For most of my life, that is since I achieved the age where youngsters can normally begin thinking at that deeper and more abstract level that separates childhood from adulthood, I have not professed to be a Christian. I still do not profess to be a Christian.
My mother was a devout Anglican whose faith in Christian fairytales was unshakable, a problem which pitted us against one another on more than one occasion. She hauled my siblings and I off to church nearly every Sunday and during those interminable services I was always grateful that we youngsters in the congregation got to traipse downstairs about half way through.
There, in the church basement, we attended Sunday school and had biblical stories told to us as though they were the literal truth, but at least in interesting and fun ways. At least it was better than listening to rote repetion of mindless litergy, annoying or boring sermons which were occasionally so intolerant of other Christian sects that the whole point was lost in a deluge of hypocrisy. Better too than feeling the inevitable twinge of guilt whenever I had to repeat various prayers and creeds affirming my belief in the fairytales. Afterall, I had taken to heart the teachings about lieing, the wellspring of which, ironically, was the very same creed.
But I can look back at those days now, and at my mother, and say that these experiences did teach me values that have stayed with me all my life. Thanks to being exposed to writings of people like Scott Peck
and others, I now understand that there are stages of spiritual growth and many people get stuck at the lower levels and never go beyond.
My mother, in some ways, was stuck at the literalist level. Many a youth who reject the literalist strain of Christian teaching will triumphantly declare themselves to be athiests as soon as they begin to understand the deeper more nuanced complexities of belief and creed. But, years later, if they are still arrogantly athiest, I submit they too are stuck on a lower level of belief, just as Scott Peck has decribed. I spent many years as an avowed athiest myself. But now I've mellowed and I know that just because the biblical version of things seems proposterous to me, as a mere human, I cannot know for sure that there is no Creator. In fact, there are some questions for which a creative force or being, or whatever you choose to call it, seems the only logical answer.
Some very learned and erudite individuals can be included in this class of folks who have not transcended into the higher levels of spiritual understanding. Richard Dawkins comes to mind as one of these and at least one man whom I consider a personal hero, namely Christopher Hitchens. I'm a grown up. I can admire the man and not denounce him because of one, albeit significant, difference in our world views. Both of us are products of Western Civilization, which in turn has been greatly influenced and shaped by Christian values, even if it is true that it was the struggle against the church and its various permutations that was the driving force behind much of Europe's history.
For more than a millenium, Europe, for all its internal bickering and petty warring, conceived of itself as Christendom and on several occasions has been united when at war with Islam, not the least of which was the war, otherwise known as the Crusades, to reclaim the birthplace of Christ from its Muslim usurpers.
All of this is to say that I find it strangely exotic that in the past decade or so, I have found myself drawn more and more to the support of Christians, even evangelicals for whom I would formerly, in my athiest days, have held nothing but arrogant contempt. I believe many of them are on the right side when it comes to understanding the nature and threat of Islamofascism. The fact that many on the left have chosen to vilify Christians and pump themselves up with all sorts of bogus beliefs about Christians, tacitly, though they will not admit it, taking sides with Islamofascism, has also driven me into the "Christian camp", if you can call it that.
These folks, the Christians, seem to have a much better understanding of the peril we are in than any leftie does, and it's very likely because they have been at the brunt of the liberal-left assault on Western values. "Christians are evil fascists." "Christians are bigots." "Christians are dangerous." What rot!!! Especially when compared to the seemy underside of Islamism. Even the most annoying Evangelical, and there are plenty, is not a crazed murderer, drawing upon his Christian teachings to justify blowing up market places and airplanes.
Perhaps this is why I admire Michael Coren
so much. Michael Coren has the balls to speak out and the left simply hurls their usual, now bland and meaningless epithets against him.
Strange bedfellows, those, Michael Coren and Christopher Hitchens, a devout Christian and an avowed athiest. But I suspect they would, like the legions of Christendom of old, be of one mind when it comes to defending our civilization. T'is a shame that the left is no longer made of the right stuff, since so many of our most cherished values have come from their
fight against oppressions of European origin. Pity they choose to focus on petty superficialities and cannot stand up for that which they once championed, simply because Christians now champion it, too.
Reminds me of Bob Dylan's old song from my youth:
"The Times, They are a Changing"