Many people adopt the Atheist view of life because they perceive a folly in belief. Understandably, they reject the burden of a higher power, preferring the freedom Atheism bestows. I am not here to debate this point to others; I merely give my testimony I recently came to realize, and to request a difficult thing from people.
I’ve become increasingly annoyed at non-Christian radio, and I could never put my finger on it. Adding to this angst was that fact that Christian radio is painfully repetitive, and usually very outdated. But I stayed with it, not knowing why. A few weeks ago, I went to a good friend, who inquired on my anger.
Put this on the shelf for a while, I’ll get back to it.
That same friend observed that I tended to be very forgiving to other people, and not forgiving to myself. At the time, I had no response. Time, though, has bestowed its gift on me these last few weeks, and given me closure. I went back to him yesterday, and responded with this. Forgiveness is something you give to others more than yourself. If you forgive yourself, you give yourself the power to absolve yourself of all wrongs – and you think you play God with your wrongs. You delude yourself to thinking you attain the High Road when really you fall short. But I digress, let me get back on topic (I will cover this in more depth later).
The personal reason I do not forgive myself is that, with every fault of mine, I give a wrong image of the Christian. For, as a man of God, if I allow my faults to go unhindered, then I show the world a hated image of a Christian, one they expect. That I cannot allow (though it happens many times). If I have the power to change my ways, and I do not, I have done my God wrong. I’d rather be more of the older son than the prodigal, where self-forgiveness is concerned. Then again, a strong argument could be made that all Christians are the prodigal, and that I put too much pressure on myself. After all, it is in our nature to be sinners. Again, I’d rather be more harsh on myself than too lenient.
My friend then asked, why stay with Christianity? To that, I answered that Christianity gave me purpose and significance. Atheism seemed to me to be completely aimless, the definition of irrelevance. From the beginning, I despised that word. Recently I went to a Eagle Scout Court of Honor. The man being honored was a good friend of mine, but I couldn't find the courage to stay. I left scouting a while ago, long before my trail was finished, though I could not name why. Now I know: It was too significant. I was overwhelmed by it, disillusioned, I doubted and despised it. I didn't give it the time it needed to show it's power on me, and I chose insignificance over its counterpart. This was, is, and will be one of the regrets of my life.
Let's bring the topic of the music off the shelves from four paragraphs ago, and tie it in to the current topics in a clumsy transition. In all three of these cases, I struggle to find significance. In my life, I’ve realized recently, more than Grace, more than Forgiveness, I strive for Significance. My reason for belief is not only Grace, but the thing that keeps me thriving in my faith is the significance of faith. I have been given the charge to tell people about a supernatural power, a supreme, overriding God. The Significance imbued in me by this commission pushes me to awaken in the morning, breathes life into my poetry, inspires my words, and ignites my passions.
As I lost my significance by quitting the Boy Scouts, I face the same problem when observing Atheism. I would lose much of my inspiration, many of my weekly activities, if I were to shed the armor of my faith. I would find myself without aim. And I cannot let that happen. Atheism is my antithesis. It fascinates me, but only as a Chia Pet would. I would want to know more about it, though I would never want to own one. It would sit, idle, wondering aimlessly why it exists, until its green fronds die out. Then, it simply passes on.
Again, this applies to me alone. I am not trying to subvert anyone's beliefs and replace them with my own. But, when one experiences the thrill of learning, for the first time in eighteen years, what drives him or her, it is incredibly difficult to keep that inspiration hidden. For, if one keeps his or her beliefs hidden, then they do not have conviction to share them. I charge you, the reader, to find Significance in your life. When you stay significant, you stay alive.
And that truly is a remarkable endeavor.