SKEPTIC: A couple of years ago the world was taken by surprise when Mother Teresa's personal letters were made public. They revealed that for virtually the entire time that she worked in India (1948-1997), she was operating without God as her co-pilot.
PREACHER: I know of many Christian workers who have had the same kind of struggle. I did when I first came out as a missionary, after I won all those debates about the veracity of the Bible with my profs. I was saying "where is my faith, where is my God?" Luckily, I got kind advice from a senior missionary who didn't judge me. He just suggested that I start a daily devotional of reading the Bible and talking to God out loud. It took a few months, but eventually I felt my faith restored. I have been tempted to fall into that frame of mind from time to time, but never quite so low since.
SKEPTIC: The difference between you and Mother Theresa is that you came back to God, but she never did. Her lack of faith stayed with her until her death. That makes her (at the very least) an agnostic in my book. From reading what she wrote, she really struggled and suffered with her lack of faith and it sounds like she may have become clinically depressed. Imagine how much easier her life would have been if she could have engaged in her good works without the yoke of the church around her neck. It's fascinating to watch Christians and the Catholic church try to spin her lack of faith into some sort of virtue.
PREACHER: The conclusions you give are based on some of her writings. Are you claiminig to be able to read her mind for all the time that she lived on this earth?
SKEPTIC: Well, yes, that's true. I'm basing my comments on what she wrote in her private letters to her confessors over several decades. Unless she just made everything up, I think it's safe to assume that they accurately represented her state of mind.
PREACHER: I would also have to make a disclaimer for her. Since she was Catholic, her understanding of God's grace may not have been fully developed.
SKEPTIC: Oh, that's right. I almost forgot. Only Christians are truly enlightened. Man, if I was a Catholic, I think I'd be pretty insulted by that remark. Oh, what the heck, I'll go ahead and be insulted anyway.
PREACHER: Well, here's the thing. I can understand what happened with Mother Teresa. Believing in God is absurd, but then believing in no God is just as absurd. Both positions are a leap in the dark.
SKEPTIC: There are lots of things I don't believe in. I don't believe in unicorns. Is that a "leap in the dark?" However, if I choose to believe in something that offers no real rational basis, that's a "leap in the dark." But I'm glad to know that you agree with me - "believing in God is absurd."
PREACHER: Believing in God is absurd in that we have no way of proving that to the non-believer (however there may be a day coming when faith becomes sight). Not believing in God is equally absurd because the nonbeliever has no way of proving that to the believer. You can go pretty far with proving that unicorns never existed on this earth by checking out the fossil record and historical records. However when it comes to proving that God doesn't exist, you don't have access to the whole universe or all of the events that ever occurred so you end up with a stalemate. Personally, I think the argument that we and this complex but ordered world we exist in is all a product of random activities of matter is a ridiculous explanation.
SKEPTIC: Nonbelievers have no obligation to prove anything to believers. We are not the ones making irrational assertions based on superstitions and myths. We're just saying, sorry, we don't believe you, but hey, it's your life, you can believe anything you want. Unlike Christians, nonbelievers are not (generally speaking) a proselytizing bunch. And by the way, I'm pretty sure you've totally misrepresented evolution.
PREACHER: When I lived in Fukuyama, I had the acquaintance of a Catholic priest. We used to have united worship services about once a year. He told me that Catholics don't study the Bible or get much training in theology. He and his parishioners always appreciated hearing a protestant preacher explain the Bible. So, I wonder if she had had more of a theological background, would she have struggled so much. Nevertheless I respect her for living a Christian life, even if it didn't make sense to her.
To say that she didn't have God as her co-pilot can hardly be presumed. Actually, He never was her co-pilot. He was her commander and chief. That is why she stuck with the church work all her life despite her agonizing doubts. When God is just your co-pilot and you don't want Him anymore you leave the scene and go to a country where most everyone agrees with you. Now concerning the myth of evolution, that deserves a whole new post.