Friday, November 6, 2015

Beyond Belief?

I had another one of THOSE conversations earlier. You know the kind; what begins as an honest, enjoyable discussion of personally held beliefs suddenly escalates into a one-sided shouting match (for the record, I was on the receiving end of the abuse, a situation I do not enjoy). The subject of the diatribe: My Atheism. No, not Atheism in general or in principle but My Own particular case, which I soon discovered was seen as a personal affront to the sensibilities of the Person On The Other Side of the discussion-turned drama session.
What was the big deal? Well, it seems that this person was of the opinion that Atheists deny the existence of a deity, and that my statement of my personal non-belief was an attack on this individual's OWN belief in whichever of the many versions of deity he/she places on a pedestal.
This person was quick on the attack: didn't I know that SCIENCE had proved the existence of a Grand Designer? Wasn't I aware of the vast quantity of historical evidence for a planetary flash-flood that wiped out all but a handful of people? Hadn't I heard the Good News?
Well, yes. I have heard all of the above. I've seen YouTube videos galore that decry "Darwinism" and extol the Design built into our DNA and the very ground we walk upon (including the dinosaur bones buried to "test" faith). And I have read the books as well; Old and New, Psalms and Suras and Revelatory texts all around. I've been in hundreds of THESE conversations as well; sometimes the exchange of views and ideas is frank and informative, often educational. Sometimes, not so much.
I remain unconvinced. I just can't believe in creators and angels and devils, any more than I can force myself to believe in unicorns and dragons or the power of diluted water to carry the essence of healing tinctures or that the positions of the planets along the ecliptic at the time of my birth dictate my future and personality.

It just doesn't make sense to me. Fanciful and arbitary, like many of the Commandments and edicts and Bulls that seek to relay the supposed intent of a god or gods; it all seems of a piece with mythologies and tales of Zeus or Ra or Tiamat.

Yes, I am an Atheist. And so are you. Unless you believe whole-heartedly in ALL gods and demons then you must be Atheistic regarding Poseidon and Apollo, Hera or Ares--or perhaps even Santa Claus!

Atheism, you see, is not a belief per se; instead it is a lack of belief. It's a personal thing, just as your own beliefs are personal to you; it means that I don't believe in God or Gods in general. It most certainly does NOT mean that God or Gods do not exist.

I'm not here to challenge your world-view or to "convert" you, and most other Atheists aren't, either. Most of us respect your right to believe what you wish. But by the same coin, I and many of my fellow non-believers would appreciate it if you would respect OUR rights as well.

If you want to have friendly exchange of views, then I welcome you. If you simply MUST try to save a soul* today, talk to someone else, please.

*I don't believe in those, either...

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