Of course, the exaggerations of some priests are equally injurious. See nowadays Talibans or the Inquisition of Middle Age. Besides, the faith is a personal question for each of us. Even those who declare to belong to the same church are different and think differently using the same words.
¶. During my adolescence, two opposite trends influenced my education: that classic of my parents together with the entire old educated generation, and that of the "new wave" of Soviet propagandists.
1 + 1 + Soviet help = 2
Jokes like this were in fashion in Romania of 50's. As the Soviet help was equal to zero, the equality was always true. There are two morals:
We used to say that one must be able to know how to read between the lines. My mind has formed in such conditions, so that I still think there is something true in almost everything but not entirely, and it is up to me to find out that truth.
The first trend was a religious one, while the second was aggressively atheist. Of course, I used to be inclined to adopt my parents' attitude but the rationalist arguments of the others claim to be explained. How could I solve this dilemma?
On the one hand, the atheists, at the end of their demonstration, found out nothing important. Their arguments against the Bible had in view minor considerations, and their way leads nowhere. Besides, God is not precisely defined. Many religions forbid any representation of Him. How could the atheists fight with defined arms against to something that is not defined at all? They do not have any chance.
On the other hand, how could I trust in a simple statement like "think and not search"? For one adept at scientist methods as I am, any statement must be proved. I needed some reasons. An argument in the balance of my thoughts was the declarations of some scientists that they were faithful. Some of them like Pascal turned themselves into the faith after they had been professionals in precise sciences. How could I learn about their reasons? They were clever men.
These used to be the thoughts of a 15-16 years old boy. Now, as an old man, I am much advanced but I cannot say that I have definitely solved the dilemma, but I have a way at least. As much as I have read - and I did it from authors of all kind of orientations - my interest in the topic has increased. The matter has become more and more complex and tinted. The truth seems to be still far away but I realised that searching for the way is more captivating than the aim itself, as far as the aim is an ideal.
One thing is clear: the atheism is good for nothing. It leads nowhere. I knew lots of atheists and every of them invoked the help of a divine force during difficult situations. People need to believe in something. Even the word 'atheist' (a Theo = without God) proves that they are not able to define themselves on an independent way. They recognise the God but stand with their back to Him.
Yes, people need to believe in something. The problem is in what, as long as there are more religions, more cults inside Christianity itself, and lots of sects that fight against each other.
There is the idea that scientists are some atheists. It's a false idea. The priests say that, when they do not understand what the scientists are speaking about. The scientists may really be quite faithful, but for a real dialog, the priests should be able to talk in an intelligent way, and to renounce to their "wooden tongue".
¶. Some time ago, a friend of mine asked me whether I believe in Jesus but Jesus is the God's son so that the final question was the same: whether I believe in God. Probably the question would be better expressed "if I believe in the Bible". Yes, I do! The disputes among the Christian cults and sects are not against the Bible but against each other, particularly among the priests. Priests are important because they have to interpret the Bible to the common people. Unfortunately, during the history, many of them made many mistakes, particularly entering politics. In spite of their statements and pacifist slogans, nowadays they still do the same; they serve themselves by the faith instead of serve it. In their disputes, they use, without knowing the same argument one other, no matter what sect they belong to. Besides, there are too few priests able to understand deep understanding if the Bible. The most of them know only how to preach a sermon.
Even Dalai Lama, in his Autobiography, writes, "Every religion has its potential to make evil. This is not the guilt of the religion, but of the people promoting it.
Yes, I believe in the Bible but not in priests. That's why I always wanted to read more and more, from authors of different faiths, books being my single serious source of information and the real society was the place where the ideas are proved. What have I learnt from these books and my meditation? The great truths become truisms when we try to express them shortly. (This is a truism as well.) We cannot suddenly discover the whole truth but we find it out again and again, more full and rich, just searching for it. God does not need my sacrifices. He wants me to be happy. In this order it is satisfying whether I am myself: honest and having a loving face to all those surrounding me. That is simple, very simple, but I have to do it every time and this is not always easy but it deserves a try.