My feelings of frustration and resentment towards God reached a head. And then, just at the right time, I happened to come across a quote from C.S. Lewis in which he pointed out:
[God] shows much more of Himself to some people than to others — not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.
Of course. I’d been walking around talking trash, watching TV shows that portrayed all types of nastiness, indulging in selfish behavior…and yet wondering why I couldn’t feel the presence of the source of all goodness. I realized that, if I were serious about figuring out if God exists or not, it could not be an entirely intellectual exercise. I had to be willing to change.
I wasn’t sure if I was ready to sign up for that for the long haul, but I decided to give it a shot: I committed to go a month living according to the Catholic moral code. I bought a copy of the Catholic Catechism, a summary of the Church’s teachings, and studied it carefully, living my life according to what it taught, even in the cases where I wasn’t sure the Church was right.
My goal with the experiment had been to discover the presence of God; instead, I discovered myself — the real me. I had thought that cynicism, judgmentalness, and irritability were just parts of who I was, but I realized that there was a purer, better version of myself buried underneath all that filth — what the Church would call sins — that I had never before encountered.
I found that the rules of the Church, that I had once perceived to be a set of confining laws, were rules of love; the defined the boundaries between what is love and what is not. It had changed me, my life, and my marriage for the better. I may not have experienced God, but, by following the teachings of the Church that was supposedly founded by him, I had experienced real love.
An atheist responds: http://bigthink.com/ideas/41085
Also on the Big Think: Can an atheist be a Unitarian-Universalist? Part I. Part II. Not according to the Unitarian-Universalist, who seems unable to answer the Atheist’s questions reasonably. His argument: Atheism=Hitler and Stalin.