Just this afternoon, I was approached by a Christian. To use the line made infamous by The Book of Mormons, he came to tell me about Jesus Christ. He began by asking me if I believed in the afterlife. I told him, no. Death is the ultimate end for me. But he disregarded the sentiment completely, albeit with a polite nod and polite pause, and then went on ahead in his impassioned rambling about the faith. It seemed quite practiced. I imagined he had repeated it several times already. If not the persistence, then one must at least admire the conviction that continues to ring through his words; like a bell that toils daily and yet never sounds a decibel softer. When he arrived at the conditions for entering Heaven, my attention once again rose to life; or rather, it was when he told me that only by faith can one secure in place in those Elysian fields. Of course, I found the notion to be exceptionally distasteful. For what monsters shall be permitted their ways; whom, in thinking that by faith alone they are made impervious to ultimate retribution, shall see no reason to inhibit their grotesque expeditions. So, naturally, I posed him a question reflective of this contingency. He said: “As long as they believe..” And stopped listening. These people are ludicrous. They would much rather determine their lives entirely upon the words of pious men than upon their God-given reason. Is that not true blasphemy?
Finally, a Christian admits to me that there is indeed no reasonable route to faith, and that of two sides into which the unknowable divides itself, he has chosen to stand on the side of the theist.
He believes in an omnibenevolent God not because reason has led him to it – for he contends that there exists no such reason – but because it brings him peace. I think this is what shall appease the many obstinate opponents of Christianity. For reason is their anchor, and all they ask of the religious is that they realize the reasons behind their convictions, or if there were none, then admit of it. Only in this way can they realize also that the books, the doctrines, the teachings which they esteem as divine and everlasting truths, may appear to others as false. As Nietzsche remarked: “the only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths.”
Yet, every man is entitled to a way of life which he determines as best for himself, and so the non-religious shall not intrude upon sacred grounds of Christians nor puncture their hopes with harsh and unforgiving words. No, the upholders of reason are also the upholders of harmony. And what surer way to nurture this harmony then to always keep reason close to one’s heart, even in the realms of that blind-believing called faith?