I just listed to this Unbelievable podcast:
Is death a tragedy for atheists, is resurrection wishful thinking for Christians.
with Glen Scrivener and atheist journalist Michael Collett.
It was good episode of the Unbelievable radio show. I thought the most interesting parts were learning about Collett's views and opinions on things.
Here are some of my thoughts on this and related topics.
Picking the Beliefs that Feel Food
Collett made some interesting comments like: Atheism is taking the easier way out and is more pleasant in some situations like the tragic death of a non-Christian friend. For a Christian, painful; for an atheist, not so much. I found this interesting because it is often said that Christianity is just a pleasant fairy tale. Comments like this show that people may be atheists for the same type of poor reasons that atheists claim people choose to be Christians. Choosing a worldview (belief system) based on which one you find to be more attractive or more pleasant or more appealing is missing the point of a proper worldview. A worldview should be about shaping our beliefs and ideas to the ones that match reality. In other words, is is about which ideas and beliefs are true. Something may be very true and still unpleasant or painful. The inverse is also a possibility, that something may be very pleasant to believe, but be extremely false.
I applaud Collett for many of his comments during this radio show. They show that he was being transparent and authentic about what motivates his belief. This is something that does not always happen when an atheist is publicly talking with a Christian.
In my constant journey towards truth I have been reading and hearing more comments about what motivates someone to be an atheist. I am starting to notice some themes. I cannot say all atheists seem to fit into one of these themes, but I will say that many seem to. One of these themes, is not to posit compelling evidence to show there is not God, but instead to show how a certain aspect of Christianity or attribute of God is unjust, unthinkable, unpleasant, or difficult to accept. They do not normally attempt to show the logical falsehood of the aspect or attribute that they don't like. They just present how unfair/unjust/unpleasant it is, and then jump to their belief that flows from that. They seem to be skipping, or not taking seriously, whether or not their is reasonable evidence indicating whether it is true or not.
Can a Christian and an Atheist both find meaning?
Near the end of the show Collett made some comments about how he does find meaning in his atheist life that is just as meaningful as Scrivener finds in Christian life. I think Collett was trying to say that Scrivener's comments implying that people cannot find meaning with God, were false. I would like to point out that felling fulfilled and feeling like your life has meaning is often a subjective, personal viewpoint. Two people could both feel 100% fulfilled and feel 100% meaning, but one of them could be right and one could be wrong, when measured against an objective standard of meaning. The question should not be can an atheist find equal meaning to life as a Christian can. The real question(s) should be: Is there an objective standard to measure life's purpose and meaning? If yes, which worldview best directs people on a path towards this objective purpose and meaning?
If these is no God, no higher power, no afterlife, then life's purpose and meaning are whatever we want it to be for each one of us. We can all have perfectly valid purpose and meaning even though we each choose different answers.
If there is a God and he created us for a reason and a purpose, then we can feel however we want about meaning and purpose, but it may be wrong if it does not align with God's intended purpose for our existence.
Truth Quest or Happiness Quest
Frank Turek has said it many times on is show: "It seems many people are not on a Truth quest. They are on a happiness quest. "
The more I hear from non-Christians the more this claim seems to be true. Atheists say many things and make many comments, but often they boil down to something like:
- I cannot believe in a God who would....
- If I were God, I would do ____ better, because....
- God cannot exist because he is doing certain things wrong/poorly.
Frank Turek has mentioned asking this question to an atheist: If Christianity were true, who you become a Christian?
They can say yes or no, but the comments to justify the "no" are interesting to hear. Many of them seem to be judging God as unjust or unfair. Sometimes they just do not agree with the way God does things so they would not follow him. Unfortunately for us humans, if something God does seems unfair or unjust does not mean it is. If God does exist, and I believe he does, then when are views conflict with God's, we are the ones who are wrong. An act may appear extremely unjust, but in fact be very just when viewed from God's all knowing perspective.