Seek and you shall find.
This is the number one piece of advice you will hear if you confess your doubt to a Christian. I haven’t written much on the blog this week, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been having the conversation. I believe there were at least eight separate attempts to save my soul this week. A side-effect of choosing to engage with Christians respectfully is that I am often mistaken for a walking talking sign from god.
It may not be a popular idea among all atheists, but I really don’t mind what others believe in as long as it does not affect me. I don’t have an agenda. I’m not laying traps. I am too aware of the differences in our brain wiring to go thinking I can or should start changing minds. I’m in this for the conversation on a topic that interests me, and to offer something to those who are stuck in-between. I will fight against what hurts others and I will work toward steering communication in everyone’s best interest. Nine times out of ten I end up walking away to avoid a fight.
But that tenth time…. I give in just enough to keep it civil. Because I possess the luxury of having nothing to lose in a god debate. I remember a time when that wasn’t true. Then I lost god, and I was miraculously cured.
Ten out of ten times a Christian will tell me that I cannot find god because I never truly looked for him. Well, god IS mysterious because I spent an awful lot of years thinking I had found him. If I was wrong, I wonder how anyone else can be sure. I guess they can’t. You’d think such a revelation would bring us to a standstill. But no. Any Christian who would say that I never “truly let god in” is also sure that I have never known faith the way they know faith. Unlike me, they could never give in to Satan’s temptation.
And let’s face it. In that very moment they have already assumed that I am Satan and this is spiritual warfare. Telling them that I once had that kind of faith, too, is automatically going to be a lie. That’s Satan’s thing. And, lucky for them they never can know for sure. They would have to take my word for it. Who would take Satan’s word? If we are taking anyone’s word for anything, it’s going to be theirs.
So what do they know that I don’t? Is god really blinding me from his very existence until my heart can be as pure as theirs? I thought Jesus came to save the lost, but this Christian over here is telling me that he only reveals himself once a Christian has mastered perfect faith. I’m confused.
Here to clear things up is a Pascal quote another blogger recently shared. I am always surprised when a Christian mentions Pascal, whose wager theory isn’t getting anyone into heaven according to Christian rules. But poor arguments do not define a man’s personal relationship with Christ. However, I think this quote he offers about god might sum it up rather nicely:
“Willing to appear openly to those who seek him with all their heart, and to be hidden from those who flee him with all their heart, God so regulates the knowledge of himself that he has given indications of himself which are visible to those who seek him and not to those who do not seek him. There is enough light for those to see who only desire to see, and enough obscurity for those who have a contrary disposition.”
That quote was shared on a Christian blog, meant to inspire and congratulate like-minded Christians in their faith. I’m not kidding. So god regulates how he reveals himself according to how much we want to believe? The Bible certainly does support that idea, which is one of its all-time biggest red flags. Christians are selling the message that the more we want to believe in something, the more success we will have in believing it. And the less we want to believe in something, the more it will seem untrue. And they are selling it so good that they can say the words plainly like that and still find it inspiring.
You don’t have to sell me on how confirmation bias works. And it’s good to see that god rewards it. It’s this same principle that leads Christians to assume that lost faith must come from not wanting to believe. Apparently believing in what we want to believe is the only available option. And yet, every ex-Christian will tell you that doubt is what happened when we wanted to believe but couldn’t. Clearly we are all lying. I mean, if that is what you want to believe.
Seek and you shall find. Finally…. something a Christian and an atheist can agree on. Faith is the ability to want to believe in god so badly that you actually do believe. But is this really the best answer to doubt? Never mind. I think that question just answered itself.