Thursday, April 13, 2006

Caricatures No More-2

The next blow to my caricature of Christians came when I began to occasionally attend church.

I expected the preachers to be clownish types, attempting to pick my pocket with combination of guilt, bribes or threats of hell. Instead, they generally left me alone. I was impressed by their commitments, but I was most impressed by the persons whom these preachers served.

It has almost become a cultural cliche for some to speak of "Sunday morning" Christians, i.e., those who go to church on Sunday mornings and sit piously smiling at every word the preacher says, and who then run home to yell at their children and kick their dogs. I have never really run into such people in the churches I have attended. Most of the people at met at the time I am discussing, when my faith in atheism was faltering and my caricature of believers was melting, were just decent people. Most such people I meet nowadays can be described this way as well.

Decent people who sometimes had doubts about their faith.

If you ever get a chance to talk to a Rand follower (i.e., an Objectivist), ask him is he has any doubts. My guess is you will hear that he has none. Then ask him how an Objectivist society would finance the world's strongest and most needed military--in an age where mass murderers fly airplanes into skyscrapers-- without taxes, because, you see, Objectivists consider taxes to be immoral. You will hear crickets chirping, or, if you get an answer at all, you hear something akin to a punt to the "legal philosophers," or vague references about a lottery.

Christians punt once in a while too, and I learned that the honest ones sometimes have their doubts. The fact is that everybody punts once in awhile. And everybody should be willing to admit the occasional doubt. That, as I have mentioned before, is part of the drill.