The Atheist Letters
A couple of years ago, my life hit rock-bottom. The worst part was that it wasn’t the first time, nor was it the result of some crime, addiction, or coldness of heart. Instead, I got there by both chasing after God, and by loving a person whom I believed would be my future soulmate, only to watch my efforts end in heartbreak.
Broke and destitute after years of struggle, pain, and failure, I began to question my faith for the first time. A few simple questions thrown into Google exposed me to the vast array of online material supporting an atheistic perspective on reality. For the first time, I became familiar with a common quote spoken among atheists today: “The Internet is where faith goes to die.”
Well, at it turns out, not always. Sometimes, the exercise of analyzing one’s beliefs only serves to strengthen one’s faith.
The lessons about why I suffered are for another time. What is relevant for this series are the conclusions I came too. This series is not meant to prove theism, since proof is not possible (and I believe this to be expressly by design). My only hope is to offer an alternative way of looking at the issue.
Alternative perspectives, after all, lead to better questions. Better questions lead to wisdom. Wisdom leads to truth. And you should know by now the link between truth and freedom.
Do you wish to be free? Do you want a different take on the conversation, one that might lead you to asking questions you never thought of, and breaking the chains imposed by narrow-minded approaches? Then drop your bias at the door (whether theistic or atheistic) and take a walk with me. I think you will find it illuminating.
Author’s Note: The term “atheist” has become almost as ambiguous as the term “Christian”. Hence, I recognize that, just like there are many, many flavors of Christians out there, so too are there many subtle variations of atheists out there. When writing these posts, my imagined audience was often the “new” atheists, most often represented by Harris, Dawkins, and Hitches, among others. If you have a different perspective, feel free to share in the comments.
A quote from Scott Peck, introduced as a primer to the upcoming series. Peck illustrates the difficulty in introducing opposing viewpoints to those that are hardened in their beliefs, all from a psychological perspective. The quote applies to theists, atheists, and all shades in between.
A more extensive introduction to this series, along with how it came into existence.
A link to Plato’s famous allegory, along with a few of my own thoughts, not popularly expressed.
The events that led me to question my faith, and the (very short) story of how I climbed out of the pit.
A quote from Alister McGrath about how the “new” Christianity of experience-based faith (often described as “Pentecostalism”, not to be confused with the denomination) is really just a return to roots.
A story of one man’s struggle in the face of immense suffering, and the impact it left on his grandson.
Two arguments for theism that I cannot dismiss.
Another quote from Alister McGrath pointing out that suffering is just as much an argument against Humanism as it is against monotheistic systems of belief, since much of what we call suffering is performed by human beings.
Another quote from Scott Peck, broken down into two different posts, illustrating that the word “religion” is oftentimes too narrow in interpretation. Instead of looking at the word “religion” as representative of some monolithic, monotheistic entity, the word should represent one’s world-view, since everyone has a “religion” in some sense, even atheists. Note that this quote builds off of the prelude above (“The road map of life”)
A link to an article on the blog An American Atheist, where the writer succinctly points out that the problem with Sam Harris (and many other new atheists, in my opinion) is not the evidence they introduce in support of their arguments, but what they leave out.
Many de-converted Christians claim that prayer is nothing more than talking to an imaginary friend. I explore this possibility here, along with the repercussions.
The accusation that atheism leads to immorality is a silly argument, one that I never understood. However, what atheists miss is that a lack of belief does not necessarily lead to morality either. How do I know? Because I know myself. Do you know what I would be if I was not a Christian? A sociopath.
A two-part quote (Alister McGrath) and article from The Week pointing out a few overlooked truths. First, McGrath points out that people, as a whole, seem to have a need for belief in something (whatever that may be), and that, when religion is removed, the results have historically been less than desirable. Second, as the writer of the article points out, if atheism be true, the conclusions, as described by famous atheists in history, will be far less than triumphant: they will be tragic.
A concluding piece outlining the difficulties encountered when writing this series, and why no amount of rhetoric or evidence will ever be enough for someone with the will to not believe.
A postscript on how atheistic arguments arrive at atheistic conclusions because of atheistic presuppositions. Ultimately, atheism is a matter of belief just as much as theism is, albeit often unacknowledged.