By Kenneth Justice
~ Raised in a conservative Evangelical Christian home, belief in God has been paramount to the very meaning and purpose my life. However, despite my upbringing I’ve always gone through seasons of doubt,
—) Does God really exist?
—) If God exists why do evil people prosper and good people die?
—) Where is God amidst tragedy?
One of the toughest issues related to my belief in God is the nastiness I’ve seen come from the very people (Christians) who purport to have a stranglehold on the doctrines and philosophies related to all things god. It’s tough to believe in God when Christians have been so evil towards me and in a more global sense; so evil to people throughout the world and throughout human history.
My podcast partner Kylie has recently abandoned her Christian faith (click) in favor of a more agnostic outlook on life. I empathize with her decision because it’s easy to get distracted by a faith in god when surrounded by so many Christians and Christian beliefs that are anything but loving and good.
I still enjoy Sunday mass. I enjoy the rituals, the liturgy, and the procession of seriousness that flows throughout the service. Of course, it’s easy to for me to understand why so many people say that ‘church is boring’; repetition can often feel monotonous.
Every morning after I wake up, I let my dogs out to run around for a bit, I then head to the café to write, read, and reflect. It’s a rather boring routine in many ways. As I sit here, it’s Saturday morning just after 6 A.M. After nearly twenty years of getting up in the morning to read and reflect it’s difficult for me to break from the monotony of going to coffee in the morning even when I’d rather sleep-in since I don’t have to be at work today.
Although my morning café experience is in many ways monotonous, I’ve come to love it very much. I enjoy smelling the aroma of coffee as I walk in each morning. I enjoy the peaceful quiet of the café early in the morning when there are only a few other patrons. I enjoy seeing the same familiar faces of other regulars, most of whom know that in the early morning I prefer to be left alone, and so they merely smile at me “Good morning” and leave me to myself.
Is going to the café every morning boring and monotonous? Yes, it really is, but I love every moment of it.
In many ways my faith in God is a similar experience,
—) Are there things that appear to be contradictory in Christian doctrine; yes
—) Are Christians often annoying, mean, and nasty; yes
Yet despite all that, I still find a sense of peace and joy in the midst of my faith in God. The world is a crazy place at times; war, conflict, senseless violence. It’s easy to be swallowed up by despair in the midst of all this death and destruction. I can totally understand why people turn to atheism and agnosticism in the face of all these senseless contradictions in life. Yet let’s be honest, there are just as many contradictions in any other world view as there are in Christianity. It’s not as though the deeper philosophies of life are as clear cut as so many people make them out to be; the true answers to meaning, purpose, and the origin of life are a little bit more gray than black and white.
The Internet has become a bastion for people to turn when they want to support their radical worldviews,
—) Are you a radical Christian; then the Internet will help you connect with people who will reinforce your ideology
—) Are you a radical atheist; then the Internet will help you connect with people who will reinforce your ideology
—) Are you a radical militant; then the Internet will help you connect with people who will reinforce your ideology
Suffice to say, the Internet tends to equip a great number of people with the ability to insulate themselves from having real dialogue with people of opposing viewpoints. Yet at the same time, if we find it in ourselves to chill out just a bit, the Internet also has the ability to give us the option of having peaceful conversations with people who view the world differently. In the course of the last year and a half, nearly 200,000 different people of varying beliefs have contributed to my blog with their comments, thoughts, and conversation.
It’s been a pleasant experience all around……thank you.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,
Categories: Culture & Society