My faith is endangered, not by external influence. I can talk to atheists all day and they seem harmless to me. It may sound vain, but at times I feel like David slinging pebbles at an onslought of silly Goliaths. I'm rarely challenged anymore, but it does happen. A young man named Mark Wittberger runs a discussion forum, is in his late 30s, a seemingly committed materialist and atheist, and he and I clashed, and I was impressed by his cleverness; but even more impressed by the fact that he was a better gentleman than I. I quit his discussion group but went back due to his invitation. A very bright, very sharp man he is, but he is completely blind to God.
Like I said, my faith is precarious at this time. I find myself in conflict, and unable to reconcile two disparate parts of my being: the reasoning mind that won't stop questioning, doubting, finding fault with Scripture, with the way people of faith have wrought havoc and bloody destruction in the world, the 40 some thousand denominations of Christianity, the utter confusion, contradiction, and sheer terror the so-called followers of Christ have brought upon every generation, up to this day; but there is also my heart, that tells me something different, that informs me that our capacity for ethical thought and moral behavior cannot be explained by science, that we are miniscule and ephemeral reflections of our Maker, a Being of such magnificence and magnitude that the most enlightened among us would fall on their faces in astonishment if they were to comprehend even a tiny fraction of Him/Her/It [GOD].
I think I can understand what caused John Berryman to go and leap to his death in Minneapolis, Bill. If this conflict between my heart and mind continues at this kind of pitch for much longer, I won't be able to bear it. I can clutch my cross in one moment in prayer, and five minutes later be convicted in my mind that the Bible is just the work of very bright men, very smart, all-too-human brains, and that all religions are the result of our fundamental need for devotion, the expression of gratitude for consciousness and life in this cosmos, the collective realization among intelligent men that no social order can function without an ultimate authority, a top dog: GOD.
The materialists call it objective values, or objective morality. The religious call it God, by a thousand names.
I will never lose my devotion to Christ, my Lord, and to God, the Father of fathers, my Maker. But, ultimately, that might not help me much. It didn't help John.
ps: I am NOT suggesting that I am going to kill myself. NO. I have two sons I want to see grow into men. I am simply giving you the "straight dope." - PM to Bill Carpenter at