A recent commenter stated:
Second, you mention in one post that you care about the journey, not the destination, of your readers. If the destination for all of us is only death, I can’t think of anything more depressing, anything less motivating for caring about the journey. Who gives a flip about the journey if the end is death? The journey for all of us is full of pain and suffering, in one way or another. If death is the only end for all of us, I’d rather end it right now. The last person I would trust to help me on my journey is a preacher of a hopeless death.
Over the years, countless Christians have said to me that if they believed that this life is all there is that they would kill themselves. Of course, this is little more than hyperbole since I seriously doubt people like this commenter would actually kill themselves just because they are disappointed there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
The above mentioned comment reveals a view held by many Christians, that life is filled with pain and suffering and our journey is one long test of endurance. For Christians who think like this, the only reason for enduring life is that there is a divine payoff after death.
I know a good bit about pain and suffering. Long time readers know well my story and the health problems I have. Yet, I would never say that my journey is all about pain and suffering. Yes, I wish I didn’t have to live with pervasive, chronic, unrelenting pain. But, the pain is not the sum of my life. If it was, I would be the first to say that it is time for me to hop on the long black train.
I have everything to live for. A wonderful wife, six awesome children, and nine grandchildren. Need I say more about why, whatever pain I suffer on my journey to the grave, is worth it? There is so much to live for and I don’t need the promise of a divine payoff to make my life worth living. I don’t need a God for my life to have meaning, purpose, and direction.
Many Christians have a hard time understanding people like me. They can not envision a life without God. Their life revolves around God, Jesus, the Bible, and the church. I totally understand where they are coming from. For most of my life, I thought the same way.
When I first deconverted, I was lost for a time. This is a common problem for people who were once deeply immersed in Christianity. Once God, the church, and the Bible no longer had any authority over my life, I was forced to determine for myself how I wanted to live my life. In humanism I found purpose, meaning and direction. Since this life is the ONLY life I have, I have EVERYTHING to live for.
The above mentioned commenter thinks my life is hopeless. Without a promise of life after death and eternity in heaven, what is there to live for? Atheists live such a hopeless life, or so many Christians think. Let me close out this post with some of my hopes:
- I hope my family lives long, prosperous, peaceful lives.
- I hope my grandson grows up to play baseball for the Cincinnati Reds so I can watch him play.
- I hope at least one of my granddaughters becomes a scientist.
- I hope the Cincinnati Reds win the World Series and the Cincinnati Bengals win the Super Bowl.
- I hope that someday all the weapons of violence in the world will be destroyed.
- I hope that my wife and I will grow old together and that we will continue to have a blessed life.
- I hope to travel to many of the places on my bucket list.
- I hope we will end income inequality in America.
- I hope we will pass immigration reform, allowing millions of hard-working people to become US citizens.
- I hope scientists will find cures for many of the diseases that kill us.
- I hope we will figure out a way to control world population and in doing so make sure that every human has enough food to eat and clean water to drink.
- I hope Americans will begin to take the threat of global climate change seriously.
- I hope I win or inherit a few million dollars so I can have one awesome party and buy a house for each of my children.
- I hope to someday get my book done and publish it.
- I hope to take a photograph that is published in National Geographic or a photography magazine.
- I hope to master Photoshop.
- I hope all my internet friends live long, happy, prosperous lives. For those of them that live with pain and disability like I do, I hope that they find purpose, meaning, and happiness, despite their suffering.
- I hope Bernie Sanders is the next president.
And for today? I hope that the Cincinnati Reds continue to pound the Pittsburgh Pirates and end up in first place at the All Star break. Most of all, as Polly and I go out tonight to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary, I hope we have a wonderful time. (anniversary is on the 15th) I hope both of us will reflect on how our marriage has prospered and endured despite of us. And I hope that maybe, just maybe, if I am not too tired when we get home that we might…………….