Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock for years, most of you know that I’m a tad religious. I’d like to think that you also know that I’m not one of those people. Not one of those people who’s always in your face about why my group is right and yours has to be wrong. I’d like to think that you know that I maintain that the very definition of the word believe implies that you don’t really know for sure, but are putting all your money on it (in fact, I even discussed that in this blog a few years ago); and that that also implies that I could well be the one who’s wrong…but in good faith.
Well, I’ve had this thought experiment going on in my head for years about how to explain to certain other Christians that the people who just don’t get it, and who think that we Christians are nuts aren’t being willfully stubborn, and refusing to accept what has to be perfectly and obviously clear to them. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to come across any Martians to do this experiment with.
Yes. My scenario involved plopping down a Martian here on Earth, and having her meet people representing Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and every other ism right on down to Pastafarianism; and then see which one she determined was true…or if she thought that we were all out to a seven-course lunch. Or…if she was biased by her own Martian beliefs, and started trying to proseletyze us.
My point here was that we’re all influenced and biased by what we grew up with, and of course we’re going to resist some new belief someone’s trying to tell us about, when it doesn’t fit in with what we’ve been taught for years…and especially when it doesn’t seem to make any logical sense.
But as I said before, I couldn’t find any Martians. I did, however, find a Scientologist.
Well not quite, but hear me out.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who’s a very devout Christian was telling me about her friend George, an atheist, who seems to be resisting God’s call at every turn.
Now, before we go any further with this, let’s get away from the common practice of demonizing atheists. The “a” in “atheist” doesn’t mean against theism, it means without it. There are a lot of really nice, friendly, loving, and moral atheists out there. They even like puppies. They just don’t happen to believe in a god of any kind.
So now that I’ve gotten hat out of the way, as I thought about what my friend was saying, I suddenly found my Martian, but in a different way than I had expected.
I said to her:
Suppose you had a friend who belonged to the Church of Scientology. And suppose you found yourself, against your better judgment, starting to find some of its claims to be credibile. You’d start fighting too, because you’d feel that you were starting to be sucked into this thing that you knew couldn’t possibly be true. Well, that’s how George feels. Christianity is to him as Scientology is to you.
And let’s face it, we all do this. Most of us don’t take the time to take an honest, impartial look at all the other religions out there before deciding what we want to believe. We all come from a place where we have one set of beliefs, and will dismiss another set completely out of hand.
Just as most of us would dismiss Scientology.
And George is dismissing any kind of theism in general.