Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Explaing my atheist claim

To those who may have only read the last few blogs, and did not read the 2 years of blogs which detailed how I went from a dishonest, unhappy Christian, to a Christian who was still unhappy, but honest about it; then explained my struggle to not believe; then finally, how I stopped struggling to believe; lastly, I detailed how by not fighting to believe, suddenly the peace and joy I had always wanted just sort of showed up in my life.

As a person who doesn’t fight to believe, I don’t know what to call myself. Not fighting to believe doesn’t mean that I don’t believe. I still view the world through a lens of good and evil. I still believe in sin. Though, I feel I must define the terms somewhat differently than I used to.

Do I believe in God? I don’t know how to answer that.

I grew up believing that God could be your friend. That if I believed the that the Lord Jesus Christ had shed His precious blood to save me from my sins, then Jesus would accept me, and He would change my life.

Well, I did believe. I believed with everything I had. To me belief is shown in action, so I took whatever actions I could to believe. And my life sucked. Sucked hardcore.

Finally, I was living in the projects in Kansas City. My neighbor got shot in a botched crack deal. The girls two doors down were prostitutes. I woke up every day wondering what new way I could find to fail God, and suck more. I thought about suicide often.

One day, I stopped trusting God to take care of me. I got a real job. I got a house where no one was getting shot. I got a car that didn’t leave my wife stranded all the time.

Getting out of debt rather than getting deeper into. Not having neighbors who got shot. Not having to wonder if my wife was getting shot. In result, not feeling like a failure. In result not wanting to kill myself. These are good things. These are the good things that I got by not trusting God to take care of me.

I don’t know how to respond to this. I want to believe in a personal God. I want to believe that good is rewarded. I want to believe that evil punished. My life shows me that trusting God to help me made things suck, and not trusting God made things not suck.

I don’t have a problem with God, I just don’t trust him to take care of me.

Maybe He will take care of me in the afterlife? But if I believe that, then I have to ask myself how I need to act now. What actions must I take that will let me know that my belief is real? And I will end up back where I was.

I don’t know how to believe in a personal relationship with God, and still be happy.

If Christianity means believing that a person should model ones life on most of the teachings of Christ, then I am a Christian. But I don’t think thats what the word Christian means to most people. It think, to most people it means belonging to subculture. I don’t belong to that subculture.

An atheist is a person who doesn’t believe that God exists. An agnostic is someone who believes that God may or may not exist. But a Christian is someone who believes that God loves them and wants a relationship with them. And personal relationship means give and take. Communication, and prayers answered.

So with in the context of Christianity, an atheist is person who doesn’t believe in a personal, in your space, changing your stuff, helping you make it God.

And I don’t believe that God pays my bills. I believe I pay my bills by working my ass off. So I guess I am atheist. Make sense? I hope so.

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August 20, 2008 - Posted by | Religion, skepticism, Uncategorized | ,

12 Comments »

  1. makes sense.

    Comment by tony | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. No, you don’t. I don’t expect God to pay my bills or give me great job or give me health when I eat shitty food and smoke a pack a day. Does this make me an atheist? I think not. It’s my own personal responsibility to work my ass off for all those things. I don’t think it’s is God’s job descriptioin to give me all my wants and needs without me doing my part and working my ass off.
    I still believe that having a personal relationship with God is possible. But I don’t believe he is going to make my car payment for me because I don’t have money because I’m unemployed because I’m lazy. That’s not how God works.

    Comment by The Wonderer | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  3. Well, to be clear, I am no so much making the statement that God doesn’t work this way as I am saying that I don’t get how he works.

    A personal relationship means help. I have a personal relationship with my wife and part of that is we do things for each other. She helps me pay the bills by working, for example.

    So if a personal relationship doesn’t mean feeling better (because I didn’t) and it doesn’t mean helping me fix the problems I have (because He didn’t) then what makes the relationship so personal?

    Comment by truthwalker | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  4. Wherever you find yourself on this journey and whatever you decide to call yourself, I respect your honesty and the courage it takes to examine all things and especially to express them so openly. I think it shows character and integrity — two things I admire most in people.

    Glad to see you blogging again, by the way. I’ve been checking in and wondering if your injury was healing OK. Hope all is well with you and your family.

    Sincerely,
    Lottie

    Comment by Lottie | August 21, 2008 | Reply

  5. One other thought: if you believe in the existence of any god or deity, regardless of what you think said god’s purpose or function is, you are not an atheist, by definition.

    Just something to think about while you’re sorting it all out. 😀

    Comment by Lottie | August 21, 2008 | Reply

  6. A-theism… compound word meaning “No God”… Atheism itself is a lie because to say there is no God is in reality to say “I am God”.

    Someone said that millennia ago… “I will be as the Most High”… at which point the top arc angel picked up his sword and asked threateningly and sarcastically “WHO is like the Most High?” Those words being translated “Michael” and thus went into battle against the Enemy and was called the Archangel Michael from that point onward. The Enemy never forgot the potency of that claim and when he, as a serpent, approached our Mother Eve in the Garden whispered… “You shall be as the Most High… ” Or as scripture says.. “the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” The two phrases are sides of the same coin.

    As a result of Mother Eve listening to that sinister hissing whisper and Father Adam choosing her love instead of God’s death and sin entered into the world. Sin as in prostitution and botched crack deals, death as in conflicts over them.

    Comment by Big Daddy | October 2, 2008 | Reply

  7. First things first, you have to walk by faith in the end would you rather go around doubting and wondering if god is helping you and making mistakes all your life and having so much pride that you only care about your-self. Other than the fact god is the reason your here and christ is the reason your alive. You may get what you want for a little while, but without the belief and victory it takes to be a christian you will have nothing always struggling in the end. Life, is to walk by faith if you knew everything where would the believing take place. Sometimes it takes sacrifices to change whats happening, but praying and having faith is the key components to learn by, even when it’s hard. God, is real and christ died for all of us if you can’t believe that you’ll never have right joy an blessings you want. Giving your all to christ is your main step and believing you need him and can’t do it on your on is your problem. Only you can change, god can help if you just believe.

    Comment by Samantha Wiggins | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  8. A-theism… compound word meaning “No God”… Atheism itself is a lie because to say there is no God is in reality to say “I am God”.

    Um, no. The root word “theism” is belief in the exist of one or more deities/gods. The prefix, “a” means lacking, not, absent, or without. Therefore, “atheism” means without belief in the existence of one or more deities/god(s).

    Absence of belief in something is hardly a claim of being that something. Following your logic, you must be jolly fat man with a long white beard, wearing a red suit. Assuming, of course, that you no longer believe in Santa Clause.

    Comment by Lottie | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  9. god can help if you just believe.

    This is so patronizing and presumptuous! It assumes that those of us who used to believe, just didn’t believe hard enough or good enough or long enough or whatever; that we just didn’t do it right.

    The fact of the matter is, many people believe or believed in your God and Jesus and whole nine yards just as strongly and deeply and certainly as you do, and life was still never full of the blessings and joy you promise.

    Comment by Lottie | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  10. -Dad
    I see where you coming from, but you are wrong. Your idea is “Only God would have the power to look behind every particle, in every universe, at the same time to definitively say ‘I proved there is no god’.” And you’re right. To definitively establish negative proof one would have to be omnipotent and omnipresent. However, in normal day to day speech, we often speak in terms of negative proof. Using Lottie’s example of Santa Clause, technically you would have to be God to survey all of the Universe at the same time and definitively say “there is no Santa.” No one does that of course, because of Occam’s Razor. Occam’s Razor stating that the simplest explanation is the most likely. No Santa is more likely than Santa, so we pass no judgments of “delusions of Godhood” on those who are aclausists.

    -Sam
    Thank you for commenting. I respectfully say that your reply is presumptuous. You decided from reading one blog out of two years worth that you could decide that the reason I was atheist was because I didn’t believe hard enough, and that I might be happy now, but in the end I would find heartbreak.

    How many older Muslims have you talked to about the peace and joy they have experienced from God. How many Buddhists? How many Jews? How many Pagans?

    How is it that you decide that only your joy is full? Only your happiness matters and that all other’s are shallow counterfeits?
    How are you so sure?

    Faith you say. But they have faith too. Yet you are positive they are cursed and your are blessed. How can you be so sure your faith is valid and their’s isn’t?

    The Bible’s claims? But how do you know the Bible is true?

    Faith in feelings that god gives you when you read it? But how do you know those feelings are from God?

    Ultimately, Sam, you believe in your own ability to choose a religion. You like I, in the end must have more faith in your ability to discern God than in God himself.

    Comment by truthwalker | October 30, 2008 | Reply

  11. Good points, Truthwalker! As you say, it also assumes that anyone who doesn’t subscribe to Sam’s brand of faith isn’t really happy. As for me, I’m happier now than I ever was trying to live up to the impossible standards of Christianity.

    Comment by Lottie | October 30, 2008 | Reply

  12. Just a thought….but isn’t demonstrating some level of personal independence and responsibility a characteristic of free-will?

    Given that, if God took the life out of life by paying your bills, constructing your daily routine, and eliminating the need to actually hold some level of responsibility for your own life….that would sort of defeat the purpose of that life?

    Comment by Jeff | December 15, 2008 | Reply


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