Another evangelical Christian expressed her dismay at my lack of faith in ‘god’ today. I wonder how she came to such a conclusion.
Consider this... I believe things when it jives with real evidence. I buy a notion when its predictions and assumptions are borne out of established patterns of nature and experimental data or a solid line of testable reasoning that can be repeated by anyone with the necessary tools. Nature itself and reality are the arbiter of what I accept as truth. If god is the maker of nature or is nature itself, why would it have any problem with that?
On the other hand, her ‘faith in god’ is not based on ‘god’ at all. It is based on what some men wrote in a bunch of books thousands of years ago that hundreds of years later were compiled by another bunch of men who picked and chose what books to keep or to leave out - whose motives were based as much on politics as they were on beliefs. Not only does she NOT have any certain knowledge that any of the original authors were actually god or were inspired by one, she doesn’t know for sure nor does she have an indisputable chain of evidence that attest to the identity of the actual author the individual books of this religious text she worships. If you are one of those who actually think that the books of the Bible were written by the men they are named after, you have some serious research to do. Most of them weren't!
And yes, I said ‘the religious text she worships’... She can dispute that all she wants while claiming to worships ‘god’ (not just any one of the many different ideas of god put forward by many different religions, but ‘the god’... As if her willingness to believe it makes it more true than all the other notions of gods out there that she hadn’t even put in the time to investigate and study yet.... And likely never will. Bite that, Pascal!), but there is a difference, a crucial difference, between worshiping what one thinks (hopefully after having put a lot of thoughts into it) ‘god’ really is, and worshiping what other people say ‘god’ is or did or said or wants. When one would brush aside what nature itself can testify to in favor of what a man-made church and/or its representative says god said... Think about it... the choice is really between nature (which no man can fake since it is something only a ‘god’ would have control of) and what other men wrote and say and want you to believe (also, remember what the pastor is owing his livelihood to).
If you are a god, how would you enjoy it when a bunch of self-righteous men go around trying to pass their own ideas off as yours? And what would you think of the sheep that willingly accept such travesties as YOURS without considering first what your real scope of capability is? Would Renoir be thrilled with you if you ‘faithfully’ pay $1,000,000 for a grade-school level painting that I said was done by Renoir but really wasn’t?
A god that is responsible for every single thing in this mind-blowingly large universe from the tiniest of subatomic particles to the biggest of stars and galaxies, from inanimate pebbles on the beach to thinking human beings... And you are willing to believe that that powerful a god lacks the ability to directly communicate with you and has to ask some other lowly human beings to be his middle-men? To write for him? To speak for him? Honestly?
If the answer is still yes, well, I have this suspension bridge uptown that I’d love to get off my street that you can have for a very reasonably price...
Am I an atheist? No... The closest description of me is as an agnostic. Whether I am a theist or not depends almost entirely on how ‘god’ is defined. I can entertain believing in a ‘god’ that is defined as nature itself, or its most fundamental laws/essence. Though I wouldn’t be ‘worshiping’ it. A god by that definition would be in everything... me and the snail and the deer droppings on the yard included. A ‘god’ as defined with all the weird mixes of human qualities (i.e; jealousy, vengefulness, lust, temper tantrums, all sorts of emotional insecurities, and whatever else things humans feel) that the theistic religions, with perhaps the exception of the Deists, believe in, I don’t buy for a minute.
Now, I’m not writing this up to try to convert anyone. I’m just fed up with being evangelized all the time by the various Christians who have now taken to hanging at street corners in downtown and sticking their ‘come to god’ pamphlets in my face whenever I pass by (this is no isolated occurrence! It's something evangelical Christians are doing all the time now, unapologetically and with complete disregard to their preys' thinking). The 'self-defense' excuse doesn't fly when you are the ones playing offense! You guys ought to be careful... there might actually be a god out there who isn't keen on having words put in its mouth!
I have no faith in a ‘god’. If there is one, it and I can do fine without it.
Rather, I have faith in the consistency of nature
And that those who judge by the weight of empirical evidence and sound reasoning
are less susceptible to manipulation and malice than those
who defer to the judgment of revered others and humanly authors of scriptures
to avoid being ultimately accountable for their own deeds and thoughts.
I have faith in neighborly good deeds...
That are not done just for the sake of one’s religion
and not in the hope of postmortem rewards
or to avoid possible eternal punishment,
but because their doers are genuinely compassionate
and are capable of the empathy that makes them aware of their own vulnerability.
Faith in fantasy is easy. Living with things as they really are and accepting one's own limitations and actual lack of absolute knowledge is harder. But you at least get to say in the end; 'At least I know that I don't know and didn't go around pretending to know something I really didn't.'