Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why I call my self an Atheist....

This past Sunday, LWBUT posed a question on his blog.

The question was:

Just WHO’s Universe IS this anyway

My response was as follows:

Maybe it’s ours! :)

Maybe God created it for us and it’s His gift to us.

Ours is to explore and understand it, and through that endeavor, understand Him?

Just a thought. :)

Later, in response to a another commenter's positive response I further qualified my statement with following:

I should qualify my earlier statement:

I didn’t mean to say God created it only for us (humanity)…there may well be other intelligences in the Universe… it would be theirs too. And why not…

All evidence suggests it’s a really BIG place!!

LWBUT then asked me:
could you please ‘explain’ to J just how you ‘arrived’ at….(my response to LWBUT's question)
This little diatribe is my endeavor to do just that!

So if I read you correctly, LWBUT, you are asking for my personal statement of belief, which should illuminate how I come to my House Rules.

First, let me relay a bit of United States political history. Back in May of 2001 one of the US Senators from Vermont, Jim Jeffords, left the Republican Party and became an Independent. He decided to leave because he could not in good conscience reconcile his personal values with those of the Republican Party. Think about the courage of that course of action. He decided to become an Independent and for the purposes organization he would caucus with the Democrats.

Now you are no doubt asking:

"What the Hell does this have to do with you Robert? Why are you relaying this bit of history?"

Because my spiritual situation is analogous to it. I WAS a Catholic (Christian), I left that religion because I could not in good faith call myself a Christian or a Catholic while not subscribing to the majority of the beliefs such a title would require. I became a free-thinker. For the purposes of organization I call myself an atheist.

This is not a decision I took lightly! There are many reasons why I came to this action. Now, I'll try to outline them.

Over many years I came to a realization:

The God that we Christians believe in based on the Bible is nothing more than a petty tyrant. We are anthropomorphizing the almighty into a spoiled child hovering over ants on sidewalk with a magnifying glass.

There are many instances in both the Old and New Testaments that describe God with many human faults and failings.

I am not going to outline them here, for that is not the purpose of this entry.

These human faults and failings that are being used to describe God, demean the very idea of God.

So I came to the conclusion that the approximation of God made in the Christian Bible is no more valid to modern 3rd millennium human beings than the Earth centered cosmology of the distant past.

This my first statement of personal belief:

"1. I do not believe in the existence of GOD as described in any version of the Christian Bible, Old and/or New testaments, nor the Islamic Koran."

All Christians, whether they admit to it or not, are atheists with regards to belief in other Gods described by different religious traditions.

The difference between myself and one of those Christians is I add one more God to my list of mythological Gods.

Now please read that statement again. Is there anything in there that implicitly or explicitly says: "There is NO God!"

I can't find any way to twist it to make such a claim!

My contention is that no one can make a statement like, "There is NO god", and then prove the assertion using logic and reason.

Most atheists assert something different.

A thinking atheist will say: "I have no evidence to logically and reasonably support the existence of a God."

That is not to say that no such evidence exists. There may very well be physical evidence of a supreme being. It hasn't been found yet.

Some philosophical theists may take issue with that statement which they are free to do. They'll say that there are many good arguments for the existence of God:

Cosmological · Ontological · Transcendental · Teleological

Do these arguments really rely on evidence of a physical nature?

The first three seem, to me anyway, more based on philosophical or religious sophistry.

The fourth argument, the teleological, comes close to the physical evidence standard. Garden variety theists use this argument all the time. Basically this is the fine-tuning argument which says that the universe is too perfectly tuned for our existence hence God created it as such.

Well maybe. Even if any or all of these arguments are correct or valid, does it logically follow from any of them that the Christian concept of God is real?

The answer is a resounding NO!

These arguments do nothing to advance a proof of the Christian God. They are concerned with the general idea of God, not the specific Christan God.

The Christian idea of God is only supported by the Bible, a book of questionable authorship translated multiple times over 2000 years. Realistically you cannot appeal to logic and/or reason for it's defense. It is, by definition, a matter of faith.

If your belief in God is routed in your faith in the Bible and you are comfortable with that, I cannot argue with that nor would I try to. True faith is beyond the scope of logic and reason. If however you are trying to argue for the truth of Christianity from the standpoint of logic and reason, I'm sorry, but you're trying build a fortress on shifting sand.

Now you may be asking:
"So what is it that you believe in Robert?!"
That's a valid question.

I'm still searching for a closer approximation to God.

I don't know for sure what the nature of God is.

I have come to another statement of belief with the help of Mr. Sagan:

2. "I believe that we are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

We are stardust! The atoms in our bodies were synthesized in the violent explosions of stars billions of years ago. That matter has arisen through the natural laws of the Cosmos to consciousness and intelligence. Now that intelligence is contemplating its origins. What could be more beautiful?

How does anything I just said demean us?

I think it makes life more precious, more priceless.

But what is our purpose?

Where did this Cosmos and the natural laws that govern it come from?

The short answer?

I don't know.

But I think that this mystery is the essence of the God question.

It brings me to my "House Rules"

The Cosmos and our existence in it is a gift from God!

The Cosmos belongs to all of us who are conscious and who are able to appreciate its beauty.

Through the exploration and eventually understanding of this Cosmos we will come to understand that which is responsible for its existence, God if you like.
I hope this helps you to understand me a bit more.

R
"We can walk our road together
If our goals are all the same.
We can run alone and free
If we pursue a different aim.
Let the truth of love be lighted,
Let the love of truth shine clear.
Sensibility, armed with sense and liberty,
With the Heart and Mind united in a single perfect Sphere."
- Neil Peart from "Hemispheres"

3 comments:

Jason said...

Hiya Robert,

Thanks for accepting my apology.

I appreciate you layin it out there, and it is a challenge to me to be more forthright so that others may challenge and temper my own ontological scaffolding.

Of course I disagreed with nearly all of it, but that would figure. There is just too much to get to. I suppose we will as things roll along, pull back the layers and see what is inside of both of us.

Although...

"in a single...
perfect....
sphere...."

and Circumstances hitting hard..

duhduhduhduh

duhduhduh duh duh

duhduhduhduuuuuuuh

duhduhduhduuuuuuuh

"Aiii Boy along so far from home..."

I haven't thought about that in a long time. Thanks.

SirRobert said...

I wouldn't have expected you to agree with me you narrow-minded Calvinist...just kidding...

Your beliefs are your own and you needn't apologize for them anymore than I will apologize for mine.

Anyone who can identify a RUSH song is OK in my book!

R

Jason said...

I went to see em on "Grace Under Pressure", "Power Windows", "Hold Your Fire" and "Presto". Would have loved to see them on this last thing they did, doing their marathon Springsteen impression but, alas, life happens.