Notepad on Life

September 11, 2011

Christianity not left wing? It’s not supposed to be toffee-nosed, either

Filed under: Religion — - @ 8:51 pm
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Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

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Agreeing as I do with easily 95% of what appears in Christianity-is-Not-Left-Wing, it goes against the grain somewhat to feel obliged to take public issue with its observations.

Its latest pronouncement on faith, however, cannot go unchallenged.

I always worry about Christians, usually in the media, who claim to have (had) ‘a crisis of faith’. No problems up to that point – we all surely do. What is troubling however, is when they go on to speak of ‘doubting the existence of God’ as a part of this. No ‘born again’ believer who has encountered God’s intervention in his/her life can possibly say this.

“If your problem is a periodical disbelief in God – then I must ask you whether or not God was only ever a mere opinion to you?”

Full disclosure: I have been known to tick both boxes in the first paragraph of this extract.

I am struggling, though, to imagine a crisis of faith that doesn’t involve doubt in God’s existence. If He seems deaf or far off, that may be disappointing or frustrating but there can be no ‘crisis’, surely, if you remain satisfied that He is in overall control?

I suffer, I know, from a readiness to examine all opinions that serves me better on some occasions than it does on others. The rise of New Atheism these last five years has forced me to examine what I have believed in all my life, not because I’m subconsciously seeking a way out but because I have no intention of going down without a fight.

This process is not plain sailing. Regardless of how you ultimately assess the arguments against religion, there is a multitude of them out there, all of it readily accessible via the Internet, much of it couched in stridently abusive terms and some of it posing arguments that offer genuine food for thought.

Some days, you enter the fray and sustain only scratches. Other days, however, the tumult shakes you to the core and you look to the sky and genuinely wonder.

By CiNLW’s standards, this apparently marks me down as some spiritual dilettante who is merely playing at being a Christian. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone who just plays at this game would devote several hours a week to studying blogs and websites written by atheists and Christian apologists alike, in order to define the topics on which his faith hinges and the arguments both for and against. Anyone who views such behaviour as betrayal, I invite to look at it from a different angle.

Much as I grow increasingly unimpressed at Richard Dawkins lofty disdain for those who dare have a different view to his own, I will be forever grateful to him for making me get off my backside and look long and hard at what I have signed up to.

Because of him, I have read articles on quantum physics and human psychology, watched documentaries on astronomy and Biblical history that would have otherwise passed me by. Far from being cheapened by this exercise, my faith has been invigorated by it.

I have been to the front line of this, perhaps the ultimate debate. I have learnt to roll with the punches and, most importantly, to stop fearing my doubts, a crippling burden some Christians seem to regard as mandatory.

What was once a complacent faith wheeled into public view one day in every seven is now a daily-engaged, battle-hardened work in progress, warts and all. If the alternative is to be a Pollyanna Christian who sticks his fingers in his ears and sings la-la-la at the first sight of an approaching scientist, then I’ll take my chances.

If my resentment at CiNLW‘s sentiments were merely personal, then this response would  have never been written. When what feels like half of cyberspace thinks you’re a ***** sky-fairy, Jeebus-loving ****** and frequently says so, a little well-intentioned reproval from those on your own side causes barely a twinge. What angers me, however, is that they might be read by recent converts to the faith, who are grappling with the very real conflicts between the world they have just entered and the one they left behind, and who might conclude that they were never really the right sort for this Christianity thing in the first place. Ah, we have doubts: game over, then.

I don’t know what type of church the person behind CiNLW attends but I have to say that there is a whiff of smug superiority about his comments that smacks of  the Evangelical camp. They do neither him nor our shared cause any credit whatsoever.


Christians don’t need apologetics? Think again.

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