Hope and Faith = Belief
So, despite my feeling off, I am spending most of my time reading blogs, social media, and other articles that I happen to find as I browse the Internet today. I enjoy reading for the most part, but sometimes I get rankled, and well, I don’t really like to get my ire worked up early on in the day. Yesterday, my hackles were charged up due to a post regarding Pew Research’s findings that 63 out of 100 people in America (if America only had 100 people) considered themselves to be religious. I thought the study was interesting, but the comments were horrid, absolutely horrid. Most were from atheists who delighted in stating that all people of faith (all, not just Christians, but every single person who claims faith in a higher being or some spiritual purpose) are looney. The vitriol was difficult to take, and for a time, I was really upset by the fact that so many people of non-faith (no faith, no belief system) had such hatred for people who do. I mean, it was like unless you were a completely rational and logical person (which presumes you can have no belief system outside of science), you were ignorant, stupid, and plain crazy. One poster suggested all people of faith be locked up as insane. I thought it was amazing that these people could be so violent in their expression — really what social media calls “haters” — simply because of the fact that not everyone agrees with their views on life, the origins of life, and the possibility of something greater, bigger, and unknowable existing outside their worldview and perspective.
What Life Looks Like Without Hope
The turning point in my understanding came to me when I realized that these people (and most on the site were clearly atheist) were so hostile to people who believed differently, who held a different worldview. They were intolerant of anyone who thought differently or saw the world differently. And, rather than accept the fact that there is much in this world that is presently unknown, they assumed that all things are knowable, and that somehow their rationality makes them more intelligent and knowledgeable than anyone else. The arrogance was amazing to me because they refused to accept the fact that some people were actually smarter than they were. More so, the real fact that was apparent by their rant was that they believed, they trusted in, they placed their faith, in something just as surely as the people they were railing against. Yep, these so called non-believers were believers in science and rationalism, and as such, they were adherents to a faith-based system as clearly as the Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Pagans, and Christians they maligned.
It took me a while to come to this understanding, and after my ire and hackles settled back down, I moved on to a place of sorrow and sadness for these people. You see, from the tone of their comments, the language they used, the way they spoke against other people not like them, what became clear to me was the fact that most atheists (the vocal ones I witnessed) were really sad people. Sad, lonely, and lost people. These people were the adult version of the bully on the playground, the child who breaks every balloon just to steal the joy from another child on his or her birthday. Yes, these folks were bent on causing pain, suffering, and sorrow — stealing joy — from others who had found a way of life that brought them happiness and peace. In short, the atheists on this website were sore losers, people upset and not wanting anyone else to be happy in life. It was pretty clear to me that the most hateful comments came from people who simply hated life — and everyone and everything in it. Yes, they were haters of everything good in the world, and they made sure that anyone who seemed to enjoy life was centered and fired upon as the target of their anger, hatred, and pessimistic worldview. It was really sad once I came to terms with it. I saw the horror in these peoples words — a life with no hope — a life with a hard stop at the end of it. They were the exact reflection of Thomas Hobbs famous quote:
“No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” (Hobbes from Leviathan)
My heart breaks for people who despite their own choice in hard living, demand the same from everyone else. No Pollyanna’s allowed in the door; no idealists are permitted. The life of the atheist is hard, precise, and unforgiving. There is no hope, no future pleasure, just hard, difficult, and dark living.
Plans for Today
At present, my plans include grading final portfolio for my class at ASU. I am not sure if I will be assigned to teach in session B this summer or not. This class doesn’t begin until midweek, and I may not even know if I will be assigned until the weekend. It really depends on attendance, and whether or not they need extra instructors. I am OK with either end because I have my two classes at Regent gearing up, and well, the slower pace is a blessing to me. But, should the Lord will it, I will gladly teach a second session this summer. I do enjoy the money, and the extra income will be a blessing as we turn into the middle part of the off-season. Yes, a little extra oomph in my income would be a sweet provision, should the Lord choose to provide it to me.
On other good news, one of my colleagues just received word that he has been hired full-time to teach at Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL. I can count two colleagues now that have received job offers from this AG school. I am very happy for him, as this position is definitely a boost up and confirmation of his hard work toward his PhD. I am thankful that God is rewarding my faithful colleagues with good practical work, but also with the provision of a new life that will be both rewarding and satisfying.
The funny thing is that both of my colleagues are not PhD’s yet. One is still in her 3rd year, and the other is ABD. Here I sit as a fully-formed PhD, and I have no work on the horizon. Part of me wonders if I need to switch denominations and join the AG ranks! I know, just kidding, but there seems to be something to it. I am thankful for what I have, which is enough, and for the provision the Lord has graciously given to me. In time, I will have my offer. I time, I will be promoted too. It is hard to see my friends and colleagues move up ahead of me, but I am choosing to celebrate with them because I know they would do the same thing for me. They would be the first to wish me well, and to cheer me on as I am promoted to Assistant Professor at the school of the Lord’s choosing.
So with that said, I close this blog post. My trusted friend, Winston, is lounging on my desk, making it really hard to do work. I am ready to get moving forward, in everything I mean, but I know that until the Lord does it, I have to wait. I have to be still. I have to sit still. He knows what is best for me, and I trust in His opinion, His counsel, and His wisdom.