Recently, I was on the receiving end of a few in-your-face written comments from a militant atheist – oh, yes, such individuals are out there. After a little back and forth – that was leading nowhere – I asked him if he had any thing substantive to contribute to the discussion (on another essay of ours). It became clear that he did not, and I had to stop approving his comments.
A number of these individuals, who self-identify as atheists, will claim that they are very “open minded” (high sounding words).
Yet, these same folks adopt the attitude, or position, that insists upon proof of God’s existence in a way that is both satisfying and palatable to them. If such proof can be presented that meets their demands, then and only then, they may just condescend to believe in God. The nature of the proof of God’s existence is to be similar to that of the tangible demonstration of the law of gravity, or reproducing known chemical reactions under identical physical conditions in chemistry labs anywhere in the world.
That is, of course, their choice.
Here is why I will not engage them on those terms.
1. No one can give you belief. No one can give you certainty in this area. I could offer many reasons for God’s existence, but the responses that I have gotten in the past (and would likely get in the future) are things like “that is just your opinion” or “that is subjective” or “that is just your experience” or “you cannot prove that”, etc. There is no end to the excuses, the rationalizations that atheists will make use of to stubbornly remain in their comfort zone of non-belief, and to not make any substantive efforts of their own.
2. What we have found about human nature over the years is that humans do not generally value what is given to them nearly as much as what they have had to sacrifice and work for to obtain. That is the reality. If an atheist, perhaps after acquiring a little honesty and humility, would make some serious effort in this area to acquire knowledge and some understanding, he/she would value what they learned more than anything we could give to them.
No one can give you belief or certainty. We cannot make the effort for you.
It is like with yoga – yoking one’s soul, one’s consciousness to the Divine. Jnana yoga, or the way of knowledge, can only take one so far. Karma yoga, the way of charitable works and actions, can only take one so far on the path. Bhakti yoga, the way of love, devotion and surrender, is superior as it takes you further on the path back to God. Those self-satisfied atheists who insist on an intellectually appealing (to them) and satisfying “proof” for God’s existence before they might, just might decide to believe – cannot be helped. The mind of man has its limits. This is no trite remark. To know God involves more than just the intellect. It involves the heart and the spirit as well.
My search and efforts in this quest for spiritual knowledge and experiences began some years ago. It was in the 1977 -1978 academic year while I was an undergraduate at a large west coast university that my quest began. It continued after I transferred to a large mid-Atlantic university the next year. Over these intervening years, I have made use of undergraduate and graduate university libraries to read many works by the philosophers and religious persons of both the east and the west. As well, there are several bookshelves full of books on religion, spirituality, and philosophy in our home – and all have been read (and some re-read) over the years. I have met many individuals from different parts of the world and of different faiths as fellow students, co-workers, and friends. Many conversations as to religion and spirituality have been undertaken. Spiritual practices were undertaken at times. (Some turned out to be dead-ends.) A lot of thinking was required to digest what was read and to interpret experiences and to reflect on many aspects of the whole question.
What I am driving at is that much personal effort and sacrifice were expended over many years to acquire the beliefs and understanding (such as it is) that I now have. I did not arrive at this point quickly or easily. A high price was paid in time and effort. And, that is what it takes if one really is interested in making some progress in this area – time and effort and even sacrifices.
There is no lazy man’s way to belief, faith, or spiritual growth.
Some atheists are rather fond of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900). And, yes, we have read a couple of his works, The Birth of Tragedy, and Beyond Good and Evil. (In our view, he was better at the social criticism of the people of his times than at being a philosopher.)
Was it not Nietzsche who said “Any thing worth having is worth working for.”?
There is a saying that I have come across a few times over the years and it goes like this:
“For every step you take towards God, He will take ten steps towards you.”
To leave this world one day as spiritually ignorant as the day you entered this world is a terrible shame, a terrible waste – and to do so from sloth?
Like the song says “You get what you give”.
This blog is not an atheist support group. And, I must confess that I am slowly tiring of the whining of atheists – both male and female.
Inflammatory, inciteful (to hate) comments will not be approved.
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Now, on to other topics . . . . . .