I'm debating whether or not this space and the writing that fills it can be considered "constructive." Whatever the case may be, this evening I turn to it in lieu of certain large papers that are bearing down.
Of late my encounters with Christianity have been many. From the encounter with a friend about an early blog, to an unsuccessful conversion attempt to, to a recent viewing of "Jesus Camp" and culminating this evening with news about killings in a missionary training facility and televangelists on late-night TV. Maybe someone is trying to send me a message?
Perhaps without taste I asked a different friend (whom I knew to detest missionary work) if she had been in Colorado recently. Such is the reality of humor many times. Still it provoked a brief conversation where she asked if anti-religious sentiments might be the motive. While I'm sure that the perpetrators of this crime in Colorado will be accused as hating god and religion and once again sully the name of atheists, the irony of the situation is that those who are "against" religion are not the ones that have tendency towards violence. Some might call us peace-nicks. Indeed, still another friend (for isn't through others and the world around us that we truly perceive and realize ourselves?) jokes at my being walked over or avoiding conflict due to my pacifist ideologies. Why is it that without god the world suddenly becomes a much more reasonable, happy and peaceful place? It must be that pesky devil seducing my mind with such temptations.
Religions are interesting in that they tend to accuse sects within their cosmologies more of being, say, not Christian, than they do competing religions. This comes to light in Christianity the most, although I know Muslims are won't to criticize Suni or Shia Islam. The evangelical movement in the United States is an interesting case, then, for they say that they are saved and that other forms of Christianity, say Catholicism, got it wrong. The reverse is true when "true" Christians condemn the often militaristic message and practices of extreme evangelicals. Still other Christians might speak out against all church organization period, claiming that finding Jesus can only happen on an individual message (yet they still try and tell others to find Jesus in the same way). With all this bickering within the Christian faith, what are we to make? It is not necessary for me to add other religions like Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism into the mix to further complicate the message of true salvation that all sects of Christianity offer for one or another.
I am glad, then, to have been "saved" by Mother Earth, Darwin, Marx, Vonnegut, Einstein (and the like); indeed saved by my own logic and critical nature. For atheists have an opportunity to experience such religious bickering from a different perspective. What I see is that many many different, often irreconcilable, cosmologies are stubbornly preaching that it is their way and their alone that will offer the individual salvation and make one's life complete. Individuals within each cosmology, then, feel the right and NEED to say that others are incorrect and (drawing of my own experience) imply that their lives are forfeit (pointless?) and that they are too arrogant to accept the "truth." Who has the right to make such statements? Not I, not the Christian faith, not anyone. Truth is not an absolute concept, it is individual, fluid and dynamic. Nothing incites more disrespect within me than when someone has the nerve to tell me that my way is wrong, their's is right and that I need to see that or accept my fate as a hopeless soul. My ideology is not for other's to judge just as other's are not mine to judge. Clearly I have opinions of Christianity and am not afraid to point out discontinuities, but have I said explicitly in this blog that Christianity is wrong? That Christians are denying the Secular Humanist truth? That they are too proud to humble themselves to reality? No, because no one, be they a deity incarnate or not, has the place, experience or cognitive ability to say that one way is right and the other wrong.
Is it an atheist who likely killed those missionaries in Colorado? Is it someone like me, who by seeing beyond god, allows (indeed, humbles) his mind to the fact that it is not all-knowing? Was it someone who respects not only all human life, but all forms of human thinking (without feeling high and mighty enough to PITY the helpless ignoramus)? No. Likely this perpetrator has put faith in some sort of concrete ideology that offers no questioning, only comfort in not asking questions, a false certainty. Is this perpetrator likely to be Christian? I don't believe so. Muslim? Even less likely than Christian. This was probably purely random. Perhaps for that reason it has little connect to this rant.
I am an atheist. I have concluded, through what I conceive to be logical thought, that the physical realm that we inhabit is the only one we can fully experience during our cognitive biological life. When we die, our organic remains are recycled by nature and we travel into the same nothingness that we spawned from. There is an equilibrium of energy in the universe and always has been. Seeing that this life is all that we have, we might as well make the most of it, without shrugging off the problems and turmoils as tools of the devil and illusory. I'm not perfect. I'm not saved, I'm not loved. I'm responsible, to myself and to humanity. All who wish to prove me wrong and tell me that I am blind to the "real" truth. To all those people: Kiss My Heretical Demonic Ass!
5 weeks ago