When reality dawns on a devout Xtian stand back- you don’t want to get any of their fear and confusion splattered on your Birkenstocks.
I have a couple of Xtian internet friends that I’ve known for many years now. A moderate / liberal “Christ follower” she’s only a short jog away from being rational. Her husband, also an accepting Xtian, is a tad more afflicted with the God Virus. He’s a Bible banger, but mild mannered, not comfortable with debate and typically avoids confrontation. He’s from the hills of the Bible Belt, she’s from the North East. I’ve shared some of my experiences with them in The Atheist Camel Chronicles.
So, imagine my surprise when out of the clear blue sky I get this posting to my Facebook page from “Jethro” (paraphrasing from memory):
“I’ve had enough!! You spend page after page trying to disprove Jesus; more time than I do praising Him. Deep down you must really believe or you wouldn’t spend so much time denying Him. I hope you find Him some Day. You just got called out BITCH!!”
This was so out of character for him I contacted his wife who was also taken aback at the bizarre outburst. Having suffered a serious injury he’s been on and off mega narcotics, is suffering a great deal of discomfort, and has been out of work for a long time because of it. He has been under enormous physical and financial stress for almost two years now. I hold no anger at his rant - no harm done. I hope he gets better and things turn around for the both of them soon.
But what’s interesting is that no where on my Facebook page have I ever attempted to disprove Jesus, nor any mythical figure. Nor have I attempted such in my blog, or in my books. Trying to disprove the existence of Jesus, God, Isis, Ganesh, Mithra, Moloch, Big foot, or aliens among us would be the ultimate waste of time. I dismiss them simply because they lack objective evidence for their existence; not in a “spiritual”, live, dead, or zombie state.
And why does an atheist’s rejection of a scientifically unsupportable concept imply some sort of repressed deep seated belief to theists? Does the theist’s own denial of the thousands of gods man has dreamt up over millennia similarly imply they are harboring a suppressed belief in the pagan gods, many of whom are worshipped by millions to this day? If the answer is “no” then why is it so easy for them to ignore that fact and project belief on those who simply reject as fable just one more god than they?
The predominant opinion is that these religionists simply lack the will or intellectual capability for self-reflection and analysis. They cannot equate their own rejection of other peoples’ gods to an atheist’s legitimate rejection of their Xtian God. The “truth” of their belief is so evident to them, so obvious in spite of the absence of objective proof that for anyone to not accept it they must be “angry at God,” or “deceived by Satan,” or just in denial.
But what could possibly have been the catalyst to prompt such a hostile outburst and unprovoked and uncharacteristic challenge from “Jethro”? I have a theory.
However, this self deception of attributing supernatural causes to natural and humanitarian acts of charity plays just so long / goes just so far. It’s one thing to chalk up misfortune to a “test of faith” - it’s a whole ‘nother thing when conditions become such that the worry and tribulations never improve, never resolve and show no sign of ever abating. When the landlord issues his final notice; when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from; when you suffer because there is no money for meds, or gasoline, or repairs, or electricity - and this continues for years with no foreseeable relief- in spite of daily appeals to the supernatural, one might begin to question the efficacy of prayer, or God’s benevolence, or perhaps even the existence of a god itself.
So what prompted Jethro’s inexplicable explosion and impassioned protestation of my supposed dedication to the disproval of Jesus and his tortured illogic of my harboring a repressed belief in his man-god? I proffer it is his own reckoning with reality as it begins to seep through the cracks of his failing faith. When one implores the non-existent with desperate pleas day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and is met with deafening silence and inaction while others around you are prospering and enjoying good health even in their rejection of religious supernaturalism then “Why hath thou forsaken me?” or more likely “Where the fuck are you??” is a reasonable response. After all, even mythical Job’s suffering was limited to weeks, or months at worst. Years of it would be untenable.
So, perhaps Jethro wasn’t entirely mistaken. Maybe Jesus IS being disproved, and an underlying repressed acceptance IS being harbored. But the disproval is not of my making, it’s his; and the acceptance is one of hard reality – also his own. He is grieving the loss of a long held and all but unshakable belief and is understandably scared to death at the dawning of this revelation. Jethro’s psyche is hovering somewhere between “denial” and “anger“ in Kessler’s and Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief.
Welcome to the brink of rationality, Jethro. Welcome to the cross road of free thought. Let not your heart be troubled. Although you don’t see it just yet, I promise you that there is comfort in the knowledge that you are the only master of your one and only life. I hope it serves you as well as it does me. Embrace it.