Trying to Believe in God (or, listening to your inner atheist)

I think I know more people who are trying to believe in God than people who actually do.

Maybe I need to get out more often, or maybe I need to have a less selective group of conversation partners, but this is my experience.

You go through your day hoping to catch a glimpse of him, a “God moment” as it were. But more often than not God is a no-show. Up there, out there. Somewhere, just not here.

Go to church. Read the Bible. Speak the right words to those who ask. More a reflex than who you really are and where you really are.

Sometimes you just want to open up and have an honest moment, but that is a big risk. What will people think?

Why does this have to be so hard? Why is believing in God like trying to hold three huge beach balls under the water’s surface?

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about this again, because of some experiences I’ve had with others, both in church and also at the academic meeting in Chicago I just returned from (the annual Society of Biblical Literature meeting).

Normal people have all sorts of issues in trying to believe in God. Academics (and those interested in the academic study of the Bible and theology) have another layer of problem: deep intellectual challenges about things like the origins of Israelite religion (the Old Testament) and of the Jesus story (New Testament).

How much of this is historical and how much is fantasy? Who wrote all of this stuff and when? Is any of it true or just more ancient opinions to which we can and should bid a fond farewell?

Academics who are also trying to believe in God live in these questions more often than not, especially those coming from conservative backgrounds. I hear a lot of this, and I heard a lot of it in Chicago this weekend.

No simple solutions, at least not from me. But I will say two things:

(1) Holding together faith in God, whom we do not see, and the daily grind, which is in our face 24/7, is a tough sell–and more often than we might want to admit sometimes.

(2) This is nothing new. Even some writers of the Bible–I’ll repeat that–even some writers of the Bible–have trouble holding it together. In fact, if you read what they say, you can watch them falling apart before your eyes.

Writers of Old Testament psalms wonder “what’s the use?” (Psalm 73), and one writer feels like God is completely absent, with only darkness as a companion (Psalm 88). Another writer says, in effect, “life sucks and God is to blame” (Ecclesiastes).

I’m not saying that these parts of the Bible magically relieve the stress. I am not saying that with a little more faith the problems (academic or life) will disappear. But it might be worth knowing that built into the Christian faith is an A O.K. for letting go of the beach balls once in a while.

No need to role play. No need to be careful to keep up a good image. If others don’t get it now, they likely will soon enough.

 

 

  • https://twitter.com/ReformAZN Maim

    Hello Pete,

    I liked this post very much. That we see in the Bible such honesty and openness in the doubting of God, in Psalms and Ecclesiastes, even to Jesus on the cross himself (but that’s for another topic), is something more people who call themselves Christians should understand.

    However, the Psalmist and Qoheleth… they’re premodern figures who had a fundamental belief in God underneath their honest lamentations. That He would actually not exist cannot even cross their minds. We can only relate so much to those authors because they don’t have modern historical critique, philosophical scrutiny, whatnot. This may only heighten our plight as 21st century postmodern critical thinkers. To play the Adversary’s Advocate, why shouldn’t this be even more discouraging?

    All the best,
    Maim

    • JenG

      “That He would actually not exist cannot even cross their minds” – REALLY?!?! I don’t think humans have changed all that much in the last few thousands of years… you don’t think they could feel the intense cognitive dissonance of their beliefs and the reality of the world around them and wonder “what if we were totally wrong about this god thing? maybe it’s just me, but it seems like a load of crock”. Just because one lives in a society where belief is God is a cultural or societal underpinning doesn’t mean that they can’t see through something that doesn’t seem to add up… Isn’t the Old Testament filled with accounts of people yelling at God, demanding that he prove he exists according to how they think he does, lamenting the constant sense of abandonment and episode after episode of people “forgetting” about God and just doing as they please? Seems like they had no problem imaging him not really existing.

      Well, I’m cranky.

      • https://twitter.com/ReformAZN Maim

        “REALLY?!?!” Yes, really. I don’t understand how anything you mentioned goes against what I already brought up.

        So they’re demanding that they prove He exists in their own way. That isn’t what we’re doing. In their mind, He’s silent and far away. They don’t DARE say that He is NOT. I’m not trivializing their suffering at all, but it isn’t identical to our postmodern griefs or existential meltdowns. And they might go back to God, like Ecclesiastes 12. Many people living today don’t have that option anymore. They don’t have a Nietzsche, modern philosophy, et al to tell them that God is dead the way that we understand it now.

  • http://www.yeshua21.com Wayne

    A picture came up in my Facebook newsfeed the other day with the caption, “Truth fears no questions!” That seems right to me. The struggle you describe seems unavoidable, but it does not go on forever. We are not what we “think” — God is not what we “think” — and there is an end to it all. In the words of T. S. Eliot:

    What we call the beginning is often the end
    And to make and end is to make a beginning.
    The end is where we start from. . . .
    With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this
    Calling

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    Through the unknown, unremembered gate
    When the last of earth left to discover
    Is that which was the beginning;
    At the source of the longest river
    The voice of the hidden waterfall
    And the children in the apple-tree
    Not known, because not looked for
    But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
    Between two waves of the sea.
    Quick now, here, now, always—
    A condition of complete simplicity
    (Costing not less than everything)
    ~ from “Little Gidding”

    The “end” came, for me, when I realized that the Greek word for faith in the New Testament (the noun ‘pistis’ or the verb ‘pisteuo’ which is often translated “believe”) did not originally have the heavy connotation of “intellectual assent” or “dogmatic belief” that it does today. Indeed, it is better to think of faith in terms of “trust” and “reliance” rather than belief, in the modern sense of the word.

    “Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts” (I John 5:10).

    In the final analysis, to really live by faith is to trust in and rely on the “I Am” presence which IS Christ-in-you. That is the same Divine presence that spoke to Moses from the burning bush and to the Psalmist, et al. Before Abraham was — indeed, before Jesus of Nazareth was — I Am… My yoke is easy and my burden is light… Take no thought… :)
    http://jeshua21.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/faith-or-belief-%E2%89%88-trust-and-reliance/

    • http://www.nateweatherly.com Nate W.

      Wayne – You earn my nomination for comment of the year. : )
      The “good news” freedom and invitation to join God in simple “Being”. God’s existence is not a fact to be assented to, and in many ways He does not “exist” as we (Christians) conceive and too often argue that He does. God’a existence is not something that we “believe in” but “believe INTO.” That is, to say “I believe in God” is to miss the point. We are called to have faith “into” God, faith is movement in unity with self-emptying Love in the act of our embracing the the World around us.

      • http://jeshua21.wordpress.com Wayne

        Hi Nate– I just saw this –thank you for the feedback and for sharing your insight, as well!

        “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).

        http://jeshua21.wordpress.com/interfaith-accents/out-beyond-ideas/

  • Casey

    THANKYOU! for this post and for your work. I have returned to Inspiration and Incarnation many times and it is giving me language to deal with my faith crisis issues. Please know that you are truly impacting people.

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  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    Very good. I think sometimes you have to lose your faith in order to find it again. That’s what I have to do occasionally.

  • Jim

    Maybe this is the wrong time/place to ask, but I have nearly finished the Evolution of Adam so I feel a sense of entitlement for my two cents. Paul’s creative application of sections of the Old Testament appears to stem from bringing these aspects of the OT into relevance (Christological) for his time (as mentioned in your book). In a time and culture far removed, the OT today seems to introduce confusion especially regarding the nature of God. I’m asking for your thoughts regarding the relevance of the OT today other than for those who are interested specifically in Jewish history. This may in part be the reason why writings like Psalms etc. do not seem to resolve the faith issues for some of us. Or do I just have the Marcion virus?

  • http://hoxeyville.blogspot.com/ Eric

    Bumper sticker phrase: The opposite of faith is not doubt, it is certainty.
    One thing I am nearly certain about is that there ain’t much to be certain about (especially if we’re talking about scriptures)

  • Mark Chenoweth

    Going through Knight and Levine’s book on the OT right now. Some of it is definitely difficult to get through for a former inerrantist. I really don’t think it’s possible to engage in historical-critical scholarship and be a Christian…

    WITHOUT daily prayer, fasting and participation in the liturgical life/church life of your parish/congregation. If I didn’t have the trusty Ancient Christian Commentary on Joshua-2 Samual, an anthology of Met. Anthony Bloom’s (of Blessed Memory) writings and “The Bible in the Orthodox Church,” and the practice of contemplative prayer (the “Jesus prayer”) with me to supplement the spiritual dryness that can develop from reading straight historical-critical scholarship, I’m sure I would be dried up spiritually as well. Inspiration and Incarnation has also helped develop a framework by which to view the work of Knight and Levine. Sometimes, the dryness is there regardless of all that, but I definitely know how to deal with it more productively than I did a couple years ago.

  • Jenny

    Great post. Do relax – stop trying so hard to submerge those beachballs! I like this Sufi saying: “This thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it.” All will be well (as another much wiser woman than I once said).

  • rvs

    One of the most interesting arguments in Chesterton’s Orthodoxy is as follows: “Let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.” This might be what Maim is on about in the post above.

    • Matteo Masiello

      Chesterton’s point in Orthodoxy is that Christianity a health way of thinking, but he doesn’t argue that it is true. I really do wonder about that. Would life be any less sacred if God didn’t exist. I think it would be. Some Christians accuse atheists as being nihilistic while at the same time admitting that their belief is a sort of narcotic which offers them “hope” that they will see their loved ones again (though there is no suggestion in the Bible of this. At the same time, there are Christians who are obviously nihilistic in their view of humanity and the world. They hate the world and hate humanity. There are also atheists who think that meaning is something we determine, which some Christians do as well. Now, Rebecca makes the point that God is love which seems to be the basis for her belief. I agree with this. However, there some Christians who always feel the need to give a “scholarly”, longwinded and convoluted explanation of what “love” in the Bible which ultimately involves demonizing people and justifying social injustice, hatred, anger and fear. Yes God loves us, they say, but he hates your sin and wants to destroy you (guys like Mark Driscoll come to mind in the contemporary scene and well, is the basis of Reformed Theology). They identify the human person with sin, which seems antithetical to God’s love. I guess my point is that I don’t think Chesterton makes a convincing argument about Christianity being better. His logic is circular and reflects the same arrogance that most Christian apologists have today in their illogical claims. Now, I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through him. I do not think though that Christianity is the right way to go about it. Any religion is a way to God. It seems that as a religion, Christianity has failed to live up to God’s plan and has never been tried. That is what makes me doubt God at times. What the church thinks about God is not necessarily the same god that the Bible reveals.

      • rvs

        Thanks for this commentary. –Helpful to me. Chesterton’s arguments about original sin in Orthodoxy are compelling. –A sample: “Theosophists for instance will preach an obviously attractive idea like re-incarnation; but if we wait for its logical results, they are spiritual superciliousness and the cruelty of caste. For if a man is a beggar by his own pre-natal sins, people will tend to despise the beggar. But Christianity preaches an obviously unattractive idea, such as original sin; but when we wait for its results, they are pathos and brotherhood, and a thunder of laughter and pity; for only with original sin we can at once pity the beggar and distrust the king.”

  • Matteo Masiello

    Yes, thanks for the post. I don’t know if the issue with me is belief in God so much as my frustration and depression about WHICH belief in God. I feel that people are forced to accept one view. I can’t subscribe to this. It is only when God remains a Mystery to me that I can approach Him. Every Christian tradition I approach seems to think they are right and everyone else is wrong. I find that arrogant. They’re all still mostly good and moral people, so I have to be humble and remember that.

  • http://www.theupsidedownworld.com Rebecca Trotter

    I always think that this is why God was always telling people in the OT to stop and build an altar or pile up rocks or whatever at the site of some interaction between God and man. In those moments, God is real but shockingly quickly you start thinking maybe you just had indigestion. I have a few of those moments that I pull to mind regularly when God is no where to be found. Of course sometimes that doesn’t cut it. I really don’t understand why life is so hard. But when I’m really at the end of my rope spiritually, I figure that even if everything I think about God is wrong, at least there’s love. And if I don’t use my life to cast my vote for love, so to speak, then how can life ever be any easier. Of course, the bible says God is love, so it seems to eventually bring me back around.

    • Bev Mitchell

      Good thoughts Rebecca – it seems to me too that love is the central point, the love of Christ which, to the degree that we allow, can become ours. I’m reading Amos Yong’s newest book “Spirit of Love: A Trinitarian Theology of Grace” where he makes a solid case for thinking of the Holy Spirit and love in the same breath, so to speak. If people are not accustomed to some of the pentecostal terminology Yong uses, don’t be put off. There is much needed theology here that fits perfectly with what a lot of our favourite authors are saying.

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  • Juniper

    Thanks for this post. One of the things that drives me bonkers about my beloved fellow evangelicals is the absolute inability to 1) deal with doubt; 2) learn how to deal with doubt: 3) teach others to deal without doubt. Some of the saddest stories I’ve heard (and one was at last year’s SBL) are stories from people who have lost their faith because they doubted and no one was around to really interact with their questions seriously. Then there’s one of my favorite stories where the husband of a woman’s pastor at a large church I no longer attend said educated people have a harder time “being saved” with the full approbation of his wife, naturally. Doubt is a natural occurrence. Its normal and can be survived. I just more church types would acknowledge that.

  • Forrest Long

    Peter, I enjoy your posts and this one is no different. So much of what you write touches a nerve with me. I’ve got a masters degree in theology and almost thirty-two years in ministry, yet I have more struggles and questions today than when I began in ministry. It seems that I started out with all the answers and now I have far more questions than answers. But that’s OK, I can live with that. Your blogs are encouraging. And life dows go on, even if all the questions aren’t answered. Thanks!

  • RonH

    I think few biblical writers hit rock-bottom in the doubt department quite like Job. Chesterton has already been quoted in this thread, but I’ll recommend his “Introduction to the Book of Job”. It’s a short piece, and not terribly well-known. Here’s a bit:
    “Verbally speaking the enigmas of Jehovah seem darker and more desolate than the enigmas of Job; yet Job was comfortless before the speech of Jehovah and is comforted after it. He has been told nothing, but he feels the terrible and tingling atmosphere of something which is too good to be told. The refusal of God to explain His design is itself a burning hint of His design. The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man… The mechanical optimist endeavours to justify the universe avowedly upon the ground that it is a rational and consecutive pattern. He points out that the fine thing about the world is that it can all be explained. That is the one point, if I may put it so, on which God in return, is explicit to the point of violence. God says, in effect, that if there is one fine thing about the world, as far as men are concerned, it is that it cannot be explained. He insists on the inexplicableness of everything…”

    • rvs

      Thanks for posting this! –Helpful to me.

  • Alex

    Blind faith is not an adequate way of acquiring knowledge. A “faith crises,” it seems, is a positive step toward understanding this fact. Let it happen, and become a wiser person.

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  • Stuart

    Thanks Pete. I needed this. I find myself in this place and on this journey.
    I go to church and everyone smiles politely, puts their hands in the air at the appropriate moments in the worship, talks and prays safely. The ease by which others, seemingly, are able to believe and hold it together re-enforces the idea that I am alone in my doubting and wrestling. And so I too join in, speaking in ways that won’t raise eyebrows, and giving the appearance that all is OK. Asking people to pray for a busy week at work which in reality will cause me significantly less stress than the unbelievable tension of my walk with God.
    I really appreciate your honesty and willingness to not just provide pat answers. It is encouraging.

  • JKG

    @RonH… your Chesterton quote is wonderful. Thanks for sharing it on this Thanksgiving Day.

  • Bev Mitchell

    Wonderful post Pete. We don’t have to have all the answers. Faith is trust. And Wayne, what good thoughts. I just downloaded your pdf and look forward to reading it. What follows is something written for another purpose, but it fits well in this context. I hope people don’t feel it’s too lengthy for a blog comment.

    Faith or Doubt?

    “We have an anchor that keeps the soul
    Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
    Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
    Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.”

    It’s easy to think of this anchor as faith, but faith is not our anchor. Consider the last line. If our faith is our hope we are lost, but because our hope is the love of Christ, we are surely saved.

    Think of this metaphor a little more. We often admire people grounded in their faith, and in a sense this is appropriate. But an anchored ship is much safer in a storm than a grounded one. With the kind of anchor the hymn speaks of, we can even weigh anchor and sail the wide seas, never being separated from Christ’s love.

    Let’s apply this to reading today’s scholarly works on biblical interpretation and Christian theology. We often raise a number of what-ifs regarding the godliness of scholarly conclusions, though the outcomes we most fear are very unlikely to ever represent a consensus. The reason for this is that many biblical scholars have a real relationship with Christ. Popular opinion seems to have difficulty with this concept, as if practicing scholarship is somehow like skating close to the edge of the abyss. It is not – in fact, it is essential. It is like any other obedient and disciplined part of the Christian walk. The fact that some scholars reach “unholy” conclusions is in the same category as the fact that there are hypocrites in church – we can lament it but we have to get beyond it.

    A useful challenge, thought experiment really, for testing our faith is to contemplate where our faith would be should the little green men finally arrive from some distant shore. If our faith is in our faith, we would probably be in trouble. If Christ is our faith, we would just be terribly interested to find out what the heck is going on.

    Speaking of faith (and doubt), it is possible to give faith and doubt too high a billing. Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Both faith and doubt are results of a complex of things, some external, some internal. Doubt is not overcome by increasing our faith in our faith. Our faith in our faith can even be idolatrous.

    The parable of the sower tells us something about faith as a product of something more fundamental – in that case the environment in which we are immersed. The prodigal son in the pig pen showed more faith than the stay at home son who didn’t recognize that he had everything – this was the result of experience. But an even better example is from the sermon on the mount – “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” KJV and Is. 55:1, 2 “Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters..” NIV

    We are all seekers – atheists, agnostics, believers or the honestly confused. The Holy Spirit is prepared to meet us where we are, as the Psalm says “…if I descend to Sheol. You are there too.” Tanakh JPS Ps. 139. Our faith is not a static thing, it grows in true seekers. It is a gift from God, so it is also a limitless gift. The not-yet believer, the new believer and the old tree all need to see their faith grow from the same source and through the same obedience, experience and environment. It comes from a relationship as well as a discipline. And, we should never forget that the one whose love makes faith possible is also patient “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you…” 2 Peter 3:9 NRSV

    James says “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” KJV In Genesis 15, to which James alludes Abraham says “Sovereign Lord, how can I know….?” and the answer was “Bring me a heifer…..etc.” Abraham did not start with faith, he started with obedience. The fact that Jesus did not rebuke Thomas for wanting proof, and the fact that Jesus had earlier shown the other disciples the proof Thomas demanded, should nuance our interpretation of “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” NIV Our faith is a product of our obedience. Of course it comes from God, where else would reliable faith come from? But it results from our turning from ourselves to God, and it grows and flourishes in obedience. Our obedience is evidence that we are seekers

  • Marta L.

    Speaking for myself, I’ve never really had this particular crisis of faith. I don’t mean to build myself up or push other people down – I’ve certainly had other crises! – but the idea that you would struggle to believe God exists is one I personally haven’t experienced. For me, it’s more of a struggle to believe that God is good or really in control, or that my faith is really anything other than a failure to think things through rigorously as a philosopher should. (I’m a philosophy grad student doing philosophy of religion.) There was a time when I actually tried not to believe in God because I wondered if I’d been brainwashed through my upbringing. For whatever reason I seem psychologically incapable of being an atheist.

    But I think the lessons you draw from the psalms here is helpful whenever they struggle with anything religion-related, whether it’s God’s existence or God’s nature or something else. It does me good to hear from another academic and a religious believer that it’s okay not to hold on to those balls quite so tightly.

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  • gcrobmd

    It is obvious to me that God doesn’t want us to know with our senses that He exists, or else we would all have everyday discourse with Him or His messengers. When God is found in the words of the prophets that might be their imagination, in the still small voice that might be your own, in a swelling feeling in your heart that may be your longing for a kinder, gentler world—when we have no concrete proof of God as we have of the IRS, then our actions to be honest, to speak kindly, to help others, to hope—these actions will come from the heart. Isn’t that what God really wants?

    What I don’t understand is the irrationality of atheists who want to throw out religion when sociological studies show that religious people are happier, live longer, and are more charitable. If the religious fervor of the atheist could yield to reason, then he should find the church whose members are happiest, longest lived, and most charitable, and join it whole heartedly despite his doubts and add his efforts to the church’s humanitarian organization.

    A leader in my church said that you can’t have the brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God; try as you might, the results will be cosmetic and will not last.

    • Ted Seeber

      See below- I do have everyday discourse with Him and His Messengers. Perhaps the real problem is by considering nature to be separate from the supernatural, instead of a subset of the supernatural, you’ve bought into the primary worldview of the atheist- and because of that, you’re missing the animation of the very air around you by God.

  • http://krwordgazer.blogspot.com krwordgazer

    I’m not quite sure how to put this into words, but I do feel that in the modern world we have it harder than the ancients did, when it comes to believing in God– because the prevailing, default view in our world is rationalism. The default measure for whether or not something is real is whether it can be proved by scientific methods. I know that my own crisis of faith, a few years back, was finally resolved when I realized that I was buying into this without realizing it, and that while it was not wrong to question my faith, it was a mistake to not also question the philosophical assumptions that often go unquestioned in our Western mindset.

  • kalimsaki

    Why should be a resurrection?
    Are all the sins and good deed recorded?
    What is the meaning of life?

    I learned the answer from From Risalei Nur collection by Said Nursi.

    http://www.nur.gen.tr/en.html#maincontent=Risale&islem=read&BolumId=8486&KitapId=456&KitapAd=The+Words

  • balrog

    It is interesting, I find this question not only evident within myself, but also those I that I come into contact with as a hospital chaplain. Whether at the end of their own lives, or contemplating the death of a loved one, I think that everyone experiences that doubt of belief. We actually see this in the bible with the political revolutionary on the cross beside Jesus, and the good news is that Jesus lets him off the hook. (If you know Greek, notice the use of the subjunctive, which is used in the case where the outcome is not certain)
    One of the things that I have started thinking about is how most folks have been taught to think about God. The way of most teaching is to teach that God is this incredibly astonishing being, so astonishing that we cannot really have connection with God at all, unless he wants connection with us. What I have noticed in the hospital, is that folks are forced to contemplate a less astonishing God, one who would not prevent the death, or heal a loved one, but one who suffers with them. I think this is also played out in the incarnation. What is less astonishing than a man dying on a cross. Of course, 2000 or so later we can see this event as astonishing, but at the time, it was certainly anti-climatic in regards to what the followers of Jesus thought. Anyway, the point is, maybe belief, as well as connection to, is to be found in a less astonishing God than is preached from the pulpits. Maybe the most astonishing thing is that God is less astonishing in his love for humanity. Maybe it is preciously in his less astonishingly-ness which we are actually able to believe and have connection with God.

    • peteenns

      I like your thinking here.

  • Ted Seeber

    All I need is a tree. Or a kid. Or anything that man didn’t create.

    Even one raw ingredient in a dinner.

    And there I find my “God Moment”. God is the creator of EVERYTHING around you.

    Sometimes I think modern civilization, not atheism, is the enemy of God. Atheism is just the symptom. Cutting ourselves off from life is the real disease.

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  • L

    This post has been rolling around in my mind since SBL. When I began this academic journey years ago, I didn’t realize that my life would be shaped by the subculture of my fellow SBL & ASOR folk as much as it has been. The relationships create a tenor of life & patterns of thought that become endemic to existence. Lately I’ve been allowing the advice of Archbishop Rowan Williams to inform my daily patterns. When asked what advice he would give to those who have no faith, he advised them to find the best poets of faith (e.g., George Herbert, T. S. Eliot) & ask if the world they see is larger or smaller. The cynicism due to the hackneyed patterns of Evangelicalism has to be actively & intentionally responded to. Also, a switch to Anglicanism seems to be slowly repairing (for me) these patterns that naturally were the result of simplistic Evangelicalism. I could no longer have the vapid words of Evangelical liturgy filling my mind lest cynicism swallow me whole. I am trying intentionally to fill my life with meaningful words. I hope, and some days may be able to pray, that those with whom you live & speak are able to find their own path to wholeness.

    • peteenns

      Well put, L.

  • Will

    Why is believing in God like trying to hold three huge beach balls under the water’s surface?

    Probably because a lot of people realize in the back of their minds that giving money and time to an organization that promises wonderful rewards that you (coincidentally) can’t personally verify is a con dressed up in the trappings of divinity. No offense, but it’s pretty obvious. They don’t realize it outright, of course; they’d quit. Rather, the paralyzing fear of the unknown that comes after death leads people to keep hammering down those beach balls of reason whenever they break the surface of metaphysical equilibrium. People keep believing in God for the same reason that people will keep sending money to a scammer despite never receiving the supposed reward…they’re terrified to face the possibility that it’s all a big lie.


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