HOW AN ATHEIST FOUND GOD: My Response

I just finished an interesting post: How an Atheist Found God. You can read the full post by following the link. It’s well-written and while I was reading it I was constructing a comment but after it reached the 400 word mark or so, I realized that it was too darn big and needed to be a separate post.

Ta da! Here it is.

I had a few questions when reading the article. The first one that popped into my head was how this person figured out which God was real? There are literally thousands. Did they naturally choose the one most prominent in their culture?

“And I would methodically review five objective reasons why I believed God existed. So my “faith” in God did not rest on feelings, but on facts, on reasons.”

Up to this point I didn’t see any objective reasons in your post to believe. You talked about feeling love and how you wanted to believe because of your friend, but there was nothing objective about those reasons. The only thing remotely objective was the ‘chemical properties of water and the earth’s position to the sun’ thing, although I don’t understand why it couldn’t be. There are billions of dead planets out there that aren’t close enough to the sun or are too far away to have life. Did this deity really create a universe that is 99% hostile to life? I mean space itself which is the largest chunk of real estate in the universe is a cold, irradiated vacuum.

One day, my schedule, deadlines, and obligations were crawling up my neck and tightening their hold. You know that feeling when you’re so overwhelmed, you don’t know what to do first?

So I got out a piece of paper and pen, and asked God: “Just tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it.” I was fully prepared for shouldering 100% responsibility, and was basically asking God to just set the priorities, tell me how to approach it all, and I would.

I then opened my Bible and immediately read where Jesus was talking with a man who was blind. Jesus was asking him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

I read it again. Jesus asked: “What do you want me to do for you?” Rather amazed, I picked up my pen and began writing an entirely different list…to God. This, I have found, is characteristic of God. Reminding us that he is there. That he cares, and he’s capable.

So your evidence consists of opening a book and randomly picking out a passage and then reading it and concluding that in some way, that passage was meant to be read by you. That God directed you to read it so that you’d have an easier day.

I think we should drop off a million more bibles to the starving people of the world who have distended stomachs. Maybe they could find a passage that will feed them.

Honestly, I could do this with nearly any book. For example, I have a slight headache right now so I opened the book ‘Revival’ by Stephen King, which just happens to be sitting on my desk. I flipped to a random page and it reads:

“In the early-morning hours of October third, shortly before the Tulsa State fair shut up shop for another year, I suffered another aftereffect of the brain-blast Jacobs had given me’. Page 170.

No kidding. That’s the passage I read. The great Stephen King knew I was suffering a headache (which he lovingly referred to as a ‘brain-blast’) and I knew it was something I was just going to have to cope with on my own. But I wasn’t alone. I could draw strength from the great and powerful King. He clearly understood what I was going through.

It was Christmas break, and I was now visiting my parents. One evening, I was alone and thinking through a long list of friends. I was wondering who I could talk into moving to California with me to be roommates. One person named Christy, came to mind, who had already graduated and settled in a job in Iowa. I thought she’d be the perfect roommate, but I hadn’t talked to her in several months. Just 30 minutes later, at my parents home, Christy calls me on the phone.

Her first sentence was, “I heard you are taking a job with this Christian organization.” I was floored because I had only told one friend, in Ohio.

Not sure what is so ‘flooring’ about this experience. The person you told, told someone else and they told Christy, who just happened to be in your list of friends you had been thinking about.

In terms of explanations about life–why we’re here, what the purpose is, what is important in life, what to value or strive for–God has better answers than anything I’ve ever read anywhere. I have studied multiple philosophies and religions and other life approaches. What I read in the Bible, what I see from God’s perspective, all the pieces of the puzzle fit.

I find it strange when people say that ‘we were magically popped into existence’ is the best explanation. I’m glad that you found a philosophy that makes you happy though.

The intimacy with God is deeper than intimacy with any human being. I say that married, with two children, and tons of very close friends. His love is perfect. He’s incredibly gracious.

Well yes…because you’re being intimate with yourself. You’re exploring your own thoughts and emotions through the lens of faith.

I hope your wife is religious as well. I know if I read that my wife had me pegged as second to an invisible being, I’d be a tad upset.

Just a tad, mind you.

I’m not sure any of it is believable to you, but I’ve been as honest as I know how to be.

You’re right. I don’t find it convincing and I want to note once again that the rest of your post did not contain any more objective evidence than the first part. But your honesty was appreciated and I hope the religion thing keeps working for you and that you continue to lead a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.

Best wishes and thank you for writing your blog post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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19 Comments

  1. Pareidolia: “The imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist.”

    ————–
    When we think something is true we will look for anything which will confirm it for us. We find patterns in randomness.” ~ Derren Brown

    Yesterday, I shared this video with you. Brown has a segment which demonstrates pareidolia in an experiment he performed. I’ve got it queued at 31:48 minute marker. You only need to watch about 4 minutes.

    Excellent post and spot on.

    • I liked the ‘kicked the Converse shoes’ across the floor example. Someone could easily take that to mean they should buy new shoes.

      It’s so true and you see this sort of thinking throughout the original blog post I’m talking about in this one. Our need for order and pattern is strong.

      I just had a conversation with someone who admitted they didn’t know how the universe came to be but said that his explanation of ‘Jesus’ was better than my explanation of ‘I don’t know’, even though he had previously admitted he didn’t know either, and so by extension, he admitted I was being more honest.

      It’s like some people can’t bear to admit they don’t know something.

  2. That’s pretty much all you get with testimonies. Confirmation bias.

    Wow! Stephen King wrote that just for you! I had to try this… I just opened a page randomly in Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, and found this:

    “There was a knot of three men and two women standing at a corner, and one of the women was crying on her dirty shawl, and the other comforted her by saying, as she pulled her own shawl over her shoulders, “Jaggers is for him, ‘Melia, and what more could you have?” There was a red-eyed little Jew who came into the Close while I was loitering there, in company with a second little Jew whom he sent upon an errand; and while the messenger was gone, I remarked this Jew, who was of a highly excitable temperament, performing a jig of anxiety under a lamp-post and accompanying himself, in a kind of frenzy, with the words, “O Jaggerth, Jaggerth, Jaggerth! all otherth ith Cag-Maggerth, give me Jaggerth!” These testimonies to the popularity of my guardian made a deep impression on me, and I admired and wondered more than ever.”

    If I wanted to see God in this, I could interpret this as praise to God, the guardian of the Jews. Sadly, that would be a completely out of context interpretation of this passage.

    Or maybe Jaggers really does represent God! Consider this, that Jaggers declares on the next page: “if I want you, I know where to find you; I don’t want you to find me. Now I won’t have it. I won’t hear a word.”

    That explains everything!

    • Or Shakespeare knew that the Rolling Stones were going to be huge and he was trying to tell us all to watch out for Jagger. 🙂

      Yes, whenever I see a post that says they have proof their God exists, I hope for something a bit more than the usual confirmation bias things. So far I’ve been disappointed.

  3. Why is it so difficult to figure out which is the real God?

    God is not a created being. He is the ultimate and sustaining cause of all things that are created -angels, time, space, matter, human beings etc.
    These are just some of the attributes of God:
    infinite, immaterial, space-less, timeless, immutable, self-existing, holy, personal. omnipotent, omniscient, etc.
    This kind of God can be known by all people because He has revealed Himself in different ways: His creation, His Written word, His spoken Word, unto the tablet of your heart.

    You can choose to go through life with only an empty argument, or you can choose to seek and develop an intimate relationship with the God of the universe, where eventually He sees you as His friend.

  4. How would you know they’re baseless assertions when you clearly do not know God (or are you claiming that you do).
    There was nothing to refute, as unfortunately all you have is an argument.
    I do smile at your use of “magical powers” though, as this reveals a lot about your understanding of this universe. As my Lord said- hey, if you cannot believe earthly things, how can you even begin to believe the things of the spirit.

    There’s a lot more to this universe than what you can perceive with just your 5 senses. Don’t take my word for it, using the words you guys love to us- prove it for your self.

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