We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mrs. BD says that, in the women's prayer and study groups she is involved with, her most useful inspirations lately come from C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce.
A number of the women in these groups are "searchers," "questioners," etc., and not committed or reborn Christians, but they are bright and curious. It's a good mix of people, it sounds like.
The book seems to focus on the emotional, intellectual, and psychological obstacles and resistances to faith, presented in allegorical form. It's the only CS Lewis that I have not read. It's said to be sort-of a pop version of The Divine Comedy.
What are the obstacles to accepting the offer of a life "in the Kingdom"? One view would be that it is addiction to self, or addiction to the material world, or similar attachments to intellectual vanity and other things - all supported by various rationalizations. The point, if I understand Mrs. BD's exposition, is that the offer of life in abundance in the Kingdom is now, but, just like afterlife (which I am dubious about), you have to leave some baggage behind to get there. It's a free choice to live in the darkness or in the light.
Hi, BD (love Maggie's!). It's a short but very pithy read, and contains a quote that still chills me to the bone, regarding the finality of trust in, or rejection of, Christ: There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done."
Regarding the theory about those with absent fathers rejecting faith in God: Believing 100 percent would mean not being able to hold that father hostage anymore. Forgiveness would have to occur. In most cases, it's unbelievably difficult to do that because of the almost indescribable pain caused by said father. So someone like that hears the gospel and thinks, "God the Father? Really? Screw him!" And they don't realize how much higher God the Father is than anyone on this planet and that He isn't some sadistic monster in the sky waiting to rain down as much misery as possible.
I'm an atheist, and I don't buy this theory. Fair warning: What follows is an attempt to put into words how I got to that belief, and will certainly annoy at least some believers.
I see the big picture this way. We live in a very unjust world, and one in which the bad guys hardly ever regret being bad. Now let's try to reconcile that with the myth of God, who is supposed to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and above all, good.
The first obvious answer is that the two propositions contradict each other. A good God, having those abilities, would simply not permit the world to be the way it is.
The second obvious answer is that God, if there is one, must either lack the understanding or the ability to fix things, or must have a notion of the "good" that is inimical to humans, such as that expressed in the Book of Job. (His expressed concern for the state of Job's soul doesn't hold water for the same reason the sacrifice of Christ isn't noble on the part of either father or son -- because the danger he wants credit for Saving us from is nothing but his own anger, thus making the whole thing a protection racket.)
And the third obvious answer is that there's nobody up there at all. After all, we've all prayed and not been answered. And if you say there is, how can we test the hypothesis? A statement that can never be falsified is by definition meaningless.
Your problem is you appear to have an abysmal grasp of Christian theology, and by abysmal I mean none worth speaking of. So you set up strawmen and misrepresentations to argue with and even those kicked your ass.
Note that I could parody your basic atheist as an uneducated, invincibly ignorant moron, but what's the point of giving an unearned promotion?
I love the way atheists, in particular, think they know the mind of God and use that to construct propositions they can use to eliminate God. I would suggest that just maybe humans are not capable of know the inner workings of God and that is why it is called faith, not logic.