Atheist37 wrote:Yes, thanks for sharing. I mean this in the most positive way... reading your stories is almost like reading about Maasai tribesmen or something. It is really fascinating and strange.
You see, I was raised outside of any faith, my wife was raised the same way, there are maybe two people in our extended families who even attend a church of any kind. So I guess I always figured, you either believe the old tales or you don't. Sure there are different religions, but it always seemed to be a trivial thing -- like different coffee houses, or different grocery stores. Everyone has their favorite but they're all pretty much the same. I guess not, huh?
You know what; I fully understand your view. My father was a full raging atheist and my Mom was Catholic. My father was very logical, well spoken, articulate about his views and my Mom was silly and foolish in her superstitions. So, from the age of about 10 years old, I was convinced that all the ideas of God were stupid and foolish. I would mock Christians whenever I had the chance and I would argue with them as well. I was like Damien when it came to Sunday mornings. I would appeal to my father to save me from the torture of going to church. I even flattened my Mom's tires one morning in an effort to escape the torment of church. I knew as a kid that the whole system was a joke,... sin, confess, say a few hail Mary’s and you are good to go? "What a joke!", I would think.... and still do.
I actually started reading the New Testament when I was 17 in order to argue better with one of my teachers who was trying to convert me. But when I read it, I was interested and started researching, the more I researched and learned I realized that Jesus really did what they said he did, namely, rise from the dead. That is a long conversation as to how I came to that conclusion but at that point I started trying to seek God, as if that was possible and wow, did things change in my life.
I have come to realize that the general way that humans are going is wrong, they are on their way to death, eternal death, in their individual sins. God, the creator of the universe, does exist and he is planning on saving a minority of people, not based upon class, race, intelligence, riches, or even religion, it is based upon his own will.
13 ¶“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
15 ¶“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and the Father are one.”
31 ¶Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him,
You can dismiss Jesus as telling "old tales",(enjoy the cultural anthropology), or you can research a little and see He is who he claims to be.
You know, I was talking to Emery and I told him, he will never experience the satisfaction of being right, and I will never face the humiliation of being wrong. Because if he is right, (all is physical and death is the end), that is it, nothing. I am the only one who as hope, the hope of being right. Atheist have no hope of even being right.
What is life like when you have no hope? No hope to see your loved ones again? No hope for justice? No hope for purpose? No hope of anything? Eternal sleep is the best you can hope for? And not even knowing if you are right about that?
I may be wrong, but I have a rational, philosophically defensible, internally consistent and reasonable hope. And I am not alone; there have been billions like me, experiencing the spiritual side of reality with a hope of eternity. I actually believe my view is the most rational as well. (Better explanation of the facts).
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 2 Peter 1:16