(This is the second of two parts. The first part is here.)
Personally, I don’t have a choice. It’s that simple. I can’t manufacture the faith that so many Christians seem to enjoy – I think it would be disrespectful to do so.
I see religion, every single day, twisted by man into something destructive, something that breeds war, something that breeds abuse, something that breeds oppression, something that attracts and empowers predators.
Sure, I see the good things religion does as well, and in general I am not impressed. Corporations donate to charity – it doesn’t make them good. They get a tax write-off for it.
Churches don’t even pay taxes – they damn well better be doing some serious charity.
Now on a personal level is where I tend to see the most good. A good person gets quite a bit out of religion – peace and security and the strength to keep right on doing good. I think that if you’re going to get rid of your religion, you’d better hang onto the concept of goodness, and keep striving to emulate it.
But I have a hard time understanding why the divinity is so obvious, when evil runs amok within the church. Some trapped miners spot a white butterfly that shouldn’t be there and everyone starts gaping about how it was an angel sent to protect them. But the last time this happened, here in our country, the miners died.
Who decides when the miners get an Angel Butterfly? Who decides when they get screwed?
Some kind of Prayer Bucket system? Fill up the Prayer Bucket, get an Angel Butterfly?
God gets all kinds of credit when He appears to answer prayers, and then He gets a Mysterious Ways Pass every time He appears to ignore them. I can’t get past it – I really can’t.
Not even trying to be disrespectful here, I just truly don’t understand. But here’s the thing: I am positive that some things which I don’t understand turn out to be true. Sometimes I get older and wiser and the incomprehensible comes into focus, and makes perfect sense.
That’s why I’m an agnostic – because I know I could be wrong. I’d be a real rube if I thought that I took Philosophy 101 and that’s it, got everything figured out. I’ll tell you one thing I’ve got rock solid faith in – I am positive that I do NOT have everything figured out.
So once you’ve forced the Agnostic to decide he’s an Atheist, then you’ve really got him, because Atheism is hard to defend. Logically, it’s hard to deny the existence of anything, if it could be anywhere in the universe and it’s invisible.
That’s the purpose of the Flying Spaghetti Monster – you can use any argument supporting the existence of God to support the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. In other words, you can’t disprove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster either, so that’s how philosophically valuable that train of thought is.
So, no, I’m not an Atheist. I just don’t happen to believe in God, because I personally don’t have in my experiences any reason to. Some Christians tell me that’s part of my journey, that God won’t take me until I’ve seen the light. And okay, they’re trying to be nice – I appreciate it.
But before you get angry at the Atheist for appearing to tell everyone in the world that they are wrong, understand that if you are a Christian, you are telling billions of people they are wrong as well.
I mean, sure, 95% of the world has a religion, maybe a little more than that. But that doesn’t mean it’s all of them versus the Atheists. Because if the Christians are right, the Hindus are wrong and so are the Buddhists and the Scientologists and the ancient Greeks. And they’ve got some pretty stark and obvious disagreements with the Muslims and Jews, you may have noticed.
Sure, I know you can tell me that maybe all religions are paths to the same Truth – but that’s not what the religions tell you. They don’t say, “The gist of this is true, and as long as you sort of dig the gist of it, you’re going to be cool, dude.”
No. Christianity for example says, “Thou shalt take no other Gods before me.” Right there in the Commandments, baby. You have to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, or you’re going to Hell. All you billions of religious non-Christians – the Bible says you’re wrong, oh yes it surely does.
If you’re a Christian you believe the Hindus are wrong just as surely as an Atheist believes you are. Many of those Hindus are older than you, have believed longer than you. So why is it you think the Atheist is a jerk and you’re a Christian Solider?
In fact, when you are religious, you are saying something slightly more rude and outrageous than the Atheist is. All the Atheist is saying is, I don’t accept things on faith and I don’t believe things I don’t have strong reasons for believing.
What a religious guy is saying is, my religion which I can’t prove and which I accept on faith, is right, but your religion which you can’t prove and which you accept on faith, is wrong.
There are no such things as invisible dinosaurs, except for my invisible dinosaur right here. His name is Pete.
Standing there in a room full of people with invisible dinosaurs, acting like I’m some kind of a jerk for saying listen, maybe none of you all have dinosaurs. I mean, wouldn’t we be able to smell their farts?
Actually, I don’t even say that. I just say, “No, I don’t have an invisible dinosaur, I’m not really into them.” Sometimes someone throws a tomato at me for that. Sometimes they throw them at my kids.
Yes, Atheists are nice, all right. They’re just as nice as anybody else is.
But sure, I think every single one of us – religious or otherwise – could stand to be a little nicer.