ATHEISTS TARGET ME through a homemade video I did: What Romans said about crucifixion. Perhaps they’re drawn to it because they’re curious about why a million people would want to watch it. Or maybe they figure it’s a good place to stir up trouble among Christians. Who knows?
Atheists come in pretty hot, and loaded with presumptions about me and Christianity. I don’t usually see them calm down by the end of our exchange. But it does happen sometimes.
Here are a few excerpts from one of those times, for what it’s worth. It took place over the last few days.
Alex: What a wasted life you’ve had.
Steve: Have we met?
Alex: No, but I can tell.
Steve: That’s called presumption. It’s uninformed and unkind.
Alex: Actually, I’ve done what all great scientists do. I’ve looked at the evidence, from this video and others, and I’ve come to the conclusion that, unfortunately, you’re just another duped sheep, following a book (the greatest lie ever told), which wasn’t written at the time, or even by people of the time.
Steve: One of the core teachings of the Bible is to treat people kindly. From my point of view, to do otherwise is to waste the life we’ve been given.
Alex: But you must understand, that the bible only exists to you, in your world. And hey, I treat people just fine thanks, but I will point out stupidity, hence why you fell onto my radar.
Steve: There’s more going on than the Bible. Here’s a short video I did called 2 reasons I believe in God. [Shortly thereafter, that video got its first thumbs down.] Badmouthing someone we’ve never met and know almost nothing about isn’t something we generally associate with a scientist. We’re more likely to expect it of an adolescent…or, more recently, a president.
Alex: Ok, that’s a fair point, and I liked your president comment. I just find it so strange people hinge their whole lives because a book told them to. It honestly baffles me.
Steve: Christians read that book in widely different ways. Some (a minority) take it literally and say it is error-free. Others allow for humanity in the process: mistakes, copying errors, additions, deletions. There are things in there that most Christians reject: Paul telling women to keep quiet in church. No wonder he was a bachelor. For many Christians, the main takeaway is to treat people kindly, love God, and take care of the planet entrusted to our care. And the hope, of course, is that there is life in some fashion beyond this life. For many of us, there’s a lot of “I don’t know” in our faith. But we trust that this remarkable creation has a remarkable Creator. I know this is something scientists can’t handle because they can’t prove it. I have scientists in my family, so I get it. Still, given what I’ve lived and learned of life, there’s something going on behind the scenes that we don’t understand. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. But the people who know me well, scientists among them, know I’m no fool, but I do try to live the kind of life Jesus taught. And I am counting on Jesus to fulfill his promise of a life to come. If I’m wrong, I’ve lived a kind life and hopefully made my corner of the neighborhood a place where people knew they were considered important and loved. I’d be okay with that.
Alex: That is a fair answer, and one I respect. I guess my anger comes from street preachers, who publicly force their beliefs on others, and the religious people who judge the non-religious because of a book. I can see that you aren’t “god crazy” but have settled on the notion of God to help you lead a good life. I guess I managed to do it, just because I’m nice, not because someone told me to.
Sadly, other Christians jumped into the conversation and lit Alex back up.
But we keep trying, don’t we, to build the kind of rapport it takes to have a civil conversation? About religion and, these days, about politics.
God help us heal our angry nation and find shepherds who would gently lead us into quiet meadows.