An epiphany...I have been doing a great deal of reading on atheism. While I am sure that many people have come to this same conclusion before me I am still impressed that I came up with this on my own in my own little mind.
I was reading about the god of the Old Testament and as we all know he was fairly unpleasant. This seemed to be so different from what my parents taught me about god. They did warn me however that god was watching over me and that he was keeping track of my activities and that I should be sure to behave when I was not being monitored by a parent or older sibling. In fact the sibling closest to me in age seemed to be doing a much better job at monitoring, reporting and often punishing any crimes that I committed than this god I was warned about. It turned out that I was to become more afraid of my sister than god over time because her retribution was swift and painful while god seemed to be absent.
This sister I speak of, though I now love her very much, is still enmeshed in the whole god thing. Well anyway to get on with my "revelation". I realized, as I was reading the latest atheist book, that this god has evolved over time to become a more compassionate and loving god and this evolution, though slow (there is a lizard in Florida that has evolved faster than this guy) has seemed to correspond with the changes in attitudes regarding human rights. God needs to exist for many people, this much is clear, but why do they fail to see this?
One of my favorite songs of all time is Dear God by XTC and there is one line in the song that always spoke volumes to me: "Did you make mankind or did we make you?" or something like that. I had to sing it to myself to get it close so please don't lambast me for misquoting the song. (Too lazy to google it) I think I get the point across.
After watching many debates and reading many of the arguments regarding science and reason vs. religion I am quite convinced that this argument will go on for a long long time. There are many devoted theists out there who will simply refuse to see what is right in front of them and you can debate them over and over again and while they continue to loose the debate they continue to fail to see what we, as rationalists, see.
I came to believe as I do thanks mostly to Carl Sagan and company. I have always had a great love for science and medicine and the processes by which we determine the truths of nature. I am much more impressed with the truth of nature and the nature of the universe as revealed by science. It is so much more exciting to be shown how something really works and not how an ancient text says something is supposed to work.
It has always been the nature of humans to take the oldest most enduring "truths" (old wives tales and the like) and put more "faith" in them than in the newest findings of science and that could be our minds telling us to be careful of what is new due to the fact that, well, it is new and we don't know as much about this new finding and that we should be careful of this information. However, we also know that we embrace new technologies and new findings with a zeal that is sometimes harmful. So we are in a kind of rock and hard spot type of place when it comes to new things. We would like to know that we have conquered a disease or that we have put polio and small pox behind us but as science shows us that is not completely possible. But imagine this; what if we were fighting a disease and some god comes along and waves his magic wand and makes the disease go away. What does that teach us? We have learned down through the eons that there is no magic bullet and we now know that despite the advances in antibiotics that these drugs that have saved lives have boosted evolution for the very pathogens ther were made to erradicate.
So now we are looking at a new more virulent strain of bacterium. This is science at its best. Back to the magic wand guy. Say we had this cure and the bacterium that the magic wand got rid of came back. . There is no research or articles of information available to get the magic wand guy to come back and take away this new strain. Say that we have only a smattering of information from eyewitnesses and someone may have written some things down. No one knows how to summon the magic wand guy back, so they start doing things like crazy dances or praying or something completely useless that probably will not work.
Clearly, this is not how science works and thankfully we do no rely on only a few references to verify scientific findings and while we may be facing a new strain of an old bug we are in posession of, not only great scientific minds, we have a great deal of research to back it up and we can then approach this new strain with these tools. We are not starting from square one, we know these things because of many years of research. Going to magic wand guy would be starting from square one because no one knows who he was or where he came from and how to get him to come back and get rid of this new disease.
I am a human being and I can be very irrational from time to time but for the most part I try to keep my mind in the here and now and not go bantering about in the supernatural world of lunatics. As a kid I was fascinated by the supernatural but as time passed I noticed, as most of us do, that these things that we were warned of never happen. NEVER EVER!! And that is why I am an atheist today. The rational side of life is so much more rewarding and frankly it has made the quality of my life such that if this world were to go totally nuts and become overrun with theists I know that in my own mind I am safe.
Let us hope that this never happens. I like being able to state my opinion without fearing for my life. Another wonderful thing we have learned as humans by humans and for humans.