey faith, or make you understand it, it's just what I know. It's like in "A Beautiful Mind," when Alicia explains that you can't prove someone is in love with you, there will be evidence pointing to it that will help but after a while you just have to know. 60% has to be enough.
There was a time in my life, briefly, when I had all the logic but not the faith. I couldn't feel God's presence, I understood what it was like to be one of the non-religious members of society, I hated it. I was angry with God about other things in the world, and I was upset that suddenly I'd lost what I used to have. It came back eventually. I kept at it, kept going through the motions, opened my heart again and there was God. I had several big epiphanies, things became suddenly clear, and I was myself. But that's all hard for other people to understand, let's go on.
Everyone who has studied scientific processes know it's a thousand times easier to disprove something than to prove it. You just have to come up with one little sentence, one flaw, to disprove it. To prove it, you have to examine every part of the hypothesis, rendering every possible explanation used to disprove it wrong. So I'm going to explain my faith in sort of a mini-conversation format, I'll pretend to disprove and prove it at the same time, I hope it makes sense. I'll bold the disproving side to make things more clear.
There is no God. You think there is to make you feel better, but He doesn't exist, I'm sorry.
Then how did we get here?
From what? Proteins? Cells? Darwin thought we were just cells, there was nothing underneath. He didn't know about DNA and strands of atoms, so it made perfect sense to him that these little cells could just get together, work together spontaneously, and evolve over time. Darwin was smart. But he didn't know the whole story, he didn't know how complicated DNA was. There is no way it could have just formed from proteins.
Almost no way. The chances are one in a million, but it's a big universe, here we are.
No, the chances aren't one in a million. They are zero. Science has not found out how we started. Yes, evolution occurred, we obviously used to be shorter, and hairier, hell, we were monkeys. But the diversity of species on the planet earth could not have happened without some sort of intelligent design. It doesn't matter how big the universe is, or how old. What if you took apart a watch, and put the parts in a paper bag? If you let it sit there forever, would the parts eventually fall into a watch and tell time? We're a lot more complicated than a watch. What if you shook the bag? What if you had a million bags, and they all had the parts of twenty watches, and they were all shaken for billions of years? Would that increase the chances? No. The pieces being there doesn't mean anything, a watch is complicated, it takes something go get it started, to guide it.
But you just admitted that we evolved somewhere, even if it was guided, you just admitted that there were dinosaurs and we were monkeys. That's not what the Bible says. You can't pick and chose what you believe.
Yes. But the Bible is also not a science book. It was not written to explain how things happen, it was written to explain why things happen, and how we're supposed to live our lives. And it was written in forms that people long ago could understand. The point is that God created this universe. He created the proteins and the carbon then set in motion everything required so that we could be here. What do you think set it all in motion? Can you really believe that there'd be a cluster of horses somewhere, then half of them migrate to another side of a river and generations later we have giraffes? There are a lot of holes in evolution, in the opinion of science that we were made completely without God.
Fine, so maybe we were made by a God. Or Gods. Or aliens! How do you know those aren't true?
Well, I really don't think we would know, if it hadn't been for Jesus Christ.
That crazy cult leader who died 2000 years ago?
Yeah, that one. Only he didn't die.
Yes he did. Everyone belives that, even people who don't believe in God know that Jesus was in fact a man, and did live about 2000 years ago, and influenced a lot of people. The names are given in several historic documents, not just the Bible. That's not hard to see. But the virgin birth? Walking on water? Raising from the dead? His friends made that up to save their careers.
Save what careers? Jesus appeared to thousands of people after his death, and none of them had good careers afterwards. His apostles were tortured to death, all except for one, who was tortured several times but not to death. Why would all those men die for something they just made up?
To save face.
What about Saul? He already had a face, he was an ambitious man who really did have a bright career ahead of him. Then Jesus appeared and it all went downhill, he was imprisoned, beaten, rejected by everyone he had known. Why would he do that, just out of the blue? Why would he fake blindness?
We don't know his situation, he had to have been escaping something.
Well that's a stupid way to escape it. He could have run away. Killed himself. Not launched a church that has millions of members today. Is that how you run from your problems? And he's not the only one. Men and women around the world have given up their lives, not because they looked at the situation and decided that this was the logical thing to do, but because God called them into giving all they had.
Yeah, God "called" the crusades, too. He "called" Hitler to kill millions of Jews and "called" a couple people to make some plans on September 11th. Timely explanation you have there.
There are hundreds in this world who would use God as an excuse for violence, yes. That's the reason He sent Jesus. To draw the line. To tell us what God really wants. Love. Tolerance.
You can't prove the exitance of the risen Christ in a circle like that. You just ruined your logical process.
Fine then. Jesus was a crazy cult leader who inspired 11 men to give their lives for him. When he died, they decided to make life difficult by saying he didn't die. Then they convinced his mother and some other friends. Then they convinced the 70 who would start a new church. Then Paul went along with it because he was tired of his high-paying government job and the prisons were looking comfy that year. He was great at picking locks, too, that story about the earthquake opening the doors of his second prison is made up bull. The disciples convinced people they knew to say Jesus healed them so they could put names and places in the gospels, and convinced a whole lot of people to say he gave them a free bread and fish buffet one Thursday by the lake. Yes, the 11 were just fishermen and scummy tax collectors before, but that carpenter was a pretty good teacher, he taught them some really amazing skills in the convincing department. Don't ask where he learned them. He just really wanted people to know about love, tolerance, and eternal life, so he did it by being the greatest bullshitter of our time.
well, yeah, basically.
This is where some faith has to come in. Where did the church come from? How did it get so big? Yes, you can believe that Jesus was just an insane, but eloquent, leader. You can believe that there is no God, or that there is one but He had nothing to do with this Jesus character. But there's a lot more to explain away than most people think. There is truth to this story. There is validity. Do you believe that Cleopatra was the queen of Egypt? Maybe she was just really powerful, and made cesear believe it so she could work her way into power in Rome. Do you believe that Armstrong walked on the moon? Some people don't. They think it was made up, to make us feel better about America. It didn't happen. But why would someone make something like that up, and go through all that trouble? Why would they produce videos and fake rocks and spend billions of dollars and hide the truth from thousands of NASA employees? Why would the disciples be willing to be boiled in oil and crucified upside-down for something they made up? Why would they risk death and imprisonment to sneak out in the middle of the night, roll away a stone they probably couldn't even move, and hide a body extremely well? Why wouldn't they just go back to their lives?
If God appeared to you, in the corner of your room at night, in some form you could see, and told you that everything in the bible was true, would you believe it? Would you change your life? Or would you wake up in the morning and shake it off as a dream? Most of us just make up our minds about what we think the world is. God is not easy for humans to conceive, we don't like thinking we're not the biggest thing in this universe, or that something out there is totally perfect, unflawed, worthy of sincere praise and adoration. But most of us think there is a God, in some form. Our brains are wired to believe it, science has proven it. Why would we evolve to have a brain wired to search for God?
What happens when we die?
I don't think I know for sure. I am certain of two things. I will live eternally in heaven, because I have asked God to forgive my sins in his son's name, I know that Jesus rose from the dead to create a place for me there. And I know that some people in this world will simply die. There is no place in God's kingdom for souls who are incapable of loving their fellow man. They will be forever separated from God, in the darkness outside this world that is death, their soul will be no more. In between that, I can't be sure. Who are we to question the grace of God and decide who does and doesn't get to go to heaven? I won't say. I can't say. We don't know until the end comes.
I can't feel it still. I can't believe, faith is just too distant and difficult.
Maybe it's because you haven't tried listening.
What I've written here is, to an extent, open for debate. I'm not a biblical scholar, I can't back up everything. And I'm certain there are holes in my logic here. I hope this made sense to some of you, it felt good to me to get it all out in the open, after all this time.