So here’s something about writing a book about conversations between Christians and atheists that no one told me.
It kind of makes me hate everyone.
I hate the atheists. I hate dismissive language being used about religious people when I’m sitting right there. I hate that when I’m trying to find something to dispute a misconception, all I can see is how the misconception is 100% true. I hate that I know all of the arguments before I even hear them.
And I hate the Christians. I hate seeing the political process manipulated to make atheists look like bullies. I hate seeing God reduced to “nice, manageable chunks” (as my friend Susan said) through the same apologetics process. I hate seeing people write that they hope that the children of atheists are gang raped and that they die a slow and painful death…because of an atheist billboard.
Writing this book is exposing me to ugly, ugly, ugly things. It’s wearing on me, and I’m only in the very beginning stages of this process (well, okay maybe not the VERY beginning, but still pretty early).
Most days I feel pretty much like this.
My default when I encounter stuff like that is to simply disconnect. I get really uncomfortable with controversy, so when I find myself in the midst of something that is stirring up big, angry emotions, I just want to disengage from the whole thing. Shut it down, no more callers.
But just ignoring the hurt isn’t possible in this instance. So I’m left with two choices.
I can just seethe with anger. I can go ahead and hate everyone because they’re all awful. I can turn my writing into an indictment of all of the shitty behavior that makes me want to tear my hair out. I can rant and just let all of my bad feelings out.
Or I can dig a little deeper and try to understand why people are responding the way they do. I can try to unearth the reasons for hatred and anger and fear and expose them to the light.
Some days that is a struggle. Hatred feels far more natural and right.
But when I choose to look deeper, when I choose the light over the dark, I find that my own hatred is exposed and begins to shrivel up.
When hate begins to look attractive to me, I must choose to focus on the One who is the antithesis of hatred.
I must focus on the One who is Love.