Monday, July 06, 2009

God Wants Me For An Atheist

center Arrange the letters from Genesis 26:5 1...Image via Wikipedia
Here's a brief bit of autobiography for you. In 1997 Simon & Schuster released a book entitled the Bible Code by Michael Drosdin. This was a thorough analysis of the so-called ELS or Equidistant Letter Sequence as it applies to the Hebrew version of the Bible. Drosdin believed that looking for sequences of letters with uniform gaps in the Bible one could reveal hidden messages, and provided seemingly portentous examples such as references to the JFK assassinations. Quite why a Hebrew god several centuries ago would be quite so interested in the killing of a ruler of a country not yet formed is anyone's guess. Drosdin's belief is no more likely than a parent's belief that their child's record holds Satanic messages when played backwards.

When the book was released it was to fanfare and ridicule in equal measure, and I found myself stood in a bookshop staring at a display of hardbacks, wondering what kind of God would choose to communicate with his creation by way of wordsearch.

At that exact moment I felt as though I was in the embrace of something greater than myself; something warm, and welcoming, and confirmatory. I felt, at the time, as though I had been touched by God. Truly. I was moved to tears. For a long time, to think back to that moment would move me to tears.

And here I am some twelve years later in an odd place. The message, if message were to be had, in that embrace was that I, through inquisitiveness and rationality, had touched on something that told me I was headed in the right direction. And in that direction I have progressed until I stand before you Godless. I have certain esoteric views on the nature of the universe; they fall far outside the scope of this blog and it wouldn't do for me to go into too much detail about them. They're also wildly open to misinterpretation. However, in the main, I do not believe in God, despite that moment in the bookshop.

A religious friend of mine, when discussing the existence or otherwise of God, said to me "surely you want all of this to be for something; to have some kind of meaning?"

I replied that naturally I did, but wanting something, however deeply, doesn't bring that thing about. It's an odd bit of attempted logic that I've heard many believers employ, that their own needs take precedent over this accidental universe.

"But God has a plan for all of us," my religious friend continued.

"If that is so," I replied, "then the path he has chosen for me is that of an atheist."

Which is a puzzle, and possibly a cop-out, but as far as my own personal journey, it's the best I can do. It also span the logic round on my friend so quickly that he couldn't reply. God had a purpose for Judas, after all.

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