Archive for the Faith Experience Category

The Argument from Personal Experiences

Posted in Faith Experience on March 6, 2013 by RWZero

“But you don’t understand; I have a personal relationship with God.”

So your faith is based on your experiences.

Well, my beliefs are based on my experiences. And yours, and my other friends’, and the experiences of everyone I have read about or met. That paints a much clearer picture.

Plus factual evidence, science, logic, and all that extra stuff.

Guilt

Posted in Faith Experience, The Facts and Ideas on August 13, 2012 by RWZero

What a mindset the people have who make these things:

Well, if God asked me that question, I would say:

“Actually, I can’t do much about it. I try to be nice and I give some money to charity, but I can’t really do too much about earthquakes, pestilence, cancer, birth defects, third-degree burns, cataracts, bear attacks, chronic nerve pain, automobile and industrial accidents, the imprisonment and torture of people under Communist regimes, and the inevitable suffering and death of every member of the human race. As far as I can see, many of these things will always be with us, because you put most of them there. So, could you answer my question?”

Sunday

Posted in Faith Experience, The Narrow Path on July 8, 2012 by RWZero

I had a good night just now. A good friend of mine moved into a new house recently; he invited a bunch of us over to eat pizza, drink beer and watch UFC. I don’t watch TV, and I never watch UFC, but tonight I made exceptions, and I enjoyed it. It ended late, I stayed up later, and when I got in I remembered that the clock had rolled over to Sunday.

I realized that I miss church.

I miss knowing that I slept through something I was supposed to be up for. I miss the times when I did wake up, and I sat in those beautifully stained wooden pews shifting quietly as I glanced around at the ceiling, the other people, and the stained glass. I miss the feeling of cleanliness that accompanied the pilgrimage to that sanctuary full of staid and pedestrian congregants. I miss resting my head in the crook of my arm during a long, boring, platitudinous prayer; saying a few words of my own for the first few seconds and basically falling asleep for the rest of it.

It’s 3:47 AM. In the next 10 or 15 minutes, I’ll fall asleep in the middle of an uncharacteristically messy room. In 5 or 6 hours, some people I know will make their way towards some churches I know. I will stay fast asleep, waking in the early afternoon. Anyone who went to church will be heading back home. I will feel some pain and grogginess from oversleep, and I will stare out the window for a minute or two. As I contemplate whether I should clean up my room, work on my project for work, or edit my vacation photos, I will realize that I am less than 12 hours away from having to sleep again, so I can be up for work. I’ll feel pangs of lethargy and loneliness.

For most of the day I won’t feel very good at all.

Prometheus

Posted in Faith Experience on July 6, 2012 by RWZero

This was also a religious experience for me.

Journey

Posted in Faith Experience on July 3, 2012 by RWZero

I played this PS3 game called “Journey.”

It was a religious experience. If you have a PS3 (connected to the network), play this game. I don’t own a PS3, but thankfully someone invited me over to play it just now. It is about 2 hours long.

God the Wingman

Posted in Faith Experience, The Facts and Ideas, The Narrow Path on May 24, 2012 by RWZero

There are consequences of believing in an all-powerful, personal God, and believing that he cares intensely about sex, marriage and relationships.

Having these beliefs inclines one towards believing that people are “meant” to be together, that God “brings” people together, and that God will help your soulmate see the condition of your heart, just like he sees the condition of your heart.

I used to figure that if my intentions were perfect–if my “heart was in the right place,” and if my purity of mind and soul were all set–then God would not let silly things get in the way of me being with my dream girl. He wouldn’t let things go south just because I had failed to present myself properly, or was misunderstood or misinterpreted, or made a bad impression…

God is your wingman. He will make sure that she only rejects you if you aren’t meant to be with her, or if you somehow deserve it.

Unfortunately, these beliefs are false. Nobody is taking care of this for you–it can be scientifically demonstrated. If you’re a girl, you really can fail to maintain your weight and doom yourself to singleness (in spite of all your prayers). If you’re a guy, you really can make a bad impression and lose your chance forever, no matter how godly you are. ¬†People are predictable, manipulable creatures, and all the same types of things that turn on, and turn off, normal human beings apply to Christians–they are just couched in a different context.

God will not lift a finger to help anyone “see you for who you really are.” You will not get rewarded or noticed for anything that is hidden in your heart alone. God will not help a potential mate “look past” your poor taste in fashion, your annoying habits, or your antisocial tendencies. Only the well-worn, outwardly visible, tried-and-tested methods of attracting people will attract people. You can even learn these methods from a godless pick-up artist, and in many cases you can use them to steal a Christian girl out from under a godly man’s nose.

Of course, most Christians eventually learn this. Some of them learn it too late, some of them never learn it, and almost none of them draw the correct conclusion from the data:

God does not care whether you are unloved and alone for the rest of your life. He doesn’t care whether you deserve to be alone, or whether you are the most deserving, kind, gentle person on the planet. None of your prayers have any effect. The only one who is going to do anything about your relationships, your loneliness, or finding your “soulmate,” is you.

That’s a Good Question

Posted in Faith Experience, The Narrow Path on May 12, 2012 by RWZero

At the advent of my plunge into existential despair, I attended a church service at the one place left in the city where there are appreciable numbers of young Christians. The fresh-faced boyish smiles of young, married Nice Guys; the frenetic, cacophonous ticking of female biological clocks, the sterile and ingratiating greetings of the people at the door… it’s a last stand against the encroaching wave of secularism–a breeding ground for the last generation of naive and idealistic evangelical children.

The pastor, a lawyer with a deep and soothing voice (that makes you wish you at least had a pastor with a deep and soothing voice back when you were in the habit of listening to pastors) spoke of the “existential” tension we feel as we resist the truth, the Truth, that we do not choose God. He chooses us. One of the pretty young things put up her hand.

“Why didn’t God just pick everyone?”

A palpable silence filled the room.

“That’s a good question… I… I don’t know,” said the pastor, diffidently. The silence returned.