First to give some background, I am a recovering Catholic who dabbled with Lutheran Evangelical stuff in my high school years. I have since grown up to think on my own.
So… I have been pondering Atheism and what is means for a bit, and while I don’t expect to find an answer to this via Tumblr, or any response at all for that matter… This is simply my way of laying out and reviewing ideas I’ve had to see if they make any sense.
Today I detest the manipulative, corrupt, and insincere nature of established religion and their flawed dogma. But… am I atheist? That is the question I have been trying to figure out for years. It seems like an easy question but from my standpoint it isn’t.
Some people believe to be atheist is to believe there is no “god”. But while I don’t agree with the definition of “god” in any commonly recognized religious terms, I believe I don’t know whats going on, or how we got here. That uncertainty is what drives many people to religion. It drives me to science and the facts they have proven so far. The best way for us to understand what it is we are doing here, or what got us here is by research at a scientific level, leveraging scientific theory. Reading a story by some people 2000 years ago (or longer) is nothing more than that… a story.
The information being discovered every day by scientists helps me continue to believe that the answer is either relatively simplistic, or overwhelmingly complex and hard to even conceptualize. This polar view I hold is that this is either something completely random and unique, or something/someone/somehow brought life into being. Whether that is the “random seeding” concept, or a kick start/framework event by some outside means, or some incomprehensibly complex interactions of carbon, phosphorus, nitrogen, oxygen formed into amino acids, and by chance started organizing into DNA,cells, tissue, etc…
Still the random and “by chance” aspect leaves tons of questions that may never be answered. The complexity of modern mammals is mind boggling to think that happened randomly. But being someone who appreciates science, and respects the research being done, it is as plausible that is the answer as anything else.
For me, its this polar view, and the questions of “if we were seeded, or something started life here… who started them?” that begs me to consider the possibility that some truly random event happened at some point to spark life in the universe (if not just on earth). But on earth, I am drawn to think about the “what ifs” about life being kick started or seeded by some outside influence. The sheer variety, complexity and differences between all creatures (insects, crustaceans, molds/fungi, etc…) here take the hard to understand evolution of just mammals and make that many times more complex and hard to understand how that all came form an initial fortunate combination of elements.
Do I believe in an ethereal ghost who controls fate? NO. I believe we are what we are, and we do what we do. What transpired to get us here, while possibly completely random, or kicked started in some way, was (as far as I think) random and of our own fate.
The term “God” as a omnipotent controlling force, is a pacifier for the masses. Its something people can run to and be comfortable with, when they question themselves and others. It validates, reinforces, and perpetuates future use… just like drugs. I believe it was a great story, built during a period of life on earth where people were lost, looking for answers, and looking to convince others their ideas/ideals were more right. So in simpler terms – Control.
I also believe the term “God” is used as a catch-all to collect money from easily manipulated people. Whats an older than religion? profit. Money/Value drives everything and has since the earliest man. What better to earn money than capitalizing on peoples phobias, insecurities, and/or questions about fate? Religion is the best money making enterprise I can think of. It preys on the weakest, most damaged, and most hopeless among us.
While I say it preys on the weak, I do not deny that its giving people a story that can give them hope. But it is no different than people reading a book like “The Secret” and changing their way of life based on that. (note: I haven’t read The Secret, and don’t know much about it other than some people change their life around that book and its guidance) From what I understand, it’s a good story, has a positive message, and can help you focus your efforts to improve yourself. The difference is, no one thinks “The Secret” was delivered by some higher being, it’s just some ideas and tips.
People in general should do what ever it is that makes them happy, and what ever gives them purpose and drive in life. The area that religion takes a sinister turn, is the judgement of those who don’t follow the ideas of the “Church”. I refuse to believe any “god”, or entity would want creatures of free will to hate and control those who don’t agree with them on some of the most personal topics. The most evil aspects of human nature shown in the last 2000 years have been religion driven. Think back – most every war, atrocity, or mass death event as far as history goes has been tied back to religious belief structures, or persecuting those who believe.
Why is it so hard to just say “I don’t know…” and accept that maybe we aren’t supposed to, or we haven’t gotten to the point where we can (given that in theory we are still evolving.. as much as Jersey Shore is trying to stall the progress). Maybe we are supposed to just live life while we are here the best we can, be good to one another, and leave what got us here to scientists to discover in time, or not.
So in closing … Am I an atheist? I don’t believe in the omnipotent creature controlling fate. But I also don’t know what he history of our evolution is (Although I 100% think that evolution is how we have grown to be what we are today), and have trouble imagining how random events can create, without any guidance or framework, such incredibly delicate and complex structures in nature from some raw elements mixed together.