Several months ago I posed a question to religious believers: What kind of proof would be required for them to leave their faith. The question wasn’t intended to drive people from their beliefs, but to see if people have fairly assessed their faith and have come up with a metric for evaluating their faith against evidence that would otherwise contradict their belief system. Very few took me up on the question – Some may have thought it blasphemous to consider…
Turning that on its head, I get the same question thrown my way – what would it take for me to believe in Christianity again? Since many of my friends are non-believers, I’ll throw the question to you as well – Easter seems like an appropriate day to hypothesize…
I suppose, based on biblical dogma, that if the rapture actually took place and millions of people just flat out disappeared and I was “left behind” facing the world of the Antichrist, I would have serious reservations about taking the “mark of the beast.” Faced with the options, I’d probably make a “Repent” sign and go stand on a corner somewhere.
Now, I think the odds of something like that happening are longer than the Wizards winning the NBA championship (much longer…).
Absent an apocalyptic event, I think I’d require a direct intervention from god himself – and not just on a personal level, but one that could be verified by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. If god revealed himself only to me, it could far to easily be chalked up to a hallucination – even if I never have done acid in my life! Solo revelation, which happened all too often in the bible, is not only unverifiable, but just an opportunity for someone to claim “special status” of god’s favor. I’d prefer something along the lines of god perching atop the Washington monument in the middle of the Mall, then hurling a thunderbolt at Congress driving the “whores” away, then telling America, in a voice that could easily be heard from Atlanta to Boston, they haven’t done a good job of following his teachings.
Yes, I’m being nationalistic here – if god showed up in Albania, or Nigeria, or Fiji, it just would lack the same effect.
It would be cool if god announced he’d return the next day, allowing people from all over the opportunity to gather, maybe take some questions (Oprah could host).
Something along those lines would certainly make me reevaluate my lack of belief. Some will say that god doesn’t work like that, but my response would have to be: who are you to put limits on the creator of the universe? If god is god, god can do anything! God could cure cancer, god could ensure his creation doesn’t starve to death, god could make sure the Broncos win the next 100 Super Bowls (I understand god loves football!).
So god could do those things, but if he exists, he obviously chooses not to do so. Some chalk that up to god not wanting to interfere with “free will,” yet that doesn’t preclude millions for praying for just such divine intervention on a daily basis – then claim that god’s hand was involved for whenever good things happen. Asking god for something good to happen, then having it happen, seems more to me about random chance than divine intervention. At least that’s my take on these things – doesn’t necessarily make me right about it, but I am confident in my view.
I know I’ve set the bar pretty high, but it does leave me open to the possibility of god. Where do you put your bar?