Commitment-Phobe: A step of faith
It’s kind of scary. You start off thinking you’ll have an adventure, but you can back out the minute things get tricky. So last summer, when I decided to give up atheism and find God through visits to randomly-picked churches, I decided to write about it so I couldn’t just back out. Now, here I am, wanting to back out. Why? Because I’m catching religion and I am starting to think about some very big things, which frankly I am not used to.
Heaven – it’s The Good News, right? Being brought up an atheist, I’m as scared of dying as the next person. As an atheist, there is no hereafter; there is the end of consciousness, and that is it. I know that freaks a lot of people out, but I don’t think it does me. I am terrified of pain and illness, but “That is it,” I think I can handle. When it comes to someone else though, someone I love – heaven all the way, please. Maybe that’s because death means more to the survivors, or because I fool myself into thinking it’s a long way off for me.
But, if there is a heaven, then there is a hell, right? Less comforting. Did Jesus close the doors to hell, or was that only for faithful believers or the righteous?
Rather than make another church visit this month, I am very slowly working my way through the New Testament, to find out the answer to these questions. I am reading a version called The Message, which uses contemporary speech rhythms and slang to convey the words of the Gospels. It should make it a quick read, but this isn’t the case, as I find myself stopping at every other paragraph to ponder and reflect upon a saying or idea. There is so much to chew on and I love it…
This is an extract from the May 2014 edition of Reform.