I imagine that Christians would like to see a world with one religion; their's. What possible harm could that do, where everyone subscribes to the one true belief in the one true God? One system, one God, one leader, to rule the world? If not a man, what about God himself. Does that sound like a great solutiojn? Does that sound like...heaven?
Actually, we've been there before. In 1688 a Dutch Armada invaded England with an enormous flotilla of 40 000 men and 463 ships and took over the monarchy. In layman's terms this amounted to Dutch Protestants going to war against British Catholicism, in order to neutralise the growing threat of French Catholics across their borders. But is this history well known? It's another aspect historians have tried to literally 'hide' away.
I don't expect a single Christian to know about this, because once again it shows Chrisitianity in a bad light - entire nations going to war on the basis of...what denomination one is?
In the same way, as an atheist, I don't see a world 'united' under one religion being the answer, because as we know, conflict is actually the worst amongst people of the same faith that disagree on the details. The Arabs have the same version of this, when it comes to the Shiites and the Sunni's.
I was going to go to some effort in writing this, my 50th and last piece here, but I notice many of those who comment on the pieces I've written don't seem to read more than the title.
So let me summarise my points briefly, after providing a little context. I was a Christian for twenty years (and to satisfy Christians let's agree that I was a fake, artificial Christian) and have been an atheist for 10 years. In other words I know a lot more about Christianity and atheism. That said, I have learnt far more about myself, the world and our overarching mentalities than I did as a Christian.
Christianity can be credited with civilising Europe under one culture or belief system. Were it not for Christianity who knows how long thousands of tribes would have picked fights and made human and animal sacrifices.
But there are limits to a unifying force; you want diversity and individualism and you want a community. Christianity does not tolerate much diversity. Christianity is also very effective in getting people to quit thinking.
Here are my three points then.
1. I attended a particular church for a number of years, and during my attendance it was packed to the rafters. When I attended it again, as an atheist, it was almost entirely empty. This saddened me. I'm not sure why. I reached the surprising conclusion that I don't want Chrisitianity to disappear entirely. But then what do I want?
2. I would like the number of Christians (currently over 2 billion) to become far fewer. Perhaps less than 10% of the population would be acceptable. That said, Christianity is possibly a better belief system to be in charge of world affairs than Islam, though I'm not sure. In any event, Atheism is the world's third largest belief system, and due to access to information, will hopefully continue to grow.
3. Christianity is part of the human story, and an important part. Atheists make a mistake when they say it is nonsense, or irrelevant. But Christians do our species a favour by wielding their ignorance and proclaiming their lack of knowledge, and worse, experience of the world, like a badge of honor. It is like a young man who proclaims to love his beloved even though he has never met her, spoken to her or even seen her. At his wedding the young man claims he will love her forever and that his love is true. All admirable sentiments, but ultimately worth nothing. Christians lose points in the vital area, that in order to love God, you must first know thyself, and to know thyself, means to be thyself.
One of the reasons that I will no longer contribute to this debate is that I would like to move forward with my thoughts and ideas, and most Christians insist on moving backward. It is not my job to show them their mistakes, though I would like to spare them the regret, pain and suffering that can be associated with waking up to realise you have been livjng a live, you have wasted your life, and you have been betrayed by people's whose word you accepted as 'the truth' at face value.
Christians are too frightened to know anything, about themselves or the world, or how the world works, yet they procalim to be experts on God's love for them. At the end of the day, when that sort of faith gets tested in the real world, it invariably ends in tears. Or even deeper denial.
In the end the most sophisticated among us are those who can tolerate and even accept two opposing views at the same time. In this sense the atheists are still streets ahead of Christians. If you are searching and growing, you are on the right track to a real and authentic life and I wish you well on your journey.
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