by Charlie Leck
Greta Christina's article on AlterNet, 10 Myths and Truths about Atheists, is worth reading, especially if you lean toward atheism yourself or if you have very bad and hateful feelings about atheism. You’ll be helped either way.
In my own case, enough people in this world, after hearing my theological definition of God, have called me an atheist that I was therefore attracted to the article. I’m glad I spent time with it and I do recommend it.
I have trouble with that whole religious viewpoint of God as a great-grandfather in the sky who doles out rewards to some and none to others – who brings some unto him for eternal salvation and condemns others to everlasting damnation. I had an interesting old professor in college who often said: “I wouldn’t give you a dime for a God like that!”
Me either! I wouldn’t think much of a God like that and I don’t think he’d be worthy of the name.
Yes, I believe that God exists and permeates the universe and invades humanity's spiritual being (which we could call soul). I like John’s definition and description of God in his first epistle. “God is love.”
I don’t like making it any more difficult and convoluted than that. Don’t hang a beard on it and don’t put it on a cloud.
This is no lie! This is a promise.
Those who love experience God. Those who don’t, don’t. It doesn’t need to be any more difficult than that. It’s what the whole life of Jesus of Nazareth pointed toward. He came, talking about a new commandment upon which all the (old) law and all the familiar prophets hung. It is this: “Love God! Love your neighbor!”
Don’t complicate my life by telling me I need to recite all kinds of creeds. Don’t ask me if I’m saved. Don’t worry about whether or not I’ve accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior! Don’t bug me about whether or not I read the Bible.
According to John’s definition, I have known and experienced God. I have also experienced that vacuum in which there is no God. I prefer the former.
Call me an atheist if you must! I’m comfortable.
And, please! Don’t worry about my everlasting soul. I’ve got things all worked out.
I’ll be out there, among the stars, dreaming of you and watching my grandchildren and their grandchildren grow into remarkable adults.
The current Pope (hierarchical head of the Roman Catholic Church), in his Christmas encyclical letter in 2005, put it in an interesting manner.
“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him”
(1 John 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. In the same verse, Saint John also offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.”
If someone wants to assign to me an epithet when my life is done, it could be: “He tried!” Those of my family and those who knew me well will know it refers to John’s first epistle. For others, it won’t matter.
“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”