Recently an atheist attempted to turn the Manchester bombing into an attack on “religion”. The attempted argument was so weak in so many ways I never bothered to reply. Why should I? I am not “religious”. I am a Christian. As defined to me once – religion is what man can do for God whereas Christianity is what the one true God wrought in Christ for mankind. Long ago, this became my take on this issue. Don't look to me to try to “save” you or anyone else for that matter. Salvation is of God via his only begotten Son and my Lord Jesus the Messiah. Nor will I attempt to “fix” your relationship with my Heavenly Father or my Lord and Savior Jesus. I am not a spiritual social worker. I am a simple Christian with my own sins and faults and issues. Religion is another thing altogether.
Throughout the centuries man has seen many religions. Men have worshiped everything from rocks fallen from the sky to snakes and calves. Men have worshiped other men and women, both real and imagined. Men have worshiped the sun and the stars and the earth. Men have worshiped rulers and governments. You name it, someone has likely built a shrine to it. Most will insist only their object of worship is true. I know I do. I also know we cannot all be right. Thus, I, like any other serious practitioner of my faith can fall into the trap of smug certainty. After all, I would not be a Christian if I weren't convinced I was on the correct path. I am quite sure a Buddhist, a Hindu or a Muslim would feel the same. Thus the we are sure to feel to some extent that all others are just plain wrong. Unless, of course your beliefs run along the line of the Unitarians who seem to believe that any superior being (s) doesn't care what anyone believes – its all good. Good luck with that. There is at least one conclusion the is obvious to me (and likely to everyone else as I consider myself a “master” of all that is obvious.) and that is humans seem to gravitate towards the idea of something greater than themselves.
This one concept spans all societies throughout history. We seem to have some innate need to “look up” to something greater than ourselves. I'd like to say this need is undeniable but let's face facts: anyone can deny anything at anytime so that theory is out the window. On the other hand it seems obvious to me this idea should be very hard to deny logically, the evidence is scattered all over the planet and throughout history. Even those who deny the existence of any god, gods or spirits will find it hard to blow off the idea of men invoking leaders to replace more esoteric superior beings. Again, it is in our nature to seek authority – a higher power, even if we must choose such from among our members.
There is a more subtle thread running through all of this and that thread is a means to control. Whether you care to consider control as a side issue, a parallel one or something altogether different, the concept repeats itself in every instance. In a sense, worship is an attempt to control one's god. Consider the cliché of someone who in desperate need turns to some unknown being and begs for help and in return they will do xxx. Such a bargain is an attempt to control some vague idea of a higher power – to bend the will of some being in exchange for some future “service”. We have all witnessed some form of grand scheme (yet another cliché) to appease “the gods” by sacrificing a virgin. Again, the idea behind such a sacrifice is somewhere along the lines of “the gods are angry and we must appease them.” And again, the worshipers know the gods are angry because something is not going their way. Control. We do this and the gods will perform thusly. How convenient. What does anything have to do with an arrogant atheist? Just about everything.
Long ago there was this atheist who had it all figured out. He had no problem telling anyone who would listen so. There were no god, gods or spirits. Man was the ultimate being, though he could not reject the possibility of superior intelligence on distant planets. And since this man, considered himself to be of above average intelligence AND having deduced what most others had not, he essentially transformed himself into a god of sorts. Not that he thought himself as a god – he didn't believe in such nonsense. But, extending his own logic... isn't a “god” a superior being? If mankind is superior to everything else on the planet, wouldn't man be by default a “god” to all lower beings? We certainly act as if we are. We do what we want, take what we want and for all practical purposes dominate the earth. For any atheists reading this and railing against me for presuming what this guy was thinking – bug off. I was that guy. While the path leading me to the God and Father of my Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah was different than most, I can assure you logic played a massive part in my life. It still does. Granted, I am not “schooled” in logic. I cannot tell you what this or that argument is called. Some of my “logical thinking” is likely faulty. Even so, when faced with a choice between something that makes sense and something that does not, I'll choose the sensible conclusion every time. This is one reason that while I am a Christian, I have not ever “joined a church”.
This does not mean I do not recognize any Christian leaders, however I have yet to see a single one heading a major organization. Today's GOVERNMENT control of churches via tax and other laws virtually guarantees such organizations will eventually be corrupted. How? The very same way secular organizations become corrupted – voting and money. While this topic is fodder for another time, I'll leave it by suggesting that a true man of God is often called upon to speak truths the populace does not want to hear. Do this enough and the congregation will either accept and submit or reject and rebel. And since modern churches are controlled by men and not by God, the tendency is to drift towards someone who will soothe the ears rather than irritate to soul. Back to our arrogant atheist...
As I said, I was once an atheist so I can claim some inkling of what such a position is like. While atheists themselves are as varied as any group, the one common thread is, of course, a rejection of the idea of a superior being – at least one who created the universe we live in. So where does that leave the atheist? Unless one looks to the stars, the only reasonable assumption is man must therefore be the superior being on the planet. This assumption essentially makes man a god. If this concept was presented to my atheistic mind, I would have rejected it outright – no question. Why? Because I did not believe in ANY god, gods or spirits, thus accepting man as a god would be to accept a god. This would have presented quite a quandary because I would still have to admit that man was the obvious superior being. What about life from other planets? That idea hurts once I put it into this framework. What IF a being presented itself with superior abilities? Would I worship it? Would the being demand worship? What if it made such demands? What would I do? What could I do? That is a tough one. What about men/women smarter, tougher, and/or more aggressive than I? What if they rose up to demand worship under penalty of death? You realize this sort of thing actually happened in history? Right? As a Christian, I would reject all such nonsense. As an atheist, I would also reject it. But what about others?
Once again we find ourselves returning to the beginning. Mankind yearns to worship something. While some or many may reject the idea, a great many more will embrace it. Whether you accept a thing or not does not in any way change the veracity of the thing. A lie is a lie and a truth is a truth. There is nothing you or I can do will change that fact.
Concerning those who believe in a god and those who do not, one side or the other is mistaken. As for myself, it is apparent that not only are non-believers mistaken, but also those who reject the One True God and His only begotten Son, Jesus the Messiah. What if I am wrong? Well I could either die and that would be the end of me or I could find myself facing a god I do not know. No matter what choice I make, I would end up with the very same dilemma. After careful consideration over the past several decades, I am happy with the choice I made so many years ago. I've experienced many instances over the years both large and small confirming my belief. Even if the future proves I've been played a fool, I have no regrets whatsoever.