Thursday, April 08, 2010

The path to faith

As someone who grew up in the seventies when just about every 16 year old was hammering around on a 50cc sports moped at the earliest opportunity and then progressed onto a "proper" 125cc, 200cc or even 250cc motorbike as soon as they were seventeen I belong to a generation of modern day car drivers who understand what it is like to ride a motorcycle.

It's only when you've been a biker that you can understand how a biker rides and why - and know where and when to look out for them. I'm firmly of the belief that the single biggest thing we could do to reduce motorcycle accidents is not force every biker to go through more and more training - we should compel every car driver to take the CBT test as a minimum.

Such an idea would mean that every car driver would see road use from the perspective of a biker - and the roads would be safer for bikers as a result.

It's a similar thing with science. The best and most successful scientists are those whose approach to a problem contains a healthy dose of scepticism and who are not controlled by dogma. In other words they see things from all perspectives - not just any single one - and are far more able to make sound scientific judgements as a result.

I think the same thing applies to faith - particularly my faith, Christianity.

I was brought up as a Christian - not a strict, regular church-going Christian - just your average C of E Christian. I believed in God, Jesus and the Christian message, but I didn't really think about it that much.

As I got older I started to question my belief and, eventually, became an atheist. I won't go into details of why that was - let's just put it down to impetuous youth - or what I got up to (hedonistic would hardly cover it) - but I abandoned God, Jesus and The Bible.

Just as my loss of faith was not a momentary decision. my rediscovery of faith was not a sudden Damascene conversion either. Rather it was the result of a series of events in my life that forced me to take stock, look for some consistency in my life and culminated in me finding that consistency through Christ. I can honestly say that I've never looked back since and never regretted my decision.

Perhaps the most revealing thing, though, was that I found I was able to read The Bible with an entirely new perspective - that given to me by my time as an atheist - and was able to make far greater sense of what I read than I could before.

I realise this would not be the same for everyone and I can see no reason why someone who has been a committed Christian all their life can not read and understand The Bible with just as much clarity as I can - or more.

But it does go to show how a new perspective on things can bring new light on an old subject. Like car drivers learning to ride a motorbike first or scientists who retain a sceptical approach, returning to Christianity from being an atheist can open new doors to understanding of the Christian message for anyone with an open mind.


Blognor Regis said...

Such an idea would mean that every car driver would see road use from the perspective of a biker - and the roads would be safer for bikers as a result.

And bicyclist.

Anonymous said...

..or Jesus...on a bicycle lol.


North Northwester said...

Yes, that's pretty much how it came back to me recently after decades of something else or nothing at all, I'm happy to say.
Studying and advocating historical perspectives of a religion that created our civilised world left my mind open to the possibility of belief.
In the end, it was nothing at all to do with politics or history - let alone my own changing perceptions of how to achieve the good life - that opened the door and let Him in.
It's funny how it works, and a simultaneous lottery win would have been fun, too, but you can't ask for everything all at once. ;-)

I've got to say that my advancing years tend to indicate a maturer kind of ignorance rather than wisdom on my part, but I expect that God's famous sense of humour will help me get through it all.

bernard said...

What a strange juxtaposition of thoughts, Stan.
It suggests that you may be coming down with a bad cold in the next day or so;o)

James Higham said...

Stan, sorry not to get here earlier but better late than never. Interesting the way you changed.