My friend PDS over at A Tale of Two Architects has an interesting post today that touches on something I've wondered about for quite a while. PDS, a Christian who I guess you could say lost his way for awhile, is slowly discussing his journey from non-belief to belief and the experiences and people that led him to his faith today. If you haven't read his story you should, it's thoughtful and (I mean this in a positive sense) typical of so many of our lives. People touch us, God touches us and we build our lives and faith.
PDS' post today is titled "Caricatures No More - 1" and discusses how during his life as a non-beleiver he felt superior to those of us who were believers. Over time, as he opened his eyes to others - and I would suggest as others demonstrated their love for him - he began to see faith differently. What once appeared to be a crutch, was actually a sign of strength and a source of the power that was working unbeknownst to him in his life. The power of love.
So here's the thing that I've wondered for a long time. I've always been a Christian, and for whatever reason I've been blessed with a strong faith in God. Some might suggest that this is only a function of never having questioned my faith, but I don't think that is the case; I spend a lot of time thinking about things and always come to the same conclusion.
There is a God and he loves us.
What I don't get and I'm hoping you can explain is why do non-believers almost without exception feel the need to ridicule believers? The easy answer is that it is a defense mechanism against being faced with the acknowledgment that in their hearts they know they're wrong, but I'm not sure I buy an explanation as simple as that.
The only real answer that I can come up with is that in an odd, sort of ironic way, non-believers actually suffer from an excess of piety; they see an imperfect world, they witness suffering and cannot believe that a loving God, a good God would let it exist. Logical conculsion; God does not exist. Given that those of us who believe feel God's call in some way or another, perhaps it's fair to assume that non-believers feel this same call but must deny it to maintain their view of a perfect God, thus creating the anger?
Faith is a difficult thing and we all know that within each life there are challenges. Thankfully for most of us those challenges are surmountable and end up being, as my dad used to say, "character builders". Sadly, some lives are filled with despair. Evil does walk the earth, and fate does seem to strike its awful blow indescriminately. It isn't hard to see how a person could lose their way in this world.
Still, I always seem to come to the same conclusion. We're all in this together and power of God's love is reflected most strongly in the love we show to each other. I do despair for my atheist friends, not because I believe that they won't get to heaven or any such thing, but because I can' t imagine life without faith. I hope in some small way, I can show them God's love.