Nick, I apologize.
I have a (former) friend named Nick. He is not former because we had a falling out; although, goodness knows I did my share to try to cause a falling out. I call him “former” because we just don’t talk or see each other at all anymore. As I have been reading and reflecting on this week’s selections in Atheism for Lent, my mind went back to Nick.
Nick and I were an example of friends who didn’t see eye to eye on anything back in the day. He was gay; I said he was going to hell for it unless he repented. He said he was an atheist; I said he was going to hell for it unless he repented. He endorsed wide-scale drinking; I said he was…well, you get the idea. The thing I always went back to was, “Faith in God makes way more sense than not believing. Why can’t you understand that?!?”
Reading from Hume this week brought to mind Nick because of a life lesson I have experienced personally the last couple years: belief in God is not logical; the best word to describe it is probably irrational. Perhaps. To the natural world, faith is foolishness; empty, angry, fundamentalist debates do nothing more than raise blood pressure.
As I am growing older and looking at things from more sides than my narrow minded one, it has been disheartening to understand how air-loose my airtight apologetic arguments are. Is this what getting older is all about, undoing all the answers a person thinks he or she knows and trading it for vagueries and wrestling?
Take a moment and use this reflective starter. Fill in the blanks for yourself: “I used to think ________________________, but now I think ______________________.” For me, it’s: I used to think that I had God all figured out, but now I think that I was just trying to play God and got called out on it. I used to think that grace meant telling everyone that they could have it if they repented, but now I think that grace is already there and that’s why it’s called grace (grace isn’t dependent upon repentance). I used to think that Jesus wanted the perfect, but now I think that Jesus loves everyone (especially since he loves me). I used to think that holiness is what mattered most, but now I think that my definition of holiness was off. Nick, I apologize.