The simple answer to that question is, yes, yes we should question everything. How do we better understand anything in our life if we do not ask questions? One will never hear me tell anyone that they shouldn’t ask questions, that one shouldn’t be curious, or that something simply does not have an answer. There are answers for most things if we look hard enough. Some questions are tougher than others and there are times where my knowledge as a father really get stretched to the limit. I will premise this post with letting y’all know that I do not push my beliefs (or lack there of) on anyone, especially my children who I remind when needed that my choices are mine and they need to find the answers to make their own choices.
Last night my son had choir practice at the church my wife and children attend. Not that it matters much, but it is billed as a non-denominational church. As we are pulling into the parking lot, my son, out of the blue, asks “dad, what is a christian atheist”? I asked him what would make him want to ask me such a question. So he pointed to the marquee sign where this particular church put upcoming events and so forth. He was right, there is was. It read “Christian? Atheist?…………..Christian Atheist?” The sign was bewildering, I had this stuck in my head and couldn’t shake it, I had to keep looking back at it, reading it, thinking, reading it. What’s the deal, why am I thinking about this? After a few minutes, my son reminds me that if we stay in the car, he will be late for choir practice. We get out of the car, I had to look back one more time, just to see if the sign still said what I thought it said when I first saw it. Indeed, it has not changed.
I take him down to his classroom, make my way to the restroom, and finally make it to the auditorium where I wait for his class to come out and practice. Under normal conditions, this is the most enjoyable hour and a half that I know exists. Knowing all the “problems” associated with autism and being bipolar, my son seems to make it all go away with the beauty and power in his own voice. His voice truly moves me when he sings, it often brings tears to my eyes because for a brief amount of time he is just Jackson, not the boy that no-one understands or wants to understand.
As I closed my eyes and singled my son’s voice out of the crowd, flashes of that stupid sign kept interfering. What is the deal I keep asking myself. Just words? Just a sign? Hey, your son is pouring his heart out up there, pay attention! Could I really be this distracted? On the way home we talked about his question. I was bothered quite a bit because it seemed to be quite a contradiction in terms. I have never labeled myself with any more than just being a person who does not believe in God. I know that I’m not satisfied with fairytales, the end. I laid in bed last night, thinking, not being able to sleep, get up, go out onto the deck, smoke a cigarette or three, and try to get my brain off the words of that sign. Good luck with that, yea, I know.
I was more than a little surprised this morning to read exactly what a christian atheist really is. It seems it is an ideology in which the belief in the god of christianity is simply rejected or it is absent because the teachings of jesus are followed. Why? It is believed the stories of jesus relate to modern life but not to be taken literally. In this belief, god is nothing more than a symbol. The christian atheists have removed the fairy tale elements from their beliefs. They see christianity as non-realistic and see a need to believe in only what is considered factual or real. There are writings after writings about what is essential to this belief system. I do really like some of the principles followed and taught but not something I need at this point in my life.
Humanity is forced to take responsibility for everything. Human beings are very powerful and capable of doing things for themselves. No need to waste time trying to explain supernatural things. Religion is no longer the opposition to scientific process. Religion is a product of humanity for humanity. Funny, until last night I had my life sorted out. I still do, I just re-examined why I believe the way I do. This little lesson was needed, I suppose, to clear the cobwebs and re-organize. I still believe it is impossible to know whether there is a god or not. Period. Humanity does not know the answer to that question, therefore the question can never be answered. I do not put faith in hope and a dream that maybe some answer will be shown to me after my death. I live on planet earth, I will be buried on planet earth, journey complete.
In the end, the sign made me think. It made me explore what was real to me. Of course, it was just a sign, set to made you think, and explore your beliefs. Good marketing, it worked. I am not trying to make friends or enemies here, nor trying to split hairs. Just pointing out the power of words and how they get inside you and make you consume and digest them. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t ask questions and sometimes it would be nice not to have to try to help find answers to something I have no interest in. I just don’t know anymore, I know I’m tired of seeing an oxymoron like christian atheist where the question is folded up into the enigma of the statement.
I will confess, today is probably one of the first posts I have gone back and re-read more than once. Usually I just write my posts on the fly, throw the dice, and see who scores. But this one is different, this one proved to be a challenge, perhaps I have been looking to see if I actually said something that was worth posting. Perhaps I was looking to see if somewhere, somehow, I answered the question I was seeking an answer to. But, as usual when I delve into outer aspects of christianity I get a little mad. Mad? Why? Because it frustrates me that I leave the exploration with more questions than answers. So, that’s how y’all got dragged into it because when I write like this every once in a while it’s more like talking to myself to try to work it out in my own mind. By the way, my son wasn’t happy with the definition we looked up. He has plans to bring it up next Sunday in hopes that the pastor might have some new ideas. I hope he doesn’t lose sleep over it because, as I told him already, the sign was put up to make the thinkers think and some questions do not have answers, which is a contradiction to my own belief in the end.