Sunday, January 3, 2016

To All Atheists, Agnostics, and Nonbelievers

 
 
 
Hi. My name's Avery. I'm a Christian, and I hope you read this through rather than strike your back button.

I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that the only reason why I'm here, writing this post, is because of His Grace.  I understand that this is not a belief shared by everyone. I'm not here to change your mind.

In fact, I'd like to take this moment to apologize to you.
I'm serious.
I'm sorry for how we have treated all of you so far. We have been mean, cruel, judgmental, and, well, I'll just say it. We've been assholes, almost all of us.
 
A lot of us, and I've been guilty of this, are so narrow-minded when it comes to our faith that we refuse to even acknowledge the remote possibility that any aspect of something we hold most dear could be wrong. Most of us don't handle challenge well. This is when we start condemning and saying yergoin ta hail and all that shit.

Before I go any further, I'd like to take a moment to ask all Christians to please stop telling people that they're going to hell.

Please, seriously, we should all stop doing that. We don't know who's going to hell. I don't know. The guy next to me doesn't know. None of us know. We have our beliefs, sure, but none of us actually know who God plans on sending to hell, so we should really stop saying that. It's doing us more harm than good and to be honest, we just look stupid saying it.

I don't blame you for hating us. We've brought a lot of that animosity on ourselves. So many of you actually summoned the courage to come to us with questions and when we could not answer them, or worse, challenged what we had to say, we turned into children and pushed you away.

Again, and I cannot stress it enough, I am sorry for how we have behaved, and how we have treated you. For the most part, we have been poor examples of what God wants us to be.

People have asked me, on numerous occasions, how I can have the attitude I do, or, and I quote, walk as though the world belongs to me. Plain and simple, I believe that I am saved. I know that I screw up every single day and will continue to do so until the day He calls me home, and He chooses to love me anyway. That is tremendously refreshing and invigorating. To know that everything I endured; homelessness, abuse, violence, loss, was to turn me into the man I am today. I know He has a plan for me and I trust it without question.

That is my journey with God. It's not everyone else's. It's not even something I advise. It's just how He works with me.

Everyone's journey through faith is a personal one, one only they can walk. As Christians, we tend to believe we have all the answers for everyone else, and well, that's just not true.

So when people come to me with questions, I do my best to answer them but admit I don't have all the answers myself. If I don't have an answer, I will say so. I confess that I see how God tries to reach so very many people and they refuse to answer, choosing anger instead. I don't condemn those people. I don't pray for their souls because I don't think they're goin ta hail. I pray they find peace in this life.

So as a Christian, in the coming year I will do my best to be better to my fellow man. I will try (and fail, I'm sure, at times) to set an example and answer anything I'm asked as best as I can. I will do my very best to do as my Lord did before me, which is to make those in my life loved and welcomed, regardless of their beliefs.

I will do that because that is what God taught me, and He allowed me to live to write this post and everything else I will write.

Thanks for reading and have a great year.

2 comments:

David said...

The fact is that we know very little, except what we have been told, and we assume that it is all the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But what if it isn't? What if it is simply what God has chosen to reveal to us, and that's His choice. And what if he has chosen to reveal (or not to reveal) different things to different people? Just as I choose to reveal different things to my different children? I believe in Jesus, but what if God didn't choose for everybody to connect to him that way?

Avery Tingle said...

David, I thought about this long and hard before replying, because I wanted to be sure I was doing so correctly. I completely agree with everything you've said, and I find the myriad of ways God chooses to work with us fascinating. I do often wonder about those He chooses not to reveal Himself too. I wonder why He chooses this, but I certainly don't believe those people are damned or cursed or anything. Everything happens as He sees fit, and maybe it's just not meant for us to know.

Doesn't mean it's not fun to speculate, though. :-)