I’m a guy who worships evidence. I believe in evolution and all the sciences. I’m an accomplished student of the humanities. I trained as a journalist and spent some time reporting political news from inside the United States capitol building. I know my five W’s and H, and I know B.S. when someone steps in it. My curiosity knows no bounds, and my endless questions can be aggravating to my more credulous compatriots. I’m the guy who, when everyone else is satisfied with the answer, continues asking Why, Yeah-but, Is that so, and Really, or are you just saying that?
And I talk to Jesus Christ. He’s the imaginary man in the sky (probably hiding behind Mars) who is also somehow the Holy Spirit and God, whatever those things are, who allegedly got nailed to a tree for being a mouthy rebel but came back to life three days later, and through his suffering somehow paid for all the nasty remarks I made 2,000 years in the future. Every rational faculty at my disposal can verify for you, without reservation, that Christ is a cultural construct, the product of thousands of years of wishful thinking and twisted logic, invented as a way to assuage people’s guilt and fear so they can go on churning out a living on this godforsaken planet.
You don’t see me pulling punches on the facts. I’m not going to deny my secular learning just to bolster my faith. I’m not a guy who will ever give up on logic, reason, and the power of observation. My mind will remain open until the day I die. That’s a promise I don’t even have to try to fulfill, as it is simply who I am through and through.
And yet I also believe in the impossible–the present spiritual existence of Jesus formerly of Nazareth, the Anointed One. I believe he listens when I talk and that he responds in the form of thoughts occurring in my mind or of feelings occurring in my mind and body.
Why do I embrace such cognitive dissonance? Are not these two states of mind–secular humanism and religious thinking–mutually exclusive? Is not the Christ figure–any deity, really, or any form of supernatural thinking–extraneous? Doesn’t it just get in the way of lucid cognition?
I talk to the Christ figure for one reason and one reason only: because I recently had an experience unlike any I had ever had, in which a great sense of peace, mercy, and forgiveness shone on my consciousness like the sun shines on the earth in the middle of the day, and this experience occurred as a direct result of a prayer and healing given to me in the name of Jesus Christ. A friend came into my home, prayed for me, and in the name of Christ healed my injured knees. Yes, it’s true, and your credulity is not required. I showed my friend out, went upstairs to my room, closed my eyes, and basked in a sudden feeling of wellness. That feeling fast turned to a feeling that can only be described as a spiritual awakening.
It was not an emotion–for emotion is mere chemistry–and it was more than awareness–and it was not certainty, for certainty is such a petty thing. It was Other. It was spiritual.
That was all I needed. I’m nothing if not loyal. I was given a gift beyond all my understanding, and it was given to me in the name of Christ. My friend’s god is an awesome god, I realized, and then I adopted Christ as my god.
Just like that. Boom. No hesitation. It all happened so quickly. I became a Christ follower in an instant. All the inner demons we humans carry around with us–guilt, shame, embarrassment, regret, anger, sadness, misery, depression, confusion–the inner war–were gone from my being. In their place were peace, mercy, forgiveness, and a feeling of having arrived. I was purified–baptized in the Holy Spirit, in the best tradition of the charismatic movement.
That experience happened, and it can never un-happen. My experience is evidence–primary source material. It was a human experience, one I cannot deny, and one that in no way negates the rest of who I am as a person: rational, thinking, questioning, searching.
Now I pray to God/Christ/the Holy Spirit, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel great. Anytime I have an unpleasant thought, or experience an uncharitable impulse, I try to remember to talk to God. I want to stay in the light of his awesome mercy, so I shall hereby strive to do his bidding as I understand it from now on, a.k.a. “I repent.” I embrace this mythos heart and soul.
The other secular humanists can feel free to call me inconsistent. Another of their brethren hath fallen off the wagon and joined the religious sheep. Fine by me. I have something beyond the value of all the cosmos: I have my personal encounter and ongoing relationship with a concept-being called Jesus the Christ, who raised me from the walking dead and breathed life into me.
I’m smart enough to know I don’t know jack squat when compared to what is knowable. I’m not very humble, but enough to admit that I could be wrong about a great many things, even God. I’m strong, but weak enough to need a deity to feel that the world is in balance. Within those human shortcomings, there is ample room for faith in the Christ. I embrace all the implications of accepting him as my personal savior.
I’m both-feet-in and both-eyes-open. ‘Tis good to know the King.