For this post I will be responding directly to a specific blog post written by Deborah-Ruth Ferber. I highly suggest that you read the original post to get the context.
- There is absolutely no need to apologize, I am not offended by your blog post. I assume we don’t agree on much in this area, and perhaps we don’t even understand each other very much either. But that’s the reason I’m taking you up on your offer for discussion.
- I am an Atheist and a Secular Humanist.
- Generally speaking, yes, I do think that Christianity is (among other things) just a bunch of fairy tales that are often used as crutch in hard times. But I don’t think that that’s an audacious thing to say. In fact, you also seem to be OK with the idea of using Christianity as a crutch. You say that it takes strength not to believe in God and that you do not have that strength. So doesn’t your Christian faith sustain you where you are weakest just as a crutch does? You also say: “In seasons of distress, when we cling to God, He does not disappoint.” I think it’s normal to rely on our most core understandings/beliefs when things are hardest and most confusing. I can relate to that now as an Atheist. Also, (not that this reflects your opinion) when I was a Christian I definitely used my faith as a crutch.
- (#1) I would summarize your main point here as: “prayer always works except when it doesn’t”. Which is pretty much a non-statement. At least it can’t be tested or verified in anyway. You also claim to have witnessed miracles. I’m curious what those were and how you know they were miracles. I won’t bog this down with the usual scientific and epistemological arguments used in response to miracle claims. But I’m going to assume (and of course correct me if I’m wrong) that you would be using some type of “God-of-the-gaps” type argument in support of your claims.
- (#2) You say: “humanity in and of itself is not able to understand the vastness of the universe”. I have no idea what you mean by this. Also, how does faith help us to understand the vastness of the universe? Humanity has recently observed gravity waves for the first time! So we’re taking a pretty good stab at understanding the vastness of the universe, even if there are an unknowable amount of things we still don’t know. Go humans!
- (#3) If you google the words “What If You’re Wrong” you’ll probably find this video very quickly. It’s so well known that you can also watch it animated by South Park instead if you like. That’s my answer to Pascal’s Wager.
- I notice that in your concluding paragraph you use the word “us” when describing the benefits of Christianity and the word “I” when describing the drawbacks of atheism. I suggest that you are falsely assuming that the benefits that you get from Christianity will also benefit other people.
The title of your post says that you’re glad you’re not an Atheist. You then describe three main reasons why you are not an Atheist. In the process you describe many wonderful benefits of Christianity and then ask “why do you not want that?”.
Essentially, my answer is that yes, I do want all the warm happy feelings of eternal bliss that you describe. But it’s just unbelievable for me. I have had a long transition from being a Christian to being an Atheist, which I describe in other blog posts. But I have always thought that there is actually something more comfortable about being a Christian than being an Atheist. Eternal life sounds good, heaven sounds good too, I like my friends and family and don’t want to never see them again when I’m dead.
Given the choice of paradigm between Christianity and Atheism, I’ve never thought that Atheism is a more comforting or blissful existence. I do think that it has benefits and that it is much more realistic, more true and more reasonable – but I won’t go into that now.
So allow me to pivot the conversation and present you with another religion. I call it Super Christianity! Super Christianity is just the same as Christianity except that the feelings of love and forgiveness are even greater, the Super Bible is longer and reveals more guidance from God and more of Jesus’ love. It’s fundamentally a more robust worldview with more answers, more love an more Zweibach. Would you chose Super Christianity? Perhaps. But you’d first need to be convinced to believe in it, right? I feel like your blog post has described the wonderfulness of Christ, but given me no reason to think that it is more than fairy tales.