The road to new religion(s)
I recently read a thought provoking essay of a man's journey from Catholicism to where he ended up building a church of atheism. Along the way he passed through sectarianism (dealing with die-hard adherents of different sects), syncretism (the combination of different forms of belief or practice), personal relational stresses as he chose to disbelieve God, and how to lovingly raise a family with no spiritual reference point (essay is here).
At the same time I've been reading perspectives such as "God is not an object", and about evangelistic atheism, and digging into Chesterton's unique expose of a reasonable faith.
In all this two thoughts strike me: about how deeply embedded this is in the society I daily engage with, yet which goes mostly unrecognised; and how easily human logic can reinforce a "what's in it for me" reasoning that leads a person down an alleyway of self-defined values and ultimately into nihilism. If there is no God, fine. If there is ...?
I live mostly surrounded by nice people; "good" people, who have morals that largely steer their lives (at least so long as their lives remain reasonably secure). Many profess "Christianity", at least in name. But of course, to know what a person really believes I simply have to look at how their priorities play out in their commitments - that is the real give-away. For the most part these "good" people's actions show a commitment to securing a comfortable and "happy" personal life.
However, so long as Christians (dare I invoke "the church" ... perhaps not) play the game of "lets not offend anyone with our statements", so long as Christians continue to placate rather that perturb, these good people will continue with a sense of "I'm ok" before most likely drifting off into practical atheism. "So long as" ... a problematic phrase.
As a Christian, for me God is not an object to be picked up and set down, or exchanged for another that makes me feel comfortable. Likewise, God is not a "something". For me, God is the subject: "In him and through him I have my being". Further, while some say logic is religion's great predator, I find logic to be religion's great defender. The difference is whether I am using logic loosely to seek a path toward moments of happiness, or will I use logic honestly to disclose the truths that lie before my eyes. Uncomfortable truths, disturbing and perturbing truths that end in joy if I can only ever get over having moment by moment "happiness" as my goal. Truth is not abut happiness, truth is a Joy that says "I can see clearly now".
It is my contention that the path to prioritized personal happiness is logically and necessarily also a path to atheism. Conversely, a path to atheism is necessarily a path that seeks personal happiness. For I can only be happy when I am shielded from the truths of what I am in myself, and what the world is around me.
Personally, I'd rather choose to remove the blindfold and replace happiness with Joy. And if others proselytize to draw me into their church of blindfolded comfort, I'll say "Be logical for once in your life, do you really believe you've got your eyes open?"
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Important: The views expressed on this blog do not necessarily reflect the official position of our church
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