Here’s a common complaint from Christians: death is largely avoided in our culture. People are uncomfortable with it, because they have no hope of heaven. Enter Christianity. Christians can face death without fear, because they have confidence in resurrection. They know that death isn’t the end, that they’ll see their loved ones again, that in heaven they will experience the presence of God which is far better than life. They will live “forever and ever”. Have I got it right?
I used to believe those things too, and they comforted me. It made death easier to fathom, easier to think about. But isn’t it just a big mind game? Christians in no way accept the reality of death, which is that death is actually the end. (more…)
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My favorite deconversion stories are of people who were known for their faith while they were still Christians, and earnestly and honestly struggle away from true belief, because that’s the kind of story I identify with. I’ve been reading about the recent de-conversion of Jonathan Edwards, a British triple-jumper and Olympic gold medalist. I’d never heard of him before this week (I don’t even know what triple-jumping is), but apparently he was quite famous for being a Christian during his athletic career. The link is to a Times Online interview with him (‘I have never been happier’ says the man who won gold but lost God).
Some choice quotes from the interview:
The upheaval of recent months has not left Edwards emotionally scarred, at least not visibly. “I am not unhappy about the fact that there might not be a God,” he says. “I don’t feel that my life has a big, gaping hole in it. In some ways I feel more human than I ever have. There is more reality in my existence than when I was full-on as a believer. It is a completely different world to the one I inhabited for 37 years, so there are feelings of unfamiliarity.
“The only inner problem that I face now is a philosophical one,” Edwards says. “If there is no God, does that mean that life has no purpose? Does it mean that personal existence ends at death? They are thoughts that do my head in. One thing that I can say, however, is that even if I am unable to discover some fundamental purpose to life, this will not give me a reason to return to Christianity. Just because something is unpalatable does not mean that it is not true.”
Well said. Although I personally don’t really have a problem with the idea that existence ends at death, or that life has no previously imbued purpose.
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