Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Journey...(Part X): So what now...?

This was possibly the hardest part of all this. Where do you go when you eliminate all your options? Where do you turn when you have analyzed yourself out of your previous mental safe havens? I was both confused and a little lost. If there is no god then who do you lean on? I didn't have a woman in my life I could trust and depend on, my family kept pointing me to god and well my friends were pretty much history.

I am far from having all the answers. I think that is the actual point. It is a journey...one that never really ends. I think if I cease learning I cease living. It is the ability to learn and to adapt that makes us creatures of intelligence. When we become so stubborn and set in our ways that we are unable to even tolerate something that is of a differing opinion we lose our edge and we cease living and begin existing.

What I DO know:

I have established the following parameters.

I do not accept anything just because somebody says it. I demand evidence. Not feelings, tangible evidence. I often hear the argument, “well you breath air and cannot see it.” This seems like a good argument except there is a confirmed molecular structure for air...it has been seen and has been verified. The analogy does not fit. There is no incontrovertible evidence that there is a god. Paul states in Romans that nature teaches there is a god. Thomas Payne even stated in his book on reason that he believes in God and does so based on nature. I would argue that this is faulty logic and that even Payne did not go far enough. IF nature teaches us anything it teaches that there is a cycle. Due to this fact I would be more inclined to eastern religions that teach karma and teach reincarnation than I would of faith in a creator. The point comes down to I do not accept anything with out factual evidence.

I determine what is important. For instance...I have been asked, then how do you explain the existence of the world, the complexities of the human body and the creation of the universe. The answer? What does it matter? Was there anybody there keeping record f it at the beginning. Does anybody even know when the beginning occurred? And how long did time elapse from the point of “the beginning” to when recorded history was begun? These are questions nobody can answer and when it comes right down to it they are irrelevant. Now Christians at this point are gagging over their arguments on this one....but seriously. When I was a preacher one of the silliest questions I got was....where did Cain get his wife? My answer? Wherever he wanted to. Who cares. It is irrelevant. It is OK for Christians to relegate things to irrelevance, things they cannot answer, but not OK for somebody else to do the same thing? I have decided that I will first determine the importance of something before I waste a lot of time and energy on it. Does it affect my future? Does it affect the core of my beliefs and in what way and to what extent?

What I DON'T know.

I DON'T know what tomorrow brings. I DON'T know where to turn sometimes. I will admit there are times I am envious of those that can survive on trite phrases such as, “living by faith” and “God will provide” and “everything has a purpose”. These phrases that roll off people's lips, seemingly so easy, and help them sleep at night. Cliches that help them accept the unacceptable, help them rest when they see no other path to take...what isn't there to envy?
I have felt like the guy from the movies about the Matrix. Remember the traitor? The one that said ignorance is bliss. He said he wanted to be inserted back into the Matrix. He felt that not knowing was better than knowing and going through the pain of reality. I can relate...but like Neo...I can't go back. I have tried. I have tried to stand like the cowardly lion and repeat, “I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do I do I doooo believe in spooks.” But when it is said and done, though there are days I wish I had taken the blue pill...the story had ended and life had gone on...I can't. I hunger for knowledge, and I strive for logic and reason.

How far do I go in this whole atheist thing? Well I don't try to change people and make them an atheist. I don't go around arguing religion with everybody. I actually believe that religion, in and of itself, is a necessary evil that plays a crucial function in society. There is a reason that every society known to man has two distinct forms of control. One is government and the other is religion. Where one fails or one drops off the other picks up. Religion enforces the most basic social laws with severe consequences. While there can be good without religion, humans as a whole are weak, vulnerable and by nature herded. While an atheist could argue that a world without religion would be a perfect world, a world without religion would be a world of anarchy and chaos.

Now a world with religion has its own share of atrocities so don't go patting yourself on the back too much. 9/11 was a religious statement. The Holocaust was fed by religion. The Inquisition was empowered by religion. The Crusades were driven by religion. Jones town was the result of religion. So before you pat yourself on the back about the power of religion, look a little deeper at the abuse of that power.

I do not “convert” people to atheism because, simply put, atheism is not a religion. Atheism is the rejection of religion. It is the complete acceptance of logic and reason.

So in answer to the question...where am I today? I refuse to be as close minded of an Atheist as I was a Baptist Minister. I explore and study. Currently, thanks to my friend Barb, I am studying the subject of karma and meta physics. And that is what it means, at least for me, to be an atheist. I am searching for knowledge. I am clearly set on some things, I have to be, or every religious nut job out there would be trying to sway me to see things their way. But I am open to logic and reason, I am open to knowledge. My Journey....has become a quest.

A quest to understand myself.

A quest to understand the world around me.

A quest for knowledge.

2 comments:

lesleehorner said...

Did you see the movie Religulous? We watched that last week and what I most appreciated from it is that Bill Maher held the stance of simply "I don't know."

The theory that works for me is that God is an energy that moves through everything. It's the divine flow of life. Which maybe at some point scientist will have a name for and it won't be God at all. Maybe it's just energy or cycles or universal laws. When I sit to meditate though I can experience that energy. I can feel it pulsing through my body and I am given ideas and inspirations from some part of myself that is much wiser and more peaceful than my ego. I call it God (although as a friend once said God is just a word) but in truth...I really just don't know.

ladyrebecca said...

I truly beautiful quest. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your journey and am going to recommend your blog to a friend or two. Thank you so much for sharing.

 

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