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March 19, 2013

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Flannista

I still believe in an afterlife. Don't know why. Just do.

treesta

I would hope that, as I get older, I continually question the beliefs of my youth. An afterlife? I'm open to the possibility. Meanwhile, I'm just as content with the possibility that the afterlife is an allegory - that my life, after death, will nourish lives around me, just as a great old tree falls to the earth and nourishes life around her for years and years. My Christianity is becoming more and more eclectic as the years pass, so much so that a fundamentalist Christian would probably deny that I am a Christian.

treesta

The word in the codey thingy just now was natal. Chuckle. Birth or rebirth?

Flannista

What impressed me about Susan Jacoby's article is that she was compassionate about Christianity (unlike, for example, Christopher Hitchens). She didn't dismiss it as looney; choosing instead to focus more on making a case for her atheism. She is an atheist I would love to spend more time with because I don't think she would be quick to judge me.

Flannista

This is not to say that Christians aren't egregiously guilty of judging atheists.

Sista C

I'm hard-wired to believe in an afterlife. And as tenuous as that belief is for me to maintain, I can't seem to shake it off. You gotta admit, though, God makes it as difficult as possible to believe in anything of that ilk. I mean, really, with the monsters and monstrous events this earth has produced !'m asked to believe that God has a plan and knows best. I say again, REALLY?! Yet despite the b.s., and the fact that I say f##ck God on a semi-regular basis, there's still that sniglet of belief that refuses to be choked-off. I think that perhaps?, and I'm venturing here, it is the same for atheists? They're just hard-wired a different way. They might find it as impossible to believe as I do to disbelieve.

Flannista

You're brave to weigh in here, Sista C, but I'm glad that you did because you articulate pretty much how I feel about the whole thing. Thank you.

Maybe I'm limited in what I read by atheists, but Susan Jacoby's piece was so thoughtful, it just gave me pause about how quick I am to judge atheism -- or anybody, for that matter. I've always been too quick to judge, and that includes judging God.

Matissta

I haven't had a chance to read the articles, but I'll comment anyway.

Is there an afterlife? I'd like to think so, but who knows for certain. Christians go on faith. Atheists approach it from an analytical viewpoint; it can't be proven. However, I'm certain some Christians believe it can be proven.

Do I think God has a plan? The older I get, no. I don't think anyone is selected to die young or old. I don't think that a catastrophic world event is God's doing either.

What others believe doesn't matter to me. It only matters when people are dismissive of what a person believes. Both atheists and Christians can be harsh when someone disagrees with them. There's no reason to be disrespectful.

babysis

Lovely articles, both. Enjoyed Jacoby more. However, assuming death means perfect rest and no more suffering in all instances is a bit of a gamble, I think.

Sista C probably won't have lunch with me again until I'm 60, but I gotta find out why she's hooked her wagon to this age old premise that God is someone we define and decide if we approve of or not. If that's the case, God is really of our own making and atheists have got it right.

Flannista

Hmmmm. Well, I turn 60 in a couple of months, and hope you'll dine with me around then.

I couldn't make up Gawd despite my incredible imagination which helped me to survive my childhood. Interestingly, that's about the time I started to believe there wasn't a God, at least not a loving one. I get Sista C's point, babysis, and respect it, and think her perspective has less to do with her hard-wiring than with the fact that, like me, she tends not to bullshit about God, though I (and I cannot speak for Sista C) tend to bullshit about a lot outside of God. Shame on me. I'm not certain that God is someone she defines. I think life may have defined God for her. I don't think I defined God (I hope I haven't), but I will say this -- God seems pretty good about paying bills and such, but sucks at healing cancer. My imagination? Sorry.

Flannista

Forgive me, babysis, for not thanking you for reading the articles. The Saunders piece was wonderful, but yes, tedious.

babysis

Sheessh, no disrespect was meant. It is definitely a conversation to have over many dinners. I am under no delusion about all the shitty stuff that exists. Making that the basis for believing God is good or not (or exists at all) is a very common and understandable struggle, but I can't see it as the defining argument so many make it out to be. Supposedly, Job was the first book written in the Bible, which tells me this has been a question wrestled with for a very long time. It's much more about who God is than whether God is. And God pretty much sucks at making that crystal clear too.

Flannista

Look forward to those dinners, babysis.

Yours is such a compassionate response and one of the reasons why I remain a lousy Christian. Thank you for continuing to show me the way (though to be clear I don't think of you as a lousy Christian).

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