I lost my faith for a while. I doubted everything. Was there even a God? Was Christ made up to control people? My parents and siblings are atheists so I am used to having my faith questioned. But I went through a time where I questioned everything I believed. That is when I found Sam Harris.
I listened to his podcast for months and read a couple of his books. It was easy to start feeling smarter than everyone else listening to Sam. He altered my opinion on many things, including immigration. Most importantly, Sam helped rekindle my faith in Christ. I am sure Sam would be bothered by this because he is on a personal Jihad against religion. But Sam sent two unintended epistles that wakened my faith.
The First Epistle of Sam: Christ is the foundation stone of Western civilization
First, his book, The End of Faith, contained this footnote to chapter one:
“As many commentators have observed, there is no Koranic equivalent of the New Testament line “Render unto Caesar those things that are Caesar’s, and render unto God those things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). As a result, there appears to be no Islamic basis for the separation of the powers of the church and the state. This, needless to say, is a problem.”
This was a needed reminder that Western civilization is founded on Christianity. Our basic assumption is that the state is not all-powerful. Rather God is almighty, and the state is below him. We do not worship earthly rulers. Our fealty is first to God, then to country. Societies that are not built on this assumption become totalitarian. And totalitarian states cannot prosper and endure, because they destroy the intricate workings of the market that can only bloom under freedom. Faith in Christ rather than rulers has made the God-fearing West the most prosperous and successful civilization in history.
Christian faith sustains our civilization. Without it, the whole thing collapses.
The Second Epistle of Sam: The afterlife is a matter of faith
My brother died last year. After he died his wife, now widow, said something to the effect that:
“He is dead. He is gone. I will never see him again. Once the body is gone the consciousness is gone. Consciousness comes from the brain.”
I had been listening to Sam Harris’s podcast enough to know that what she was saying was not founded in science. It was rather an atheist credo, a statement of belief to comfort herself in a time of deepest mourning.
Sam is a neuroscientist and an atheist, his authority on the subject of consciousness is solid, and he has every incentive to not preach nonsense. Yet he admitted that we have no idea where consciousness comes from. It is not straightforward. It is not scientifically understood.
“Consciousness may very well be the lawful product of unconscious information processing. But I don’t know what that sentence means—and I don’t think anyone else does either.”
What happens to our consciousness after we die is an ultimate unknown. Certainty about it is impossible whether you are an atheist or a Christian. If you take a stance on it, you stand on faith.
Given that Christianity is needed to sustain civilization by preventing idolatry, and that its fruits include honesty, love of truth, and seeing God in every human being, I decided if I had to stand on faith when it comes to death, I will stand with my feet planted firmly in the hope of Christ.
Many thanks to Sam Harris, that unwitting apostle of Christ, for saving my faith.