Monday, July 30, 2007

they are not looking

An email to my friend.

I have had kind of an epiphany. Goes something like this: As long as a Christian is satisfied with what their faith gives them (emotionally) it is absolutely futile to try to get them to see that what they believe in is based on nothing more than myths and emotions.
As you have experienced before, and I have also, and thousands and thousands of non believers before and after us have and will experience, when you talk to a Christian who is content that what they have is the truth, you will not be able to break through to them. Why? Well, because they are not looking.
Just as if you were trying to get your sister to see that her husband is abusing her. If she is content in the relationship, she will not be able to see what you are talking about.
Same with a person who has a lousy job. If they work long hours and get paid next to nothing, but are reasonably happy, they will never understand why you are trying to tell them to go get a better job.
My girlfriend is happy with her church life. She goes every Sunday morning, sings the songs, gives at least 10%, listens to a 45 minute sermon, is on the finance committee, and never picks up her bible Monday through Saturday. She is happy with that. It would be insane for me to even try to bring up just some generic biblical topic or religious discussion, because we will probably disagree, and she does not care to hear any disagreements. She is content to believe what she believes because she believes she believes the truth. She is not looking.
Same with your Grandson. He believes he has all he needs, and is happy with that. It was a mistake for me to even enter into a discussion with him. There was no way that I could possibly break through his "happiness". He is not looking.
Now, if you come across a Christian who is looking, well, now there is a chance of getting through to them. Why, because they are not satisfied with their faith. They are either dissatisfied with their church, or their own "spiritual condition", or both, or, they are new to the faith and the cement has not had time to cure.
When I was a Christian I was never satisfied. I always wanted to "grow in the Lord" but could never seem to reach an even plain, could never rest in where I was. I always felt I was lacking in some area of "spiritual service or worship". So, I was never happy with where I was. I was always looking.
But, I am guessing you are similar to me in that, you enjoy discussing with people of faith, what they believe and why you don't believe what they believe. I greatly enjoy that, especially when it is a civil discussion. But, as I am just now realizing, it will most likely not be civil if the person we are talking to IS NOT LOOKING. If they are perfectly happy where they are, in their religious faith, leave them alone, let it go, zip it shut.
From now on, if I am approached by a Christian, and they show some interest in my lack of faith, the first thing I am going to ask them before we discuss anything about belief-vs.-non belief is -

Are you prepared to accept that idea that you may have it all wrong?
Are you prepared, finally, to give the idea that there may not be a God, that the bible may not be the word of God, and that there is a chance that everything you now believe concerning your Christian faith may be simply based on nothing but myths and emotions?

If they can't give me that, they are not looking, and if they are not looking, our dialogue will end badly.
So, my late new years resolution is to follow my own advice above.

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