I’m an Atheist!
I’m not Agnostic, I’m not on the fence, I've got full blown Atheism... ( Crickets ). For those of you on your way out, please drop your 3D glasses in the box outside of the theater. For those of you continuing on with the blog, let’s start at the beginning...
Growing up in my family we practiced what I like to call “Christian light.” We,my siblings and I, said our prayers, occasionally went to church, and there was even a brief stint in Sunday-school. In our house there was no religious “Dogma”- no pressure, but plenty of choice. My mom always kept her Bible opened on her dresser, but that was hers. Whatever it meant to her was kept-for the most part between her and her God. For the kids, the bible was there as well. However, it was just one book among hundreds, and I was encouraged to read them all. Eventually I kind of just settled on faith in “God” in general. Over the years I found God to be quite convenient. God was the “Jiminy Cricket” to my Pinocchio, “Gazoo” to my Fred, an ever present Sky-Daddy that would help guide me through the wilderness of life.
As the years passed I didn’t just grow older, I grew up. I read a lot. For a long time I was confused because I thought reading was supposed to make one smarter. All reading seemed to do was show me how little I truly knew. History, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Science…Knowledge. By the time I got to my 30’s God was losing ground. It wasn’t intentional. I was seeking to understand the universe and beyond, and God just kept getting in the way. I was never a believer in the Bible. Even as a young child, it just struck me as false. I began to delve deeper into science. It wasn’t my best subject in school, (that was art ), but I was interested. I knew the “Scientific Method" would be an invaluable tool in my quest to discover "The Truth”.
Science gave me a way around my own subjectivity and conditioning, thus allowing me the means to consider the universe objectively. It didn’t matter what I had been taught previously. Science would become my prism to intelligently discern the validity of information. I began putting my faith to the test by asking logical questions. Who, what, when, where, how and why? God in my world slowly evolved into, “I’m spiritual” ,which seemed like a place holder, while I contemplated the truth of that statement. I later deduced that spirituality was nothing more than the “frosted side” of my consciousness. Spirituality was me seeking a deeper understanding of myself through meditation and philosophy. I was at peace with my spirituality. It was logic that was causing me uneasiness.
Although I continually checked the agnostic box for many years, figuratively speaking, it never felt quite right. I was clinging to God like a life preserver in the middle of a vast and dark ocean. He could be out there…don’t let go. My status as an agnostic seemed safe. If I met someone and they were uncomfortable with my agnosticism, I could always fall back on “I'm open to the possibility of God.” I remember when I started calling myself an “agnostic”. Most people automatically assumed I was an atheist. Usually after a brief explanation I would get the “ Well there’s still a chance for you ” kind of comment. Agnostic’s are not sure if there is a god. Atheist’s do not believe- period. To most religious people it simply means, if you’re agnostic “The devil ain’t got you…YET! There’s still hope. If you’re an atheist, it’s pretty much a wrap.
French Mathematician, Physicist and Philosopher, Blaise Pascal, is best known for his theory “Pascal’s Wager” It loosely states, if the existence of God is beyond the scope of human understanding then it would be foolish to bet against his existence. God either is or he isn’t. What is the risk in airing on the side of caution? Hedging your bet so to speak. If you deny God’s existence and you are wrong, you loose everything. If you are right then you have everything to gain. This French cat had me buffering for years. Where was the harm in believing in God?
I wish I had the chance to reason with Pascal. I would have told him that, if God would damn me for not choosing him, then he shouldn’t have given me a choice. I thought, that’s what “Free will” was all about ? What type of god would set me up to fail like this? You can’t possibly determine the measure of a person’s heart, solely based on their belief in YOU as an entity. If this is God’s handy-work, then he needs to go back to school. I’m sure many good people would ( in Pascal’s scenario ) guess one way, while many bad people would statistically guess the other. If there is a God, then surely he is a very complex being. I can’t see him letting it come down to a coin toss. Therefore the only logical conclusion I can arrive at is, if there’s some benevolent magic all father, then his criteria for eternity must surely be more stringent then a 50/50 guess.
Over the years I have studied different religions and spiritual works. Everything from “The Vedas”, “The I-Ching" to the Koran, and The Torah. Just like their cousin “The Bible”,they each have lessons to be learned, jewels to be extracted. That being said, not one of those books lead me to follow their particular doctrine. As a matter of fact, in many of them, the bible in particular, there are some truly bizarre and frightening “ situations.” The underlying feeling I have concluded at the end of the day was, these books were cool to read as works of literature or for casual knowledge- nothing more. I refused to put “God" in the place of the unknown.
Part deux in a week…or so.