I was on Facebook the other day (five times that day and every day since, damn addiction) and a friend had shared a picture from the I Fucking Love Atheism page. The picture was of a Bible (ha! Blogger so generously capitalized 'Bible' for me (it was actually Android that capitalized it, as I started this post on my phone and finished it on my desktop. Hmm, very interesting. Or not. Whatevs!)) and a Spiderman comic. Beneath the Bible is an arrow pointing to the book and a line of text that reads "proof that God exists" and beneath the comic the same arrow and text that says "proof that Spiderman exists". Above both it says "Your logic is flawed". Or something similar. I don't remember exactly, it was a couple of days ago and Blogger didn't like the picture format and I can't find the damn picture on the Internet.
Normally, I agree with the things on the I Fucking Love Atheism page. Not always, of course. And this is one of those times.
Before I gave up on religion, the belief in God, spirituality, the whole bag, I tried very hard to hold onto the things I had been taught were true as a child. I read the Bible. That did nothing to secure my beliefs, in fact it raised more doubts. I tried praying but felt increasingly silly. I spoke to various believers including Men of the Cloth.
I know there are zealots out there who believe the existence of a higher being is proved by every flower that ever grew, every animal that ever lived, every child ever born. But they're zealots and even their fellow believers often give them a wide berth. Then there are those that have never even thought about it and when you ask them, they repeat the well rehearsed script they've used since time out of mind and their father spouted and their eight-times-great-grandfather penned. Because they were all told to believe, the notion to question never occurred. Mix a little mean in with some of them and you end up with a very dangerous sort of individual. The sort that'll strap a bomb to his own chest and happily light the fuse in the midst of a crowd of stockbrokers. All the while believing he is right and just.
But they are few and far between. One bad apple and all that. It's unfortunate that all believers are painted with the same brush.
It's been my experience, in the circles that I travel, that modern believers believe the Bible to be nothing more than a book of fables meant to guide. Not the actual word of God. They accept it's a book written by man and is not without fault. In fact, I don't think anyone I know has ever offered the Bible as proof there is a God.
I think the answer most often given, the one that resonated most with me, is faith. There isn't anything on earth with the express purpose of proving there is a God. Believers don't need proof, they have faith. If their faith is ever questioned, they either resolve it within themselves or they don't. They don't need proof, they just believe. Against all odds, they do not doubt.
I don't know what the church's official position on the Bible is or whether they have one at all. I'm not overly concerned. I may not be nearly as well informed as I think I am. In fact, I may be way off my mark, the regular Joe may be very happy to point to proof around every corner for me. But the regular Joe is not the one I sought out for advice or an opinion. And the ones I did go to never felt it necessary to provide me with any proof or convince me of anything. I was simply told to have faith.
Sadly, it's something I just don't have. And yes, I do say "sadly". Religious folk seem genuinely at peace. Their faith that God has their back seems to relieve a good amount of tension. I know the arguments against faith, I have made many of them myself, but it doesn't change the envy I have for their apparent lack of inner turmoil.
I don't know if I've done a good job of making my point. Religion is such a touchy subject and I've tried not to tread on too many toes too hard because I appreciate how personal it is. I just didn't like the idea that anyone who believes is incapable of rational thought or applying logic. I found it offensive and felt the need to speak up despite my own beliefs. I'm sure I'll get raked over the coals and you know what? I don't mind at all. Perhaps I'll learn something.