Dear Matt Oresko,
Good day to you, Matt. We've been friends for a few years now, and enjoyed countless philosophical and religious debates. You've been a supportive and kind friend, and I look forward to one day buying you a drink. No Saki.
You are a Christian. I am an atheist. It's possible to dress up my atheist in Unitarian Universalism, as a scientific pantheist and meta-ethical relativist. Still, I'm an atheist, pure and simple.
Recently you told me that I'd be a happier fellow if I'd accept Jesus Christ in my life.
Matt, understand that I can't "accept" Jesus Christ for several reasons, and here they be.
1. Jesus of Nazareth was supposedly a real person, but I'm not even convinced that he ever existed. Not a good start for those who want me to accept him as God. :)
2. Asking me to accept Jesus as God is like asking me to accept Spartacus or Curt Jurgens or Wayne Newton as god. Really, it is. All humor and sarcasm aside, I do not believe what you believe, not even a little bit. In fact, your belief system is ridiculous to me. So I can't accept Jesus as Christ and son of god. For the same reason that you can't accept Robin Williams as god. It's absurd. No offense, really.
3. The story of Jesus of Nazareth existed before Jesus. There are Babylonian, Assyrian and Egyptian stories that predate the Bible, but tell the same story. This proves to me that Christianity is nonsense.
4. The implication that people of faith are happier is bogus, as well. Anyone with bipolar, borderline personality disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (from a sexual assault when 8 years old) would have the same difficulties as I do, regardless of religion.
5. Finally, Christianity causes more pain than it alleviates. If you've ever volunteered at a health clinic for women where abortions are performed, you see some of the misery. I've seen women entering such places bullied to tears at the lowest point of their lives by supposedly good and kind Christians.
I'll never believe in a Christian, or any specific, god. While I consider myself to be open to the possibility of a god, no organized religion makes a lick of sense to me. They cause pain and are simply working an angle. It's a con. There are a lot of good religious people, you among them, but the structure of organized religion is to frighten and bully people.
Spirituality appeals to me. The idea of deep consideration of the meaning of life, god, nature, and all that. But anyone who claims to know what it is all about is either lying or delusional. And it is an institutional, generation spanning delusion.
The meaning of life is a question with no answer. Anyone who claims otherwise is, again, lying or delusional.
To put it another way, Jesus Christ isn't there for me to accept! I can't pretend to believe in something, and if I "accepted" Jesus Christ I'd be pretending. I'm happy that JC gives you comfort. But it is a coupon for happiness that is non-transferable.
So there you go. Thank you for trying to bring me into the fold, though. I know you care about me, and that means a great deal to me, Matt.