Is atheism the easy option? With atheism I can do what I like in this life and then there is nothing.....except that IF I get it wrong then according to the Christians I will then spend my eternity in hell.
Whereas, with christianity I have to choose to surrender to Jesus (see Salvation Prayer blog) and then live by the rules of the bible (see Ten Commandments blog) and then hope I go to heaven but potentially, given the life I have led so far...i.e have two children out of wedlock - go to hell.......for eternity. That's the interesting thing - all the good stuff we do doesn't seem to count for anything if you don't surrender. You could be an aid worker in Africa, living in poverty and devoting your entire life to helping others and that would not be enough because you have not surrendered your life to Jesus. You can spend your life helping others and being the kindest person in the world but if you don't believe you will be damned to hell for eternity.
Scary stuff eh? But would it be wrong, morally weak, to believe - not because of a positive belief in Jesus but in a fear of hell?
I used to look at christians and covet what they had -
- The moral certainty
- Quite often - the loving husband
- The beatific smile
- You've heard of "smug marrieds" (Bridget Jones) - well the glow on a Christian's face (not all - but especially the evangelical ones) makes the married friends of Miss Jones look as though they are in mourning.
Now, I just don't know. To be fair - I don't think I've ever heard a Christian tell me theirs was the easy option - just the only option.
I've heard some atheists speak of Christians as being weak in their need to believe in something, but actually the weak position seems to be atheism. "Nothing" is much easier to believe in than "eternity".......potentially in hell.
Daniel Everett was a missionary. His book "Don't sleep, there are snakes" is an autobiography of his journey to atheism. He went to the Amazon to convert a tribe to Jesus and they ended up converting him to atheism. The question that has been perplexing me is - if he got it wrong, the fact that he showed the tribe the option of Jesus - has he now damned them to hell because they have rejected Jesus? If he had not visited them and they were not aware of their options then would a kind and compassionate God really send them to eternity in hell when they had not had the opportunity to know Jesus?
Last week my friend Jane offered for me to give my life to Jesus. She said "You can do it right now". I replied in increasingly desperate tones, "I can't, I can't". I could not begin to verbalise why as it has taken time to process my reaction.
I am fascinated when I hear of people who have no or little knowledge of the bible suddenly falling down and "giving their lives to Jesus". How can they do that? Why could I not do that?
I want to continue questioning and exploring and I fear that if, or once, I make that declaration it is game over - I must live by the rules of the bible (open to interpretation) and no longer question.
A huge part of me feels that when and only when I can argue logically and cogently with an atheist and potentially win will I be able to "surrender" but is that my ego getting in the way? and what a risk to take? Why put my eternal future in the hands of an atheist? Surely the logical answer is that the atheist can make their own journey.
All I know is that currently I enjoy going to church but feel I am on borrowed time. I feel I have temporary membership of a club and the Manager at some point soon is going to say "You either pay your subscription, abide by the rules of the club and have access to all the rooms in the club....or you leave. Your 6 month trial membership is up".
You know there is one thing that winds me up - (I am about to be judgmental and not christian at all!). The same friends who talk of me becoming a "God botherer", pity me, or try to join Dawkins on his particular hillock of high ground are the same people who can be found searching for peace, contentment, an answer to their worries or even "enlightenment" through yoga and/or meditation. They are the same people who do "reiki" or "horoscopes" or visit clairvoyants. They are the same people who believe in "The Secret" or "Cosmic Ordering". They are the same people who believe in luck and believe in ghosts. Do any of them see the contradiction in their position? They are prepared to believe a random set of beliefs and practices to be found on the shelves of New Age bookstores but not a word of Jesus.
They are saying they believe in a spirit world but when you talk about the spirit world referring to Jesus they go all atheist on you.