You can read Jon’s original post here.
A little exposition… When Jon first sent this to me, I believe he had only recently become openly atheist. I was still wrestling with my own thoughts, trying to rationalize and control them, and had been offered a lucrative position in ministry that I very much wanted to be able to accept. I pushed back against Jon’s argument by suggesting that we would never understand certain things, like the beginning or the end of the Universe, and how everything came to be.
Why was I not arguing that my god was afraid of nothing and didn’t need refuge, but would always have dominion over the known and the unknown? Why was I arguing instead that they would ALWAYS be able to run like cowards to more refuges than Jon would admit to? Why do I now as an atheist understand the stand a christian logically should take against what Jon is saying, as indefensible as it may be?
I was pawing at his argument in an evasive way, trying to by time and space in my own head for my argument to regroup. I wonder if anyone is reading this blog and doing it now.
It’s possible we’ll never be able to chase the gods into death, but we’ve made progress. The “bright light at the end of a long tunnel” and the “life flashing before my eyes” has already been explained by our growing understanding of the brain. If we ever somehow perfectly understood death, I’m sure that some would suggest that there are still gods, out beyond the borders of the universe. When I was young and I learned about the Big Bang Theory (the idea, not the show.) I of course also learned that the Universe was expanding outward. The idea that it was expanding led me to realize that the Universe had edges. It was like a big balloon being blown up, I learned. In my ten-year-old mind I used to wonder what was on the edge of the Universe. I had this surreal, imaginary movie I played in my mind once of a space ship traveling to the edge of the universe and finding an endless brick wall, with some graffiti here and there. Stretching out of vision in all directions and enclosing our universe.
In my weird, imaginary vision, an astronaut in one of those big white suits with the big glass helmet floated out of the ship on a spacewalk. As he lazily drifted towards the wall he held in his hands a large sledgehammer.
-John with an H.