Alcoholics like myself know there are no half-measures. “C’mon, just one glass, a small one !” No thanks. He insists, but the answer is still “No !” Other people can drink intelligently. Those of us who can’t don’t know what “moderation” means. When we decided to go on the wagon, we went the whole hog. We have not just reduced our intake. We have done the Full Monty.
Jesus is usually thought of as being gentle, loving, tolerant. But He was also capable of revealing His anger and intolerance, for example in expelling the money-changers from the Temple. We often forget what He said about the lukewarm, people who are “neither hot nor cold”, whom He said He would “vomit out of His mouth”. Not exactly a model of tolerance. He just couldn’t stand people without the guts to decide one way or the other.
I would not vomit Believers on the Brink out of my mouth. They have jettisoned many of the crazy things they used to believe, but hesitate to go all the way. I believe we militant atheists should practise patience and compassion. It is not easy to “let go”, as Ron Vernon says. We have to let them, and help them, discover that what they still believe has no more credibility than what they have already rejected as myth and fantasy.
“But there must be something, Someone, behind it all !” There is. Right now it would appear to be . . . gravity. I know it is pretty hard to understand how from a single singularity we ended up with a Universe, a planet Earth, you and me. But it is much harder, and surely less worthy of our intelligence, to believe the stories religion has made up to explain it all. Some people, most in fact, will continue to prefer the theistic thesis. Others like me are convinced that God and religion are human inventions. Those who can’t bring themselves to decide one way or the other, will, hopefully, one day take the plunge and either affirm their faith or deny it. The Church has no place for the lukewarm and there’s no such thing as an almost-atheist. It would seem that Jesus and I both believe in the Full Monty.