Tuesday, November 27, 2012
On being agnostic
When it comes to questions of god or spirituality I have, more often than not, been quiet on the subject. I've had plenty of conversations about it with friends and family and certainly don't mind discussing it when asked. But I don't generally shout it from the rooftops or buy billboards or create commercials for TV. In contrast I've been subjected to a constant stream of of ads in print, billboards and on television telling me that I need Jesus and that Mormon's are awesome.
Enough. I'm done being silent. I'm fed up having religion pushed on me and being told I would burn in some nasty hot place down below. Fed up hearing about how there is a war on Christmas and Christianity. I call bullshit. If you want to believe in unicorns or the flying spaghetti monster or a Beluga Whale named Marv that can heal the sick with a wink, please, be my guest. But please, do you have to convert me? Must you push and push and push your belief into every corner of the planet?
Let me offer a few observations on your religion (if you have one).
1. It is, quite simply, make believe. I say this because religion is, more often than not, based on a book of some sort written by a guy (usually) or a group of guys (usually) that made it all up. Seriously. They made it up. No proof at all. I went up into the hills and heard a voice. On and on and on.
2. In any good creative story there is revision and boy do we have plenty of that. From year to year, decade to decade the rules change. Oh, you can do that now because some white dude in a closed room with other white dudes decided it is now ok. Or it's not. I can't remember. But, apparently these fellas have a hotline to the big fella in imaginaryville. It seems a bit fishy to me. No Marv, I was not offering you a fish.
3. Why the aggression? In it's most recent form it is very interesting to look at the religious right in the U.S. They are in a constant cultural war against those that are different from they. I don't doubt that much of this is a part of a scheme of distraction by those in power that would much prefer the vast sea of poor people fight amongst themselves but nevertheless it is a constant wave of aggression that often spills over to actual violence against very real people who's sole crime is being gay or different from the believer in some way. Yes, apparently it's okay to hurt people.
4. Why the violence? Yes, the aggression spills over to violence. Be it war or hate crimes, the history of religion is chock full of violence. I don't think I need to create a sub-list here do I? Jesus carried a machine gun you say? Why not, it's no sillier than all the other stuff he did. And Jesus said unto Marv, "I have no fish today."
I could go on with this list and I probably will at some point in the near future. My reason for bringing this up today is that I've recently had a string of interactions with religious folks that pushed me to the conclusion that organized religion really does require a kind of willful ignorance and a partial if not nearly absolute suspension of critical thinking. There is a fear of the unknown. As the thinking goes, if I don't immediately understand a particular phenomena it's better to construct a story about how a wizard in the sky created said phenomena.
This is where science comes in. We don't have to rely wizards an whales to make sense of the world around us. Just as Copernicus and then Kepler and Newton successfully challenged the make believe constructions of the church 500 years ago, today's scientists are, everyday, moving our understanding of how the universe works forward. The scientific method is a fantastic tool in that it is the basis for getting at the truth. No, we don't have it all nor will we ever. It is an exploration and the point is to make the effort. At no point is it helpful to step back and say, I don't understand this right now so it cannot be explained and must be the work of a higher power. That is the moment of giving up and choosing to fill a gap in knowledge with silly putty. It's not necessary. It is perfectly ok for us to have gaps in our understanding. There will always be such gaps and that's what moves us forward.
So no, I won't be accepting Jesus Christ and I sure wish you'd stop telling me I should. I'm not making a war on your religion though I find it interesting that you are so quick to think war is being made upon you. What I AM doing, in response to your constant crowing, is a bit of my own tweeting. Tweet tweet. Translation: there is no proof that there is a god. In many thousands of years no proof has been offered. Furthermore, your churches have historically, and are this very day, attempting to stand in the way of our understanding the universe. Please stop.