• David Flowers

My E-Friendship

It has been too long since my last post. I decided in March to stop writing my blog in order to concentrate on the book I am writing. Unfortunately in the months since I stopped writing the blog, I have completed only the foreword to the book, and of course have done nothing with the blog. It is clear that if I don’t pull it together, I will never get my writing out to an audience. I seem to sabotage myself at every turn.

This is not to say that I have not done a ton of writing. My last post, in March, was “Dismissing Religion.” If you look at that post you’ll see that there’s a fairly lengthy comment below it from one “actualityjunkie.” I responded to his comment and we ended up kicking off a correspondence that continues to this day. This e-friendship has enriched my life in many ways and it is likely that many posts I put up in the coming weeks and months will either be snippets from some of those exchanges (I have secured his permission) or influenced heavily by them.

This back-and-forth has simultaneously shaken my faith and assured me of it. It has shaken it simply because I have lived in a godless world vicariously over the last few months through the thoughts and writings of actualityjunkie. Though I don’t know him personally, he seems like a noble human being. He has served in the military. He has a family and seems to deeply love them. He is thoughtful and honest and authentic. He admits it when I’ve made a point. (Now that I think about it, he has done that more often than I have affirmed him in his points – I need to correct that, because he does have some good arguments.) He seems deeply sincere. Unless I’m missing something huge here (and I could be), he is probably a better human being than many who call themselves Christian.

On the other hand, my faith has been strengthened because, at the end of the day, I simply don’t think he has a case. (I know he’ll probably read this, and I’ll certainly welcome his input as always, but that’s just the way I see it.) Of course he thinks he has the ONLY case because his views “fit the evidence,” but spirituality simply doesn’t work that way. At the end of the day this really does come down simply to a choice about how to view the world. If I were ever to submit the kind of evidence for the existence of God that the materialist looks for, then the Being fitting that kind of evidence by definition could not be God. Thus materialism, claiming to be open to all the evidence, rules out any possibility of ever finding anything beyond itself from the very outset. It is a crisp, tight, tautology (circular argument). Although many if not most atheists marshal science to defend their atheism, that world view is not in any way required by science. In fact, about 62% of scientists are believers. This does not mean 62% are Christians, but 62% consider themselves theists in some sense.

In the final analysis, Actuality Junkie (this is what I’ll call him from now on, as if this were his proper name) has chosen a world view that works for him, as I have. He is honest in his pursuit of understanding in that world view, as am I in mine. From what I can tell, he tries to live according to his world view every day, as do I by mine. We have both made choices about what to believe about reality. That is the bottom line. He is not compelled by the weight of science into the only rational option available to him. I am not compelled by emotion into an irrational option that could not possibly have any credibility with intelligent people. We both have made choices about what to believe, based on our strong convictions about the nature of reality. Ultimately, says he, reality is material. Ultimately, says me, reality is spiritual. In any case, I am grateful for the opportunity to “spar” with someone as bright as he is, especially when the tone can still be respectful and as positive as it has, perhaps surprisingly, remained.

For those Christians out there with their heads in the sand, hiding from science, afraid that someone somewhere has the “whopper” that will make mincemeat of your faith, I can truly tell you that you don’t need to worry about that. There is no need to be fearful in your pursuit of truth. Perhaps as important, there is no need to be forceful. For atheists who think science demands atheism, be reminded that a significant majority of scientists are theists, then ask yourself what this is really about for you. (Incidentally, even if 100% of scientists were atheists, the argument that science demands atheism would still have to be made, and that would still be a very difficult thing to prove.)

Finally, I want to make it clear that I did not start this blog in order to argue about world views. This is a blog where I talk about my world view and what I am learning. Atheists who read this, I want you to know that Actuality Junkie is in touch with me and representing your world view better than most of you probably could. Seriously. You’re in capable hands. I’m getting a steady stream of the viewpoint from the other side of the fence and am learning a lot from it. What I have learned that is most important to me is that two people with radically different world views can still be harmonious and humorous in their interactions, rather than hostile. I continue to thoroughly enjoy our exchanges.

Perhaps ironically, that is the kind of world Jesus would want – a world where atheists and Christians can live in peace with each other, can communicate authentically, and can be friends despite their differences. The haters, be they “Christian” or “atheist” do no credit to their respective world views.

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