Why I respect Atheists and actually like them
Atheists, I have come to understand, are not just people who do not believe in the existence of a specific deity, or more specifically in the total absence of any deity; they are usually well read and informed on religion in the general, and more specifically on the different manifestations thereof as well as the actual handbooks that go with them.
That their journey to the arrival of their current convictions may have been either as a result of questioning and study or parental or other upbringing is a matter for discussion on its own, but my own beliefs I must say, are based on a combination of both. Growing up while being exposed to Christianity obviously increase the bias, but growing older did give me the opportunity to “dabble”, I must admit, in the Islam, Buddhism and briefly scrutinise some of the other more mainstream religions.
So, it thus came to pass that I am of the belief that Man, (and there are exceptions), is essentially a theistic creature and I include myself. History I think proves me right in terms of the extreme steps taken by many using religion to justify war, torture, murder, genocide, hegemony....the list goes on.
The choices made by this writer were thus made as follows:
a) Oriental/Asian religions –Scratch all, not enough knowledge. Though, wait a minute, there are many Buddhist concepts that are appealing and in fact makes sense
b) Islam –Nah, too violent, rigid, dogmatic and the ‘explosives-around-the-middle’ thing is not for me
c) Christianity –OK. Know the most about it and is true to my roots.
Well now the problem, what version of Christianity? Well easy, the manual that comes with it is called the Bible. Aha, but which version? And all or just bits of it?
Well any version would probably do, but the Old Testament could be a bit violent and that Leviticus section really bangs on about things that are against the law and the constitution. Some redeeming moral lessons in other bits though, except that..... Yeah, Genesis.
Now it needs to be said that I implicitly believe in Evolution, Big Bang, and no the Earth is not 6000 years old. I think the Creationists unfortunately; have fallen off the bus somewhere. I mean even the Pope said the Big Bang Theory is ok, and this in 1951. And I think it is utter arrogance to believe that earth life should be unique in the universe.
So the New Testament is more to my liking and specifically the four gospels, although again the killing thing at the ends, but then in contrast, the person Jesus is utterly fascinating.
A bastard by some definitions, usually contrary, skirting and defying the rules, and always having a clever answer. He regularly partied, consorted with crooks, prostitutes, outcasts, murderers, and one of his best mates was a traitor, took a bribe and committed suicide. He swore at a tree, assaulted people in the church and treated woman as equals. A rebel kind of boykie.
But read in context this poses some questions. So is the example, (set for those who want to be a Christian), a helping hand, a reach out, showing grace and compassion? Yes? This when there is the pain of a young girl having had an abortion, a drug addicted prostitute, a gay person struggling with his/her identity or decision to come out, a drunk staggering somewhere? Should we just hang and condemn the Sunday rapist, condemn those that support euthanasia? Or do we turn them away and shun them? Does this thus prove that we are Christians?
Are we Christians so morally right that we can unconditionally just revile these people, and send them straight to hell? Is this why so many churches shut their doors and only open them for sermons, with the excuse that otherwise people will come in and steal? Are we so above the cesspool of the vile in humanity who steal, murder and rape that we rather shut ourselves behind gates and electric fences, watching in HD how people are shot (right or wrong, does not matter), for what they believe in? But we who believe in justice and morality never venture outside to protest?
So perhaps it is not as simple as I make out, but the point perhaps is the fact that some atheists actually live a life closer to Jesus than some Christians do. They do not confuse forgiveness of a person for some misdeed, with that of the perpetrator having to accept responsibility for his/her deed/s. Irrespective whether or not they believe in a deity.
In fact I will rather consort with some atheists based on the contents of their posts, than some Christians who believe living in absolute Black and White.
Which probably does not make me a Christian as I am judgemental, does not show much tolerance, even less kindness and by just the very fact that I have written this, criticised some.
So I guess it all comes down to grace......