Author’s Note: Dr. Adams will be speaking at Duquesne University on November 6th at 6:30 pm in 104 College Hall. But that has absolutely nothing to do with the present column. Please continue reading.
Hey, man! It was great to spend time with you in Houston last weekend. It was a real honor to be the keynote speaker at the annual fund-raiser for Texas Right to Life. They are a real class act and I thought they put together one spectacular event. It was really something else to be able to speak in front of my parents, my First Grade teacher, and my oldest friend in the universe (I mean oldest friendship as I don’t mean to imply you’re old which would mean I’m old, too).
I must tell you, though, that our conversation after the banquet was the highlight of the whole trip. During the conversation I was most struck by three of your statements; namely, that you were learning to let go of your anger, that you were reading the Book of Luke, and that you’re now taking a Bible study class at the church your dad attended before his unexpected death. In other words, you’re doing what I did just a few years ago: You’re growing up and out of atheism and embarking on an important intellectual journey.
You gave some indication Friday night that you have some remorse about how your past anger has hurt other people and interfered with your relationships. You seemed most concerned about how your unresolved religious issues may have caused you to lash out at others – mostly with the women you’ve dated and even in your relationship with your current girlfriend. I have a few insights that I hope will help you feel a little better about this and will help you focus on doing the NRT. By that, I mean forgetting about the past and simply doing the Next Right Thing.
Any outbursts of anger you may have displayed during your prolonged battle with God probably pale in comparison with the ones I displayed during my days as a hardened and outspoken atheist. It didn’t help that during that time I badly abused alcohol and used drugs that were intended to fill a gap in my life caused by my rejection of God.
Regardless, I am still having to apologize to people I hurt during that period of my life. But I don’t dwell on it because I understand the origins of that anger. It’s all about separation from God. And once we have the courage to step away from atheism - or the intellectually weaker position of agnosticism - the anger just disappears. (Note that the agnostic is literally confessing, as I did for nine years, to be an “ignoramus” regarding the existence of God).