LAST WEEK'S EXCERPT
TODAY I CONTINUE EXCERPTING FROM HOLLY ORDWAY'S AMAZING RATIONAL JOURNEY FROM HATING and disparaging Christianity to embracing the faith she had long-since decided was make-believe for fools and the uneducated, superstitious underclass. This journey took Holly from self-righteous elitism to shocked humility as pieces of the puzzle began to slowly fall into a new reality crumbling her old atheistic worldview.
I plan to continue using this book through Lent and Easter. In many ways, Holly's story is similar to mine, though I came to Christ at a much later age than she. But still I was repulsed by much that I saw of the emotionalism and hypocrisy in Christianity. What I've come to realize is that God had me, as he did Holly, in His Sights all along and never once had any intention of letting me go, though it was a long and twisted path. He finally brings people, places and situations into our lives that are more compelling to us and begin to break through our pre-conceived defenses and hostilities.
I'D SEEN people handing out pamphlets and telling people "Jesus loves you!" or holding up signs at football games that said "John 3:16," (16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.) which baffled me entirely. I only knew the word evangelist in the form of "tel-evangelist" which I heard about on TV when one or another of them got into some pathetic scandal. I didn't know anything about Christianity, but why bother learning?
In my twenties, my unreflective atheism gradually hardened into strident hostility. I spent two years of my graduate education in the South, where I was unhappy, in part because of culture shock--as a born and bred Yankee.....My exposure to Christianity increased, but in forms that repelled me. A preacher would regularly come into the student quad during the lunch hour and rant about hellfire and damnation---at which point I would flee and eat my sandwich in depressed solitude in my library carrel. When approached and asked if I was 'saved' I quickly responded, 'NO! And I don't want to be!' half-ashamed, half proud of being rude.
I went back north for my doctorate, back to a safe and comfortable place. My dreadlocked, Birkenstock-wearing neighbors might smoke pot, burn incense and enthuse about crystal vibrations, I could be assured that nobody took faith, you know, seriously.
Though I knew next to nothing about Christianity, and cared less, I began to mock Christians and belittle their faith, their intelligence, their character.
At thirty-one, I was an atheist college professor and I delighted in thinking of myself that way. I got a kick out of being an unbeliever; it was fun to consider myself superior to the unenlightened, superstitious masses, and to make snide comments about Christians.
What does it mean to arrive at that point in life totally without faith? Above all, it meant that I was not interested in searching for God. Consider this analogy: imagine tomorrow you become color-blind. Even if you decided not to seek help to regain your color vision, you would be aware that such a thing as 'color' existed. Consider me as one born color-blind and never having seen color, I wouldn't/couldn't know what I was missing.
Such was my life as an atheist. Before I knew Christ, I see my life in shades of gray. I thought at the time that my emptiness was fullness, that my shadows were light. I denied any and all need for God in my life.
My problem could not be solved by hearing a preacher asserting that Jesus loved me and wanted to save me. I didn't believe in God to begin with, and thought the Bible was a collection of folktales and myths, just like the stories I'd read of Zeus and Thor, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Why should I take time to read the Bible, much less believe and imaginary God had a real Son.
And since I didn't believe I had an immortal soul, I wasn't in the least interested in its purported destination after I died.... No God, no afterlife, no hell....no reason to discuss that matter further.
----Holly Ordway, Not God's Type