The Christian Atheist: Why its important to talk about God, even if you don’t believe in one
Long title, I know. I tried to think of something shorter but I have no patience for such things. I need to get to the nitty gritty. Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a belief in god. With that said, I still engage in conversations about god without trying to dismiss the belief in god. Some people have an awareness of this otherness that I do not have. Some people have a deep unshakable belief in a being greater than ourselves that I don’t have. Some people have had deeply spiritual experiences that I’ve never had. For that reason I feel I am in no place to try to convience someone of my point of view of a god existing.
Even though I don’t believe in a god doesn’t mean I don’t think talking about god on an honest level is not important. I think it’s very important. There are god concepts which I embrace as healthy, good, and a positive force for humanity. Some of those concepts would include: God as a Loving Parent. I put parent because I know some that think of god as a mother rather than a father. It doesn’t matter to me. The loving parent image of god is wonderful. I have two loving parents. Both very supportive of me, loving, understanding, and a joy to be around. The parent notion is good IF all of humanity are children of god.
The incarnation. I like this idea (kinda). I like this idea when one see’s it as god is completely comfortable being human. That god looks like Jesus in the sense that he’s not willing to return violence for violence, and that he would rather die for his enemy than have his enemy destroyed. That’s inspiring. I can get behind a god like that. I don’t like the incarnation when it becomes this dogmatic idea that you need to worship Jesus or burn in hell. When it’s poetic its beautiful. When it’s dogmatic its gross.
Trinitarianism (again, kinda). It depends on the Trinitarian. It’s the idea that god is father, son, and holy spirit engaged in a love dance that we find ourselves in the middle of. If god can be defined as the love a community feels (like father, son, and spirit) then again I think thats an amazing view of god. When people become dogmatic about this idea it puts me off. Michael Hardin has a very healthy and holistic view of the trinity that I find inspiring (even if I don’t believe it literally).
Now that I got the good ideas out of the way, let me tell you concepts of god that I will debate because I feel they are harmful. If someone is going to believe in god, so be it. The god they believe in should be the healthiest and most compassionate version of god possible. There are some god concepts that I feel are harmful to communities and a persons personal well being. It’s important we learn to identify these concepts and help people move forward into a healthier version of god. I wish this is something both atheist and theist would engage in, instead of tearing down those we disagree with.
A god of wrath and violence. This is a pretty broad statement that includes a lot of denominations and religions. If god commands death, commands war, holds grudges, punishes people, and is less compassionate than myself then it’s a god concept not worth it’s weight in shit. If you admit that god condones violence against his enemies then whats to stop us from condoning violence towards our own enemies and calling it righteous? Nothing. If god separates himself from people for eternity for disobeying him then whats to stop a parent from disowning their child because they are gay, lesbian, like rock music, like to dance, choose to live a different life style, or choose their religious outlook? Nothing. What people believe about god affects how they treat people.
A god of miracles. This is just a personal pet peeve of mine. I grew up with a charismatic/pentecostal background where god wants us to be victorious and blessed. If you believe hard enough, god will make a way. I use to hear testimonies on how god is as big as he is small. People prayed to god and he helped them find their car keys. Hallelujah!!! The only problem with that is children starving in third world countries. The only problem with that is the Holocaust. How is it that this miracle god can help you pay bills and find your car keys, but is unable to feed children and save those being burned alive in ovens? I know it makes us feel good that god would come through and find our keys. To those who have experienced loss and prayed until they were white in the knuckles, that kind of theology can seem cold and heartless.
I have more to say. I have more concepts I feel are healthy and others I feel are dangerous. But frankly, I need to go listen to music right now. Love you deeply.