Atheist/Christian Brou-hah-hah

I really try to ignore the fact that, reddit, one of my favorite aggregators on the web has devloved into a community of distinct progressive bias. I tend to be progressive myself, but I like my information sources to be balanced. I don’t mind hearing from the Atheist viewpoint, really I don’t.

But come on. If Christians preached on reddit the way Atheists do, they’d rightfully be run off. I sure wish they’d keep the evangelization of any kind off of my favorite aggregator.

The problem with most Chrsitian/Atheist dialogue is that most atheists have as incomplete an idea of who God is as most Christians do. They argue over the existence of an idea that we expect most Christians to grow out of by adulthood. The “God” they so predictably fight over is a devlopmentally-appropriate version of God for children. We’re supposed to grow deeper in our understanding, but rarely do so.

Personification of God is a convenient shorthand – a way to apply words to something that is way beyond words. A “handle” we use to relate to a transcendant reality. We start with God as a person because we are persons and we relate better that way.

At some point, though, we’re supposed to get beyond the convenient personification of God as “Father in the sky” and experience him in more mature form. God as Love. God as Good(ness). God is not *a* being — God *is* being.

By my faith, God made atheists too and the impulse to love is written on their hearts. Why would we be surprised that a sample of atheists would be more charitable than a sample of Christians? I bet the sampling was not normalized for spiritual maturity.

I know Atheists that are Good. I know Atheists who Love. I know Atheists who are masters of being who they were created to be. So, they don’t say “Lord, Lord” all the time, but by their fruits I can know them. Some of the best Christians I know don’t go to church.

I know “devout” Christians who are stuck in self-centered modes of being. Sometimes I am one of those Christians. The dividing line that matters is not so much belief/non-belief as it should be selflessness/selfishness. If you live a selfless life, then I call you my brother regardless of what you believe.

And if you are selfish, then I can identify with you too. I just wish I didn’t. So much.

Poem: Three Dollars Worth of God

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

— Wilbur Rees