Here’s the latest from Dan Lord, who’s writing some guest posts this month:
I’m not sure how many soi-disant atheists troll the clear waters of Creative Minority Report, so I’m thinking of this post the way a deep sea fisherman thinks of the chum he shovels overboard, relying on the scent of fresh blood to attract sharks from miles away.
Many of you say you don’t believe in God, but I don’t believe you. Call me an aatheist. I think you’re rejecting other negative things that you associate with belief in God, even you professional double black belt advanced level atheists who write whole books about not believing in God. I know you. You have been my friends, cohorts, co-employees and drinking buddies all of my life. I don’t believe there are really “40-50 million” of you in the U.S. as was blithely claimed in some article I read recently, but I know that the appeal of atheism is strong and you haven’t found a good reason to resist it. I can respect that. To a degree.
I don’t want to win an argument against you. I want you to know that God loves you. But I also think you need to know that to know that “God loves you” is not a knowledge that you give to yourself. I didn’t make it up—it was given to me by God. Yes, plenty of human beings in my life have told me that God loves me, but I don’t recall a single instance from my earlier years that made any impact on me. I think it’s good to have it repeated, the same way that Coca-Cola absolutely must keep advertising their product even if I personally don’t purchase a single Coke all day. It has to be there, staying within your field of perception, for that one moment one day when you really will be ready to try it. But never once, that I can remember, did I ever hear someone say or see a sign proclaim that “God loves you!” and get all warm and gooey in my heart and respond, “How very, very nice!” Sometimes my response was sarcasm, sometimes ire. But the vast majority of the time my response was…nothing. Just blankness. That is what I think most atheists experience most of the time in response to talk about God’s ineffable love for us.
It is easy to assume, based on that blankness, that you possess clear vision. Whatever that thing is in people that makes them get excited about a Creator, I don’t seem to have it. And I’m so glad, because I can see things for what they really are, without illusions.
There’s a rush of satisfaction that goes with that assumption—and it is that rush that can become a god. The notion of being smarter than everybody else is addictive, a non-spiritual Gnosticism that pinches all of our inmost prideful pleasure centers. Plus, it’s an easier approach to living—you avoid doctrinal disputes, moral complexities, religious hypocrisy, institutional baggage and embarrassing associations with the failures of co-religionists, all with the simple public declaration: I don’t believe in god.
But think how you’ve closed yourself off. You’ve made a solemn, formal dogmatic pronouncement, one that includes no possibility of change, transformation or alteration. Is this what open-minded people do? Is this what brave people who love reason do? I think not.
I am simply asking you to leave the door open, just slightly. You’ll go on feeling that blankness when people tell you that God loves you, but because I know I’m right, that 1) there is a God, 2) he loves you, and 3) you can’t really know that until he himself reveals it to you personally, I know that the space you leave between your interior door and it’s doorjamb will be the space through which God will come to you, eventually. Just leave it open. Perhaps, if you think you could stand it for just a second, make a silent, inward appeal to the god you don’t really think is there, and just give him a chance. See. And if you can’t stand that for even a second, what does that say about your atheism?
Dan Lord blogs at The Strangest of Wars.