For the longest time, I considered myself Atheist/Agnostic. I couldn’t believe in a god without proof, couldn’t accept blind faith as reasonable. And I was convinced that even if I had proof, I couldn’t worship. The things carried out in the name of god or religion, are some of the most atrocious acts in history. Burning woman on stakes or wars based around religion, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea. Why is killing wrong, but it’s ok to do it in the name of god?
I never considered the concepts mutually exclusive, atheism and agnosticism. I always had questions, why is the sky blue, why do I have hair predominantly on my head, are there other planets capable of sustaining complex life forms, is there a god, and if there is why does he need followers, why give free will then punish it, why is one religion right and the rest wrong. Why? Why? Why?
There are so many questions about the universe that science won’t be able answer in my lifetime, and I accept that. And although science may not always get the answers right, it makes an effort to ask the questions. Science is based on theories and observation, and theories can be wrong. That’s the thing that I love about science, it’s great to be wrong because it opens the door to new ideas. It adapts and evolves to incorporate new information.
Faith is stagnant. It’s based on books written by men hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Belief and faith, particularly blind-faith, leave no room to be wrong. It’s my way or the highway.
My biggest pet peeve with religion, particularly Christianity because that’s the one I was more or less raised in, comes from Genesis (I think, I never really read the book :)). Adam and Eve were expelled from paradise for eating fruit from the tree of knowledge. How can someone like myself, rational and curious, follow a religion that says knowledge is bad, don’t ask questions, ignorance is bliss.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why so many feel comfortable just accepting. It’s easy. For myself, as an atheist (I’ve since dropped agnostic completely), I feel isolated. I don’t have a building to go to once a week to meet people who share the same ideals. Which is part of the reason I joined this site and started writing this blog. The only people in my life who are atheist, I’m pretty much responsible for. So the conversation is a little one sided.
Of all the things religion does wrong, it gets one thing right (sort of). It takes the sting out of death. If you live your life a certain way, if you’re good, death is just a temporary. It’s like a grade five graduation; it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s not really a real ending; you’re just moving to a new building.
Again for me, this is the hardest part about being an Atheist. When I die, that’s it. No afterlife, no karmic revival, just dust and ash. It’s depressing, but that doesn’t make me change my mind, it won’t convince me of gods existence. I’m just a little more hesitant to debate believers. If heaven gets you through the day, who am I to convince you otherwise.
So I’m to my question at last, would it be easier just to lie to myself and say: “I believe”? Is it better to be content and ignorant, or alienated but true to myself?