Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Atheist ....


By Tony Harriman



Seems to me that an Atheist is not born. An Atheist is caused ... or made (created, if you don't mind putting those two words in the same sentence). People might for a long while be indifferent toward the existence of God, mainly because they have no proof, or because they simply have no reason to believe in someone they can't capture with the senses.  The idea of a Creator doesn't just simply occur to a person; the seed has to be sown by an entity outside of themselves.  

Most of us will give God the benefit of the doubt, and give Him the credit for the beautiful things on the planet and beyond. But a large number of earthlings (Atheists included) just don't understand why a Being with such incredible power as to breathe suns and galaxies into life wouldn't clothe and feed a cold and hungry child. Why would such a Being be more interested in how humans eat, drink and make merry, than in the welfare of the many intimidated innocents on the planet? The witness of the atrocities of evil and the selfishness of Man is no inspiration to any human being with an ounce of compassion.

Philosophers and religionists alike have offered scores of ideas for why the world as we know it continues the way it does. All of these ideas CANNOT be right, nor may they all be necessarily wrong. And most honest-hearted people will at least listen to an idea, hoping to find some consolation—at least for a while, anyway.

But there inevitably comes a time when grief, heartache, and sometimes even shame or pain, show up on the doorstep of each one of us. And that is the moment that truth is revealed. Will a person cling to an idea they've held on to for a while but cannot prove? Or will the person weigh anchor and drift off to another, maybe better, idea? Of course, that's very personal and totally subjective. In other words: you'll have to wait and see, and maybe not for long.

I feel that there should be different classifications of Atheists, and maybe there already are, and I'm just not aware of them. Maybe the category of Intelligent Design (ID) would be a good place for some people to moor their boat. ID people might be happy to give credit to a creator, but not to a deity who makes claims on our time and energies.  Not a God, but a Power, has been responsible for all that exists.

Recently I was blessed to have been listening to a series of lectures by a microbiologist and geneticist who is also a Christian. And I have to be honest, while listening I had all my shields up and filters in place as this man spoke of the incredible complexity in nature as viewed through the Theory of Evolution. And honestly, I'm not sure I can tell you what this speaker truly believes about the seeming millions of years of "evidence" in the rocks of earth. But this scientist's appreciation for a Being who has such creative capacity was really refreshing.

There's probably a large place for "adaptation" in the study of organisms on the planet; truly, it would probably be very difficult to study medicine without embracing the idea that germs and viruses "change," often in a very short space of time. But I am not a believer in what is known as Evolution Theory and the idea that life on this planet started as a very simple electrically-charged cell and went on to become multiple beings with the capacity to be aware of their surroundings, or that discovered and developed the capability to calculate vast distances across the cosmos. I am not a person of great faith, and the idea of such a fantastic metamorphosis is too great of a leap for me. My apologies to my friends who understand the concept far better than I do.

I have my own set of frustrations regarding the Heavenly realms and their interaction with Planet Earth, as I'm sure you do. But I once lived life without a knowledge of a beneficent Being in my consciousness, and I would find it very difficult, if not impossible, to step back into that cold, dark existence. I've had my own losses and heartaches; some really hard to stomach. But the experiences have not caused me to look down—only up. Those of you who know me a little bit will readily acknowledge that there are more questions floating about between my ears than there are answers. This life is a puzzle to me. Questions regarding why God would do things this way in the first place, and then leave Himself to sort it out are a mystery to me.

But I really don't feel like I have to have answers before I can believe. Belief doesn't work that way. Belief that has to be pasted on is not belief at all. If you believe it, you believe it—and that's that. Your belief may change over time. But a person doesn't wake up one morning and tell his or herself to believe a certain way. Beliefs become more refined, or more fuzzy, depending upon "education" — education in the sense of the things you learn about a subject.

An Atheist has learned things that have not led the mind toward Heavenly things. But there is no need for the believer to "fear" the Atheist and his or her views. Certainly God is not affected by people who don't believe in Him. If you have concerns about the Atheist, the concern might not really be about the views of the Atheist; the concern might actually be with the fragility of your own views, and what you truly believe -- or think you believe.

The Atheist is on a similar path to that of the believer in Heavenly things.  Science, and its method for proving that things exist and have a meaningful function, is unable to prove or disprove that God exists, so the Atheist must put his or her trust in a theory that is inherently shaky at best.  The belief that God doesn't exist is as surely a product of faith as is the belief that He does exist.

Bottom line: there are many things we know very little about. But we don't have long to wait before we DO know what is, and also what ain't. In the meantime, if you feel God should be doing a better job of caring for the beings of the planet, maybe you could help Him out for a while. Maybe He'll get the idea once he sees what you're about.

And that's just my take on it ....



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