I must give credit to Luke at Sonlight for bringing this item to my attention.
Jared Coleman, former leader of a small Christian house church, is now an agnostic. You can read the story of how he lost his faith here.
I'm fascinated by his story for two reasons.
Firstly, he says that he woke up one day and realized that his life would not change in any practical way if God did not exist.
Yes, if you have compartmentalized God to the tiny areas of your life that aren't already full, as Jared freely admits, then your life will not change in any practical way by eliminating God completely. So go ahead, Jared, lose your faith. Because guess what? If it made no practical difference in your life, it made no practical difference in anyone else's life either.
Secondly, he also acknowledges that he stopped reading the Bible, and even better, that he adopted a widespread cultural belief that will destroy anyone's faith in about two seconds.
JARED: I believe that people have a right to be happy. I was floored. I never imagined that I would feel that way. Still, I was happy to be able to be honest with myself and to know that I was not getting my sense of morality or ethics from the Bible.
Really? We have a right to be happy? Is that the same right that entitles people to spend money they don't have? To kill their spouses because they are getting in the way of their happiness?
I don't usually laugh at statements of life philosophy, but "we have a right to be happy" is one of the more ludicrous ones.
Let's see how often the universe agrees with you on your right to be happy.
Just curious, Jared: do you have more of a right to happiness than the average person in Rwanda? And, if not, then do you have a responsibility to try to give some of your happiness to them, since happiness is a human right? Or is it just tough luck that you happen to be born rich and free and more capable of securing your "happiness" than the average child prostitute in the slums of India?
Only in a country as wealthy and safe as ours can people believe that a philosophy of personal happiness is a valid substitute for God.
It's enough to inspire me to write a satire about what happens to all these "I have a right to be happy" people when times start to get really tough.
What I hope is that most of them will come to their senses and find true joy that doesn't change, no matter how bad things get. "Happiness" is illusory. Joy is real.