Sunday, October 28, 2007

An Article of Faith

I was listening to an episode of the Laura Ingraham Show featuring Dan Barker, a former preacher who turned to atheism and current host of Freethought Radio on Air America. Barker was featured in a segment with Dinesh D'Souza, author of What's So Great About Christianity, on the subject of faith. As you can guess, Barker's position was not exactly friendly towards Christianity. Hearing Barker talk about how he "grew up" after he rejected Christianity and how he professed the superiority of reason and logic (which he claimed proves the Bible wrong) brought back some painful memories.

When I was young and stupid, I took Barker's position. Boy, did I ever! I was arrogant and thought God couldn't possibly exist because I believed He didn't touch my life in any way in spite of years of faithful service in my youth. I fell out of faith later in my teens after a particularly rough year and felt my youthful intellect was superior to God. As I got older, I found God never really left me, even during those tough times. What happened was that my understanding of God didn't grow up as I did.

When I opened my heart to God again, I reexamined my faith and came to terms with my past. The "I'm smarter than God" attitude fell away and was replaced with humility and respect for God's works. Instead of thinking facts and reason were at odds with faith, I found that they work in concert with faith. Opening up my heart opened up my life, and things continue to get better every day.

Barker's comments brought back a lot of memories, not all of them good. I am ashamed of the way I used to be, but without it, I would not have been able to find redemption now. I think one of the big areas where atheists fail is in not questioning their lack of faith. I firmly believe that in order to be comfortable with your life philosophy, you must question it from time to time. I didn't, and it's clear Barker hasn't yet.

Another area where atheists fall is when they become arrogant with their lack of faith. I've known atheists and agnostics over the years, and most are regular folks who respectfully disagree with people of faith. But there are those, like Barker and Michael Newdow, who have made it a holy crusade (ironically enough) to "prove" Christianity wrong. They place their faith (ironically enough again) in facts and logic, according to them. Yet, facts and logic can fail if one has incomplete or inaccurate information. But try telling that to someone like Barker. He's too busy proclaiming his superiority to Christians...setting himself up as a...god.

Irony abounds with the arrogant atheist front, doesn't it?

Listen, I have no problem with you if you question your faith in God or if you out and out reject God. That's your call, and you're welcome to it. But don't try to come off as though you're superior to me because I happen to believe in God. I've been down the "I'm smarter than Christians" road and it lead to a dead end for me. If it doesn't for you, great. But if you want me to respect your lack of faith, respect my abundance of faith.

2 comments:

Rachael said...

I think the key, here, is respect. All kinds of different faiths can co-exist with respect. Thank you for a thought-provoking post! Well-done!

Anonymous said...

Well said, Thomas. I’m glad you made the choice to come back to Christ, because the decisions we make now have consequences in eternity.

About “different faiths co-existing peacefully,” I’m not so sure that’s true. I’m all for it, of course, but I can think of certain followers of Islam, for example, who would vehemently disagree with you…right before cutting your head off. And although I am tolerant of others’ religions, I’m under no misconception that those other religions are valid. You see, tolerance is a virtue. But tolerance in the face of truth is a travesty. Now that may sound exclusive – and it is – but what you must understand is that all religions CANNOT lead to the same god in different ways. This principle can be proved with a single sentence: All religions cannot worship the same god because each religion makes mutually exclusive truth claims. Sure, people are turned off by the “exclusive” claims of Christianity, but somehow, these very same people fail to recognize that EVERY religion says it is the only truth and points to all other religions and says they’re all lies.

For example, Christianity says that Jesus is the unique Son of God and God in human flesh, that he paid our sin debt by dying on the cross for us, and that He rose from the dead proving once and for all that He is God. Islam says that not only is Jesus NOT God, but He’s not even the Son of God…and He never even died! The earliest forms of Buddhism and Hinduism say there IS NO God, there’s just an impersonal cosmic consciousness, and finally, atheism/evolutionism/secular humanism say there is no God and no consciousness in the universe, and humanity is just an accident.

Now how can all of those religions be true and different ways of worshipping the same God at the same time?
Simply put, they can’t.

Anyway, for a former pastor, Dan Barker seemed remarkably uneducated as to Christian apologetics. In fact, his arguments for his faith and against Christianity were remarkably weak. How sad. There is hope, though, because we know God doesn’t want anyone to perish.
2 Peter 3:9

Good blog, Thomas. Keep up the good work.
-Mark