In Portsmouth, NH there is a church in the middle of town. No matter what you believe or don't believe about God, that church has been standing there over 400 years. What do you know that's 400 years old? Surely not Google.
For a couple years now, I have been thinking about how democracy fails and how representative government fails, rather in the same way that I had previously been thinking how racial reasoning fails. Like many people at the turn of the century, I have been wondering why the future has arrived full of surprising successes and unexpected failures, and so I have come to give my attention to (among others) The Long Now, Nouriel Roubini, Nassim N. Taleb, David P. Goldman, Richard Fernandez and several others acting under pseudonyms. I don't expect everything to fail, and I don't expect to live in a world of zombies, but I am preparing my mind to work under those conditions. It's like gaming Fallout 3. Hopefully, I'm a quick study.
Without going into the details of which institutions I think will fail and what behaviors will emerge in various levels of educated and monied people, I am thinking of the act of desparate flailing when the floor collapses under you and you wake up some time later with the taste of blood in your mouth. You get up, stumble around for a moment, find out where you are and then vow never to walk that same stupid way again. Then of course you go look for an explanation and a hiding place.
The church is a hiding place and so you might come to Jesus, testifying loudly and showing off your knocked out bloody teeth. And a priest will be smiling to himself and rubbing his hands together. You have traded one lost comfort for a newly found one which you hope to be eternal. And so you are a fool, the exact dimensions of which are known to the priest. His explanation will be hard to accept but sufficient for your desparation. Alas, you must commit coin. And you might find or at least be suspicious that it was that very priest who weakend the floor you fell through in the first place.
Until you make that suspicion, and as you commit your coin, you have come to Jesus. You make the confession you expect the priest will accept (he will eventually give you the proper words) and you begin with a fresh start. But have you made an error?
As a Stoic, I say that you have unless you are significantly cynical (or stoical) and realize that you are merely building yourself another shelter from the dangers of the world - a shelter that itself will fail in the perfect storm. You must realize the strength of the bricks of the church building itself without regard to the confessions and promises held therein.
My newest insight is that 'the people' are a force of nature. Like storms and wild beasts, they are not to be trifled with, but they can always be outwitted. Your only hope is that you don't have to outwit them spontaneously without prior preparation or they will mow you down, oblivious to your credentials.
As I keep arguing with atheists (ok with the atheists inside my head), the point is not whether or not God exists in any verifyable and objective way, but what is verifyable and objective about the people who believe in God. For one thing, they are trying to be moral. For another, they build churches. And these churches end up lasting for centuries as generations of human beings fall through their respective floors. Not saying that the floors of all churches are bedrock, but 400 years is 400 years. That is a force of nature a wise man would not try to spontaneously outwit.
The error is not in coming to Jesus, in this ironic regard, one cannot come too soon. The error is coming without preparation. No irony there at all.