I have decided that over the next several blog posts I am going to write something of a spiritual autobiography. I do this with no delusions that it will be Augustine’s Confessions Part II (Electric Boogaloo). It will simply be my attempt to explain how I came to be where I am and what came before. The only reason I do this is because I was asked the other day how it was that I went from being an atheist to being a Christian and the best I could say at that moment was that I found atheism to be rather boring, which it is but you could say that of a whole host of things – the pasta section at the grocery store, the Salt Lake City Airport and most musical groups from Scandinavia. And so I guess what follows will be my attempt to articulate my faith in terms more profound than what a thirteen year old says when they have been in the car too long.
Also before going on I should clarify that I am not attempting to write an apology, that is a justification for the Christian faith. This is not meant to be targeted at the unbeliever. The main reason for this is my somewhat skeptical view of the viability of arguing or persuading someone into the faith. This skepticism comes partly from a rather subjective criteria about the number of people I have seen who have come to the faith through argument, which is to say none. In other words I have never heard the conversion story in which someone said they did not believe until their friend argued with them for hours on end at which point they were baptized and started exclusively listening exclusively to those Christian stations that are at the lower end of the FM dial. Just to add a little more anecdotal fuel to this fire, the other day I was talking with someone who was a non-Christian. They repeatedly told me that no Christian writings existed until more than fifty years after the crucifixion. I told him that this was not quite true that 1stThessalonians was probably written less than 20 years after the crucifixion. I then asked what it mattered and if next week we found a Christian document that was written twenty minutes after the crucifixion would it change anything. He said that it did not really matter and that it would not change his mind. People tend to not be Christian for a whole host of reasons and those reasons can be somewhat fluid. This is not to pick on non-Christians, because I think we all do this in any number of beliefs. If I asked you why you loved your spouse, one day you might tell me its because of their compassionate nature while another day it might be because of how they are with the kids. Which sort of gets me to my second point.
The other reason I am not a big proponent of arguments for the Faith has to do with my skepticism about logic and reason being the best ways to convey the Faith. This is not to say that I am against reason and logic, it is simply that as I have grown older I have come to realize that much of our life is not governed by logic and reason and this is not necessarily bad. A whole host of horrible and repugnant actions might actually be logical – killing off old people or the mentally ill just for a few quick examples. I will develop this theme more as we go on, but for the time being just want to establish that what follows is not geared towards persuasion and will not be something of an airtight argument for the faith once delivered. Additionally there will not be a tremendous amount of time spent on fleshing out what is the faith once delivered. This is not meant to be a theological text which defends or celebrates one position over the other. For clarity in what I mean by the faith it is probably simplest to say that it is the faith as expressed in the Nicene Creed.
And finally what follows is personal, it is not prescriptive. I am not suggesting that my path is the right one or wrong one, but simply stating how things happened and how I cam to be where I am. Hopefully you will find some admirable parts but certainly there will be some things that are not great. Which, not to excuse myself, but is rather a fairly good summary of humanity in general – we are good except when we aren’t.