Blog Response: “3 Reasons Why I am Glad I’m Not an Atheist”

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.

Conclusion

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.

One thought on “Blog Response: “3 Reasons Why I am Glad I’m Not an Atheist”

  1. Hi Unmagical Secular Holiday,

    Thank you so much for your detailed and thoughtful response to my blog post. I am always interested in opportunities to respectfully engage with those who believe differently than I do, so thank you for taking me up on this offer and giving me this chance. Ultimately I hope that although we may not resonate with what each other is saying, that this can be a mutually beneficial time of exploring and learning together and so, I hope to make the most of it.

    To begin, thank you for your honesty and openness especially as it relates to how you have arrived at your beliefs. I wish to acknowledge the fact that in some ways, as you alluded to, atheists do not necessarily have it easier than Christians. I also appreciated your suggestion of Super Christianity and what that would look like in relation to what you just shared here.

    To answer some of your more specific questions:

    You ask something akin to “isn’t Christianity nothing more than a crutch?” This is a common assumption many people have, but I think nothing could be further from the truth. The great theologian, C.S. Lewis who spent considerable amount of time as an intellectual atheist once wrote, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” In another book, A Grief Observed, Lewis suggests that Christianity made it more difficult for him to get over his loss because he now had to struggle through the character of God. In our current world, Christians are one of the most persecuted people groups. In many countries, Christians have had to forsake everything for the sake of their faith including being disowned by relatives, losing their property, and in extreme cases even losing their lives. This is especially true of Christians who converted from other major world religions. On a smaller scale, in many countries, Christianity is not the socially acceptable norm as several places in the world prefer secularism. This means that even in relatively political stable countries such as the U.K. and Canada, I can still relate to you stories of my friends who have suffered in some way because of their beliefs.

    Secondly, in response to your question concerning miracles, I do not believe miracles only occur on the grand scale. I believe it is possible to witness large scale miracles and some of my friends from other countries have done so. I also have friends who converted due to supernatural reasons although previously they were quite content as atheists. However, I believe we see miracles quite frequently. For example, you could be in nature and this could really propel you to think that these beautiful places could not simply have been created by chance. If you have given birth to a child, you can truly marvel at the miracle of life and how it is possible to have something so precious growing inside of you.

    Thirdly, I do not wish to negate the fact that humans indeed are very capable of great scientific achievements, yet, the human mind cannot fathom all of the greatness of this universe or all of the intricacies of creation. Humanity has done much good, but I believe it is because of Higher Being has given us the ability to scientifically reason and think for ourselves. You are free to believe otherwise as I suppose you do.

    Lastly, I apologize for any “us” versus “them” mentality. Thank you for calling me on it, it was largely unintentional and I can see now how such phraseology could create difficulty.

    Thank you again for your questions and giving me the time to respond. I am happy to continue the conversation with you and I think you have brought many new and fresh insights to the table.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s