Saturday, 24 April 2010
I have enjoyed the comments from a new person on my blog who is an atheist. I am feeling a bit ashamed because I feel he is kind and compassionate about people with faith and wishes to interact, whereas when I was an atheist I was far from this.
I became an atheist in church, ironically. Up until this point I had absolutely no inkling of anyone believing in any type of god. However, my parents were posted abroad (apparently they preferred church abroad) and so, aged seven, I got dragged along to this awful place, where I had the choice of being bored in church or having more school in the form of Sunday School (which I hated with a passion). Hence, I chose the former. I listened intently to the sermons, and after the third one decided that it was rubbish. As I remember it, the first sermon said we all had gifts, and I couldn't think of anything I was good at except causing much hilarity by being teased at school. The second sermon said God had a plan for our lives, and hence I concluded that God was a pretty nasty piece of work and had from the beginning of time planned that I would be bullied at school. The third sermon, though, was the killer. It said that God loved me. What a joke. My life was so full of cruelty and so miserable, and there was a God of love???
I think I became a pretty bitter atheist, I hated the idea that others used faith to prop themselves up and not face up to the harsh realities of life. As time went on I would take people's faith to pieces if I could, with much contempt and scorn. I never lost an argument, after all there is never any real proof with faith. C.S.Lewis has already claimed the place of being the most dejected and reluctant convert in all Christendom. I would like to claim second place, it really was embarrassing. When I was an atheist I felt superior, felt like those who needed a faith were weaker than me, I felt logical, clear, modern, rational, all of that went once I was converted.
There is some discussion about famous atheists like Richard Dawkins, and I guess it is difficult to get a good public discussion going about faith when there are so may extreme views. I think sometimes the put downs from atheists can cause those with faith to feel intimidated, perhaps the same is true the other way round. I shared a common room with Richard Dawkins for three years and found him to be kind, gentle and interesting. I also met other atheists at that time who I found to be arrogant and scathing. I suppose the same is true of people of faith.