Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Atheistic Religion

*Note: this was inspired by a radio broadcast and not a rebuttal of Nolens Volens post. It's just one of life's little coincidences*

I was driving in to work last night, listening one of my favorite radio shows (conspiracy theorists and nut cases), when I got so aggravated that I needed to write. The guest for the night was Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptic magazine and very vocal atheist. The reason that this irritated me to no end was his atheism led him to casually dismiss everything out of the ordinary, despite having no evidence or first hand experience.

The Skeptic magazine supposedly promotes critical thinking:
"Under the direction of Dr. Michael Shermer, the Society engages in scientific investigation and journalistic research to investigate claims made by scientists, historians, and controversial figures on a wide range of subjects" from http://www.skeptic.com

I'm a particularly skeptical person and I'm a very critical thinker, yet I found his arguments and attitudes, and those made of his magazine, to be pretty ridiculous and close minded. Of course, I've been skeptical of atheists for a long time now.

Neither of my parents are particularly devout and yet for a long time I believed, as they did, that there was 'something' out there, that there was something after this life. Gradually, as I got older, that faded out and I started to believe that there wasn't anything to the world that I couldn't see or touch. I thought that religion was just a feel-good thing shared by people with weak intellect, plus they were so blinding and judgmental. If there is a god I can't imagine him/her/it/them turning a person away from Heaven for reading the wrong book or believing what their parents tell them.

My senior year of High School I watched a debate between an atheist I respected and a Christian (I should probably mention that the Christian churches around my home town were particularly coercive and demented, I despised them). Something about the debate left a bad taste in my mouth. Both of them ended up sounding equally spiteful and petty but that wasn't the reason. As I reviewed their arguments I realized that neither could prove their point: "There's a God!" "No, there isn't!" That's when I realized that the atheist had just as much 'faith' that there was nothing as the Christian did for there being something.

Once I realized that, plenty of other things became clear too. Atheism is basically a religion all it's own. It's just as faith-based, as judgmental, and as close-minded as any major religion. You ask enough questions of any 'religious' person and they'll get angry. After enough you'll eventually get the most important answer; "I don't know".

Why do certain combination of nerve cells suddenly become conscious? What was before the big bang and why did it happen at all? Why does God create people destined for hell?

There are so many things in life that science and religion can hardly understand or explain, why pretend that we know the answers?

I decided that "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer, nothing to get upset or angry over. I'm now a very proud Agnostic, skeptical of everything and yet dismissive of nothing. I've had plenty of experiences that can't be explained very well, that make me look at the world with wonder and curiosity. I revel in learning, listening, and experiencing life with a mind open to it's own conclusions.

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