Thursday, July 3, 2014

Reflection #6 - The Process of Elimination - Part B "Christianity to Agnostic to Atheist"

For the first 12 or 13 years of my life I just assumed that there was a god and not only "a" god, but God.  The real one, the father of Jesus and the bad ass that destroyed the whole earth in the flood (save Noah) and rained fire on the LGBT community of Sodom and Gomorrah and gave his own son's life for us puny humans to have forgiveness and everlasting life. 

Much like my belief in Santa Claus, I was ready, able and eager to dismiss that particular god as one of many and the stories of his power and awesomeness as some set of parables and mythology given to us by creative writers who were attempting to explain things that we didn't understand, give us some moral guidance and keep large groups of people from getting out of control and turning our well planned and complex civilization into anarchy.

I was NOT however, willing to give up my "innate sense" that there had to be "something", some purpose, some energy turning the wheel, some god or god-like entity the didn't even have to be very active in the details of my life or things in general, but a prime mover, a final answer, a go-to solid hub or anchor in this seemingly chaotic Universe.

I therefore started to categorize myself as Agnostic.   Basically the belief that there is a higher power, but its existence doesn't really matter to a self aware species on a small blue planet in the middle of nowhere, other than to give us comfort that things aren't as arbitrary as they sometimes seem.  

So for 30 or more years, I lived and thought as an Agnostic.  I bothered to spend a lot of time reading and contemplating the origin and purpose of the Universe.  I read and attempted to understand and internalize numerous books, everything from dumbed-down popular descriptions of scientific and philosophical ideas to some slightly more complex books on those subjects.  Science, Philosophy and Theology were the main categories of my reading.  I also read the Bible from cover to cover (not easy), the Qur'an, some of the Torah, several Hindu texts, a couple of books co-authored by the Dalai Lama and several on Buddhism in general.  I even read biographies and autobiographies of famous philosophers, scientists and the great writers and thinkers of the age of cultured man.   In the years between grad school and "fairly recently", I have likely read over 300 complete texts and another 500 articles or short writings.  All the while, assuming that the question of the existence of some prime force was a given.

Then one day I woke up and just said, "this is silly".  Basically, I decided that being agnostic was the wimp's way out.  I realized, like many people, I was trying to have it both ways.  Too smart to believe in that stupid virgin birth story, but too scared to put my eternal soul on the line and fully commit to non-belief.

There was no clear indication in any of the texts that I studied that the Universe has a fundamental NEED for a god, nor was any EVIDENCE of the existence of such a being, energy, entity, etc.. presented.   I realized that only habit and fear kept me from admitting what I had learned over these years - that there is no god, God or anything.  It was as simple as that.  After expending so much effort on trying to answer the most fundamental questions about the Universe,  all I had to do was to accept the answer.  There is no god.

Let's face it.  There is a lot of stuff written in physics books and most of it is testable and true.  I mean we have airplanes, TV, nuclear bombs and cell phones.  There is a lot of stuff written in religious texts, very little of it is testable and true and as far as I know, God, Moses, Muhammad, Jesus or the Buddha have no impact on my cell phone reception, although sun spots do.  

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