Something to Gain

Regarding the fact that more atheists tend to read Christian apology than vice versa, Nina commented,

There is no reward in keeping an open mind to atheism, whereas we atheists (I’m not including you here, I noted your rejection of that concept as well, though I don’t understand where that places you) are given plenty of incentives to open up to the possibility of a God. I would be curious whether you have talked about this with Poles? And if so, how have they reacted?

I’m not so sure that there isn’t a “reward in keeping an open mind to atheism.” I recall a sort of relief I felt when I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t believe in much of anything, perhaps something like the peace Christian converts say they feel when the “accept the Lord.”

Could it be that others might feel the same if they “let go” without the “and let God” addendum? Perhaps.

But I guess Nina is right — if someone really believes something, what does she stand to gain in doubting it, especially when it’s something beyond proof, like religious faith.

In rural southern Poland, the notion of being a non-believer seems to be virtually unimaginable. If the subject of religious belief comes up, I general start broad and wind my way down, from “I’m not a Catholic” eventually, if pressed, to “I don’t have any positive belief about any diety.” “I can’t imagine my life without God,” is a common reaction, and that is probably more ontologically true than the speaker imagines. It’s like imagining life without, say, breathing.

Religion — rather, Catholicism — is so deeply infused in the Polish highlander’s culture and worldview that it is as natural as a blue sky.

Sure — you can imagine the sky’s red, but what for?

One thought on “Something to Gain

  1. Yes, I thought so. That’s the way it was in Poland when I lived there, only cities weren’t much better. I swear that my boldness and audaciousness in life were born out of my decision one day when I was young to simply admit it at every turn: Nie wierze (I do not believe in God). Since then, shocking the audience no longer has much of an effect on me. In fact, more often than not, I am amused by the other’s discomfort. I myself do not have any.

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