[A pastor’s confession.]
Often I’ll have a friend from childhood find out that I’m a pastor and they’re downright incredulous; they’re just as surprised as I am that I ever went from atheism to Christianity, much less ministry. “I thought you were too smart for that” or “You were always the wild guy, never thought you’d settle down.” Most of my friends went the other way and fell out of faith like it was a varsity jacket, or an old diaper. They ask, “How do you keep believing in all this faith s–t?” – not because they’re trying to trap me, but because they’re genuinely curious for a coherent explanation. They do want something.
To be truthful: most times, I don’t have a good answer.
I often wonder myself, How do I keep believing in all this faith s–t?
Sometimes, I find the whole thing just crazy. When I reduce Christianity down to one or two sentences, it sounds ridiculous coming out of my mouth. I believe that if I telepathically offer my cognitive affection to a Jewish zombie who tells us to eat his flesh and drink his blood, then I’ll have immortality and half a better chance to run for political office.
A fellow Christian will tell me, “Oh no, doubt is a good thing, it means you’re at the edge of solidifying a deeper faith by investigating your most foundational beliefs.” Which I guess could be true.
A fellow atheist will tell me, “Oh no, doubt is a good thing, it means you’re at the edge of coming back to reason and shedding a fear-based crutch that’s having less relevance and respect in the world.” Which I guess could also be true.
Both would say, “You’re finally being intellectually honest.” Both say, “You’ll come around.” Both say, “If they could just admit they don’t have everything right.” Both say, “They’re just so blind and have the same boring arguments and the ‘burden of proof‘ is on them.” Both are rude, unthoughtful, unmoving. And of course, they both love to yell ad hominem.
It all just sounds the same to me. I could quit believing. I could keep believing. I could walk away. I could walk harder.