In response to A holiday message from Ricky Gervais: Why I’m an Atheist
“Why do you believe in God?” Unlike the popular comedian, Ricky Gervais, I don’t get asked that a lot. Nor do I have the public forum in which to share my views on my beliefs. Yet, his article only reinforces and articulates the very perspective which people will never understand, including Christians, about why they believe in God. What Mr. Gervais has to say, has all been said before, by atheists from my friends to those in the public eye. It’s nothing new, he just articulates it quite well.
In the end, no argument for faith or atheism, will amount to much. The perspectives are simply too different. Atheism is driven by a logical, rational search for truth where belief is based upon facts proven through solid scientific endeavours (which leaves me wondering, how do you believe in a theory of evolution? Or, for that matter, gravity.) Faith is driven by a search for a solution to humanity’s emptiness and brokenness.
I take my hat off to the serious atheist, for the search for truth is a noble pursuit. However, for the atheist who only stands to abuse religion for all its faults, its historical human disasters, and their personal rejection and pain caused by people brainwashed by religious dogma—I’m sorry. Yet, it is for all its faults, historical failures, and pain caused by the stupidity, greed, arrogance of humanity which drives me further into my faith.
You might be asking, “How the heck can you still believe in God after everything the Church has done (and continues to do)?” My simply answer is because it has nothing to do with God. Much like many atheists, as Mr. Gervais says, “It’s when belief starts infringing on other people’s rights when it worries me.” When acts of murder, judgment, and punishment are carried out n the name of God, I cringe. Yet, these actions are not reflections of the God I know and believe.
So, why do I believe in God, Mr. Gervais? I believe in God, I am a Christian because I recognise how screwed up I am. I recognise that I have the capacity, just like any other person I know, to seriously turn on my family, friends, and people around me; I recognise that there is something seriously wrong with humanity and nothing that we’ve done since day 1 (whether your a Creationist or Evolutionist) has changed us for the better; I recognise that I needed something greater than humanity’s efforts to give me reason to live, not just a reason to exist.
As for our reasons for living, Mr. Gervais lists many of which I would share: truth, science, nature, the real beauty of this world, imagination, free will, love, humour, fun, music, sports, beer and pizza; but, for the true Christian, these are mere bonuses to what gives us reason for living. Even, the proposition of “believe in me and live forever.”
The true gift is to wake up each morning and know that I no longer need to worry about dealing with the emptiness and brokenness of humanity, that is more than enough for me. It is for this reason why I believe, why I live, why I wake each morning to share this gift with all who would listen. The world will still have its illnesses, pollution, human evils, and the like, but that’s another topic for another day.
Mr. Gervais ends with by pointing out “where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. ‘Do this or you’ll burn in hell.'” So I and many an atheist would agree with the apostle Paul:
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hoped in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. (1 Corinthians 15:17-19)