I am delighted to say that a dear colleague of mine has ‘kicked my arse’ in the nicest possible way. Here is what Helen Mitchell has to say. I have edited out the friendly banter and more personal stuff with her permission.
“I did visit your blog site after reading your last email. My own experience has been very different to yours I grew up in a Christian home (my father, now retired, was a minister of a Free Methodist Church). What struck me about the Christian people I knew growing up, was the reality of their Christian experience in practical terms. I saw no contradiction between what they claimed and how they lived.
I have read the bible from cover to cover many times and find it difficult reconciling the image of God as a bully with the picture emerging from the New Testament, of a God who loves the unlovable and suffers for the sake of all even those who reject Him.
For me being a Christian has never involved an unreasoning abandonment of rationality or logic quite the reverse. I know the arguments for and against the existence of God in philosophical terms and am familiar with the stance of ‘new atheists’ such as Dawkins, and those who argue that there is no room for God in a post Enlightenment world of science. Clearly God will never be found at the bottom of a test tube, but there are many leading scientists and scholars who find no conflict between their Christian faith and their thinking/ rational minds or the scientific evidence available although they don’t receive the same levels of media attention in the popular press.
So although some may claim that my belief in God is nothing more than a leap of faith, I would acknowledge that whilst it might well be a leap of faith, it’s not a blind leap. And for every Christian long jumper, there are atheists on the opposite divide making similar leaps. Aside from all other considerations, the reality of what I have experienced day to day, even when life has been really difficult, is testimony I can’t ignore. So my sentiments are very different from those expressed in your blog and by other contributors.