I happened to be in the car Sunday when This American Life way playing on my local NPR station. The episode was titled "This I Used To Believe." It was a spin off of the recent series called This I Believe.
The second story was about a woman who was agnostic but reached out to thank the coach of a Christian high school football team for his effort to help an opposing team made up of kids from a correctional facility.
The woman, Trisha Sebastian, mentioned in an email to the coach how she was leaning toward agnosticism and the coach responded by trying to bring her back to faith.
It's a good story, though unresolved, that I think both religious and non-religious might enjoy. You can still download the audio through their podcast or from their web site. Perhaps you should listen to it before reading my commentary. I wouldn't want to poison the well.
You don't get to hear all of the conversation between Trisha and the coach but he comes off like every other southern protestant I've ever met. And when he pulls the Nazi card he just about lost her. Let that be a lesson for you fledgling preachers: If you want to convince an atheist that God is the right path then don't stray into Godwin's Law territory. Even the Jews don't find Darwin as the cause for Hitler's atrocities.
I think we've all heard his other argument before: We live in a fallen world, and this is the reason for all the bad in the world today. He finds comfort in that while we scratch our heads at how completely illogical the whole free-will/original sin arguments are. But this doesn't bother him because his reward is beyond this world. So, he's willing to shrug off all of the suffering in the world because he already has a ticket out of here, or so he thinks. And I imagine his good-will effort with the kids from the juvenile correctional facility were to bring them to God, because that is the only way he thinks their suffering will end.
After seeing how the world according to the bible makes no sense except that we are in the hands of a schizophrenic dictator who demands our worship, I don't know how I could ever go back to believing in him. It just doesn't make any sense.
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