A commenter asks how an intelligent and literate guy like me could possibly believe in the nonsense of religion:
I am always somehow startled and baffled when I encounter intelligent and/or literate Christians (although obviously this is an absurd feeling to have given the sheer number of Christians in the world).
Does this mean you accept as objective truth God’s existence, the Eternal Soul, Heaven, Hell, the Trinity, the Resurrection and Ascent, the Second Coming, the Day of Judgment, etc., etc.?
After initial belief, I was an agnostic/atheist for decades and it sucked! I finally got sick and tired of being philosophically miserable. I was associating with a bunch of Arabs in 2001 during and after the Middle East Crisis, including the Palestinians taking shelter in the Church in Bethlehem. All of the Arabs were either Muslims or Christians. And these were the Marxists. Then I started reading a lot about the Middle East, and everyone there has a religion, pretty much. It’s like a badge of identity.
Then I went to see Mel Gibson’s movie and decided I was going to get back into Christianity, which I had believed in as a child.
As far as the details, I don’t think about them much. My philosophy is this: Jesus was sent down here by God. He transcended scientific laws by surviving death, but those laws can be transcended by someone with a tie-in to God. Guys like Jesus are floating down from the spiritual world all of the time. That’s what he was. He was just another in the endless string of guys that God sends down to the spiritual world.
I don’t think God plays much a role in this world. You can petition Him, but he may not answer. God is like this stoner guy who was real productive in his youth but now he’s this aging hippie, kicking it with a waterpipe. He made the Universe when he was young and energetic, but since then he hasn’t done much. He’s a Lazy God. He sits up there and takes bong hits all day. He plays little to no role in our lives, since he isn’t interested in us anymore. He just created the Universe, then he sat back and has not done much ever since.
Christianity has more history behind it than most other religions. There were lots of folks there at the time, many of the events were witnessed, and the witnesses never recanted, even under pain of death and torture. Over 900 people saw Jesus rise. Historians documented this soon after his death. Josephus for one.
The Virgin Birth is crap. Allegory. I throw out the whole Old Testament as Jewish. I’m not a Jew, so why should I believe in that. I’m a “Jesusist” and a strict NT guy. The NT replaces the OT anyway.
Christianity is a great way to live your life! Walk like Jesus! It’s a great step!
Heaven – not sure
Hell – dubious
Eternal Soul – sure
Trinity – dunno, maybe
Resurrection and Ascent – sure
Second Coming – dubious but possible
Judgment Day – dubious
Thing is, if you go and ask your typical person from a Catholic country this stuff, you often get a similar set of answers, especially from the men. Recall Mother Theresa was plagued by doubts her whole life – this means she was an agnostic? I’m similar.
But that’s Catholicism. The Catholic is supposed to question and investigate things his whole life. He’s not supposed to take things on faith. That’s the nature of the religion. If you go to Italy, Spain or Latin America, a lot of the people, especially the men, will say, “Sure I’m Catholic,” but then you ask them questions, and often they’re not even sure about God, forget the rest. It’s more of a form of identity and a culture and lifestyle.
Truth is, I don’t care if Christianity is true or not. If it’s not, what harm will come to me for believing in it anyway? Nothing. Atheism and agnosticism is cheerless, dreary and miserable. It’s no way to live. I’d rather believe gorgeous nonsense than believe in dark and dismal nothingness (basically nihilism) of atheism. And if there’s even 1% chance Christianity is true, I’m in like Flynn.*
*I’m like the most secular Christian on Earth. I’m so secular, that the fundamentalists usually say, “You’re not a Christian.”