THE ATHEIST - EPISODE THREE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
My third grade Religious Studies teacher was such a contradiction. She was the least pious or humble person you'd ever meet. Even as children we could tell that she didn't quite agree with herself. I guess it made it harder for her to teach us about religion.
"It doesn't make sense, ma... That's all I'm saying."
That was my friend, Robert. He was the leader of the cool kids, and I was fortunate to be counted among them. He was quite outspoken and called bullshit on a lot of Mrs Brian's teachings. He was actually the one who got me thinking that I shouldn't believe everything I was being taught about anything. I had much respect for him and his opinions.
"What doesn't make sense?" Mrs Brian replied, clearly irritated.
"This two by two of every creature in the ark. Do you know how many different species of animals there are? And even the sizes? And how did they even survive six months in that ark without eating each other?! It's just so...dumb!"
To that, a chorus of laughter erupted through the classroom, with a few of the cool kids and wannabes rising to give Robert high fives. Mrs Brian looked frustrated and confused herself, not quite knowing how to defend her theology. I pitied her, because I saw someone who bought something as golden that she'd never understood nor questioned before. Otherwise, she should have been able to respond to Robert, I figured. And I also realised that up til that point, I'd been the same.
With my parents being zealous Pentecostals, I had grown up hearing these same teachings that I had never really questioned. They were always so sure. But today, something broke. I saw a crack in the picture I'd been sold and everything became questionable.
Robert leaned over and nudged me, smiling about all the praise he'd received from others for his defiance, and I gave him the nod and smile. But inside I was torn. If the Bible was wrong about this, did that mean we didn't need to obey the Ten Commandments either...?
"This was the turning point in your Faith journey," Samuel said, helping me to make sense of the significance of this particular scene.
The school bell rang, and all the kids hastily carried their school bags and exited the classroom, leaving Mrs Brian deep in thought. I was the last to leave the classroom today. I watched as I went to her.
"Hi, ma," I said.
"I was wondering... Apart from the Bible, is there anything else to support the story of Noah and the Ark?"
"You also do not believe?"
"I thought you were teaching us fact not simply faith... If it's about believing, I don't know what to believe. But if it's true and can be proven, then I guess no one can deny it..."
"Well, unfortunately, not everything can be proven. Some things must be received by faith. And I believe in God's word."
And there ended our discussion. God's word. That became the end of every argument I had with a Christian or any religious person who believed their religious book was the absolute word of God.
"Why must every religious argument end with that?" I turned to Samuel to ask.
"Because that is how they have received their knowledge and understanding. It is also how religion and tradition is preserved."
"But what about science and discovery? We've got textbooks that contradict these holy books, and yet, the holy books are given greater respect and authority. It doesn't make sense."
"What has that got to do with anything?"
"The formula says that energy of any matter can be calculated as the mass times the speed of light multiplied by itself. They are two different ways of representing the same thing. The spiritual understand E, the energy, being the bigger picture. The scientific understand the same when simplified in parts, which are your discoveries in science. To the spiritual, your discoveries are incomplete, which is why you still do not get E when you add the pieces together. Until your formula is accurate, and you have all the pieces of knowledge that make E, your equation will not balance. So, science explains many things, but is incomplete knowledge. The holy books provide answers to the bigger picture holistically, circumventing science."
"What??!" I looked at Samuel, dumbfounded.
It sort of made sense. Well, I guess he was the evidence I needed in accepting that there is life after death. I should be more open to the existence of God and hell now, but I still don't understand. There are still so many things that don't add up for me.
"But even the books disagree with each other. Within the Bible are so many contradictions, that it's only a brainwashed puppet that will accept such writings as inspired, not to mention inerrant!"
"Perhaps you are missing the message. A letter is not perfect. But what of the message? If Lucy wrote you a letter, it wouldn't be perfect writing. There would probably be mistakes, but her message would be clear and beautiful to you, especially because you know her intimately. The significance of the Bible is the message, not the book itself. Again, you are missing the bigger picture...straining at gnats and swallowing camels, as the Messiah said."
"Okay, this Noah and the Ark story... You expect me to believe it is true?"
And then he threw his head back and laughed. It is so strange. I didn't know he had it in him. He has been so...pious and regal. And now, he was laughing like a father laughing at his kid who just said the funniest thing! But I wasn't finding it funny.
"What's so funny?!"
"You do not play fair. There's some cognitive dissonance going on with you people." He kept on laughing and actually wiped away tears. I never knew angels could cry. Well, I didn't believe in angels, but I'd never been given any impression that they had real bodily fluids.
"You find it hard to believe that God could preserve His creation in an Ark for many months, while you are able to accept that you, a very complex organism with billions of cells, unique prints, eye balls, hair strands, distinctive voice and DNA, were once a singular cell. And you think your transformation to this dynamic state is an accidental intelligence apart from God?! Again, you are straining at gnats while swallowing camels."
I just looked on at him, wondering what happened to my question. So, was his answer that God can do anything? Because God apparently made our complex unique biological beings? I guess if I can travel through time and have consciousness beyond death, anything is possible.
"With God, nothing is impossible." I almost forgot that he could read my thoughts. "Hmmm... There is more to see. It helps to open your mind. And heart. Are you ready?"
"Got nowhere else to go..." I said, with a small smile. This was getting interesting.
To be continued...
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