Ok, I promised I’d get back to this so here I am.
I’m pretty tired right now so I may ramble (yes, you’ve looked at the timestamp of the post and its not even 9pm. . . My job at the moment is pretty full on and I don’t really have a team to delegate to so the work is mine to manage – thus right now I’m sleepy).
Where was I, ahh yessss sleeeeeepy, no, oh god – yah that’s it I was talking about Mr G.
I’ve had friends who’ve asked “why? why don’t you believe any more? you seemed to have such a strong faith?”
But those friends are few and far between. For most, I’ve just never heard from them. I don’t think it was intentional – part of this process was involved in me taking up my working life which involved leaving my university part time job and going to a remote town in the desert to take up a government post. This mean’t losing contact with a lot of people – is maintaining faith then all tied up in the community you share your faith with? Perhaps, to some extent, but if it is dependent for its existence on that level of support from others, is it really faith any more?
Or was it just that living alone in a place where I knew no one, I had a lot more time to think. This wasn’t the starting point – but it was a time when I had a little space, a task to focus on, and a community with needs that I was there to serve.
I certainly saw a lot of human misery, stupidity, malice, bigotry and debauchery. I also saw resilience, nobility, sacrifice, service, humility, empathy, caring and love. Some of those people were even Christians!
Ok – yup, Christians are human too, but what I did observe was that people with a strong moral centre existed and acted as I had been taught was not possible without God. They were just as dedicated to serving their fellows with love as their Christian colleagues.
You could argue I guess that Christian teaching has permeated our thinking so deeply that this is inevitable, except that we do see examples of people behaving this way who have not been exposed to Christian teaching.
From a perpective of faith you might see that as the spirit of God at work. From my perspective I see human potential to act in ways initially beneficial to an individual alone but ultimately destructive for that individual and the group, along with the potential to recognise that the good of the group can also mean the longer term good of the individual.
Ok – I’m not a psychologist or I’d have a great collection of terminology to use in that paragraph but hopefully you get what I mean. I think people can choose to be good or not, and they do so without a guiding entity.
I was also having trouble at this time reconciling the conflicting possibilities of a divine entity that could both reward with heaven or punish with hell (be that a lake-of-fire or absence-of-presence type hell), and I know that is an oversimplification – but as I said at the start – yawn. . .
More than that though was the conflict of the human condition – that, and the pelvis.
The pelvis is a tricky one – particularly on women. It is really really badly designed, it so so flawed there is no engineer who would design it (ok, not true, there is no FEMALE engineer who would design it. . .). Imagine sticking the birth canal through the narrow channel of bone that is the human pelvis and then shoving a baby through that.
We don’t think on it too much here and now because in Australia in 2006 we have a great medical system and caesarians are performed as a matter of course. How many? lots. And before we did those? Women died. In their thousands, every year, in agony, in blood and in terror.
It must be late, I’m heading down hill fast with this and I said at the start that I didn’t want to ‘preach atheism’ but it is part of the process I went through. Leaving it at that point I’ll just say that I began to find the idea of a God who designed that poorly to be a bit weak. And all that for taking the apple from the tree of knowledge?
Next up – a post on coffee. I think its a good idea that I alternate these darker thoughts with some even darker roasty toasty coffee thoughts, because we can all agree on coffee.
(Except the nescafe drinkers, for you I will have faith in a special nescafe drinker’s hell, where swedish lounge singers sing those 70’s lalalalammmmmm aaaah type elevator songs and you are served tepid, weak nescafe while having your toes nibbled gently by aunt mabel look-alikes. Us coffee drinkers will be in a kind of coffee-drinking valhalla with gorgeously stylish baristas, warm muffins and fractal designs of latte art using microfoam to tiny its really nano-foam.)