When I was a an atheist, I thought I was the brave one. No false comforts for me! I face extinction stoically, I face the meaninglessness of life like a trooper. I didn’t go as far as many atheists do today and find meaning in life by rubbing my superiority into the faces of believers. I merely looked down on them as being ignorant.
- But was I really the brave one? Is there anything to fear if there is a God? Isn’t religion all rainbow-colored marshmallows? I have now been a Christian for (wait let me pull up a calculator) forty-two years! I have no fear, but I haven’t run across any rainbow-colored marshmallows, either.
- Loving people takes more guts than being a member of Seal Team 6; the internal jihad, against our own dark side, is fierce-or at least mine has been-you may be a better person than I. Forty-two years in, how is the jihad going? Well, I have a besetting sin and it crops up every time I see a picture of Dick Cheney. I’m working on it.
- So what is there to fear if there is a God? Remember Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean? This was his offer to the dying sailors:
- “Do you fear death? Do you fear that dark abyss? All your deeds laid bare. All your sins punished. I can offer you…an escape. I offer you a choice. Join my crew…and postpone the judgment. One hundred years before the mast. Will ye serve?“
- Most of them chose one hundred years before the mast, gradually turning into barnacle-encrusted monsters, in lieu of facing judgment immediately.
- Of course, Davy Jones was calling on a common misconception of God as the vengeful Sky God, a Zeus-Odin combo, finger poised over the “smite” button. Pretty scary.
- That construction worker from Nazareth came to correct that misconception. He was very kind to sinners and little kids liked him. He was very rough on hypocritical religious leaders, though. If I were a hypocritical religious leader and refused to change my ways, I’d take the hundred years before the mast.