This was written in response to an article about an ex-preacher who originally believed in a very conservative view of religion, then through a series of changes, became an atheist who remains a pinnacle of inspiration and support for his community.
I believe in God, and always have. Sociologists and psychologists say this is most likely because I grew up in a spiritual family, as well as personal situations. No matter what your reason for believing (or not as the case may be), it has been my experience that if you let your faith basis be determined or influenced by people who put it in “layman’s terms”, it increases the chance for these people to make jaded, often personal, opinions seem like fact. What seems like a simplified, loving, almost spiritual fact, is often a disguised attempt at a hidden agenda. For those of us who believe in the Christian Holy Bible (like it or not there are other bibles, so I differentiate) we are warned many times of this kind of control. This is why the one thing I think we can find in common with most religions, as well as anti-religions, is you must find your own way. It is a matter of satisfying your beliefs, then by association, you can help satisfy the beliefs of others. This way we can teach through example, and explain only to those who are ready to hear it. Forcing it will not help anyone, and it seems to me that if Jesus (once again, for those of us who believe) really is the Truth, then God would rather see you be honest about yourself than living an example that only promotes a facade. This is why personally, I applaud the ex-preacher. His way does not need to acknowledge a higher power, and yet he can still lead with a powerful example. And though it may seem the Christian Holy Bible tells us we must “accept” God, my reasoning is that if I had a son who refused me as his father, but was able to give to those who need, provide for his family, and even other families, and promote the better good for the rest of humankind, then I will be just as proud of him than if he did accept me. But don’t just take my word for it. Like I said, this is just my experience.