Thursday, November 6, 2008

Proud to be a Heathen

“Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.”

I was raised agnostic. My mother never talked about or imparted any ideas of god or religion to me, for which I will always be grateful. If I wanted to go to church I was allowed, but it was never forced or required. When I did in fact go to church, it was for purely social reasons. I never actually understood what the people around me believed. But as I got older and learned more, I realized that I wanted nothing to do with Christianity or god.

“The reason there are so many opinions is that no one knows the truth.”

I tried, as a teenager, to convince myself that god exists. I sat in the pews with the best of them but faith could never permeate my reason or thinking. Believe me, I would like nothing more then to be comforted by the idea that there is this body of energy that loves me completely; someone who watches over me endlessly and wants nothing but the best for me or that every horrible thing that has, and will, happen in my life is part of some mysterious plan and I should just scamper along like a good obedient monkey.

“Perhaps our role on this planet is not to worship god, but to create him.”

Over the years I have become agnostic atheist, which is just a fancy way of saying I don’t believe in god but ultimately don’t think anyone could possibly know. The truth is that you cannot believe in god without abandoning logic to some extent. You give up any possibility at looking at a situation with clear eyes and free thinking because there is always a good possibility you will see something that contradicts your religious views. (If in any way you doubt that, think about people who refuse to believe the age of the earth or any of the PROVED scientific research.) Then, unfortunately, most people will reject any findings just to preserve ideas that are dated and out of touch with reality. This is not enlightenment, it is delusion.

“The fundamental cause of trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

Even though I think established religion as a whole is a bad thing and that there is NO way and all loving entity can exist, I still keep a measure of doubt. If theists could say the same thing the world would be a much more tolerant place, but there has never been room for doubt in religion. Richard Dawkins said something along the lines of: since atheists don’t have faith, (which is belief in something without any proof) reason alone cannot propel one to total conviction that anything definitely does NOT exist. A lot of theists try to throw this in atheists face as proof we are unsure or not confident in our disbelief of god, but for me it is part of the appeal of not belonging to a structured belief system. I am free to make my own decisions and I am totally open to the possibility that I could be wrong. My world would NOT come crashing down if god DOES exist so it doesn’t make too much of a difference to me. (I also can’t imagine that if god does exist he would ultimately care how many prayers he received.)

“Blind faith is an ironic gift to return to the creator of human intelligence.”

Now what has brought this about you might ask (though those who know me well know I don’t ever need a reason). First, the situation with gay marriage has really gotten to me. Second, this girl I knew in high school posted a bulletin on myspace about the end of times. She truly believes we are living in the end of days and Jesus is coming to save all the good monkeys from hell on earth. The fact that someone, of whom I know to be intelligent, could possibly think that is mind boggling.

Sometimes it feels like our country is moving backwards (especially to the dark ages). Do we really live in a time where we think its still okay to teach our children that people who disagree with us will spend eternity in torment by the very all loving god who created them? Or that it’s somehow dangerous to teach our children about sex or condoms even though science backs up that information is the key to lowering teenage pregnancy and STDs? Or that people walked the earth with dinosaurs? Or that it is somehow “unnatural” to love someone? (On a side note, can we even do anything unnatural? Doesn’t the fact that we are capable make it natural, if not just unusual?) Or that atheists aren’t really American?

I really hope the answer is no.

I wil leave you with this:

Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

3 comments:

  1. I agree! Not much more to add. I think you pretty much said it all. Although where I live you don't dare say any of it. If you think that way you just keep your head down and don't say anything. Unless you really want trouble. It's sad, actually.

    Anyway, thanks for the great post and enjoy your snow!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can definitely say I am a Christian but I can also say that I can I have none of the signs you listed. I guess being raised Catholic did do me some good.

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