What am I?

Sent in by Harry McNichol

I believe this is the fourth time that I have posted here. This time, I am as spiritually confused as ever. The good thing is I've gotten over my obsession with Islam. Now I am starting to question my own faith in the Church and questioning everything really. Last post, I believe I said that it seemed like I was afraid of the truth because it was staring me in the face.

This semester at school I am taking a Theory and Methodology of Religion class and the prof is an atheist. The readings I have been dealing with have really made me question the validity of religion and faith.

John Lennon's song "Imagine" is kind of my theme song. As far as hell goes, I don't believe in that. As far as heaven is concerned, who knows? Then I got to thinking, wouldn't it be nice if there were no religions in the world? No 9/11, no fundys banging their bibles or the alter boys, no murder in the name of Allah, Jesus, God....etc.,

To me, religion is man made. That's a given. As for the scriptures, they have about as much divine origin as these words on this page: these are my words, not God's. The bible and the Koran, and every other scripture for that matter, were written by men/women who wrote down their ideas about the super-natural.

Am I ready to accept the concept of Atheism? I'm not so sure. I'm probably more leaning to Agnosticism right now, but then again, what is the point of label's anyways? I am a free thinking human being, intellectually trying to sort out what I know and think I know.

FACT: I am Alive. I still view life as a mystery, though this mystery need not be from divine origin. Then again, the answers aren't always there. I acknowledge that I don't have all the answers, but the more I look at life and religion and my background in Christian belief, the more I am doubting it.

Genesis in the bible was probably copied from Babylonian myths and transferred into Jewish stories to explain the mystery of life. Fast forward through time and the Bible as it is today was decided by men hundreds of years ago, who decided which books were inspired and which books were heretical. Any book that didn't fit their perogative was burned or thrown out.

The origin of the universe is a mystery to me. How did this universe come into existence by itself, if there was no divine intelligence behind it all?

When I think of the concept of "God" I question the idea of eternality. Sure, we are finite and in time and space and our finite minds can't grasp what was before time. But God would have to exist before he existed. God had to have a beginning, just like the universe. So what really happened? Was God sitting up there in heaven and decided to create us? Who created God? And if God does exist, why did he create "Satan" and the demons and stuff, knowing full well in his omniscience that evil would run rampant in God's "perfect" creation? An omniscient God would surely have the insight to not create such a mess as we find ourselves in today.

The religionists would like us/me to believe that God has a plan. He has a plan for every single person on this earth. Life is a test and if we pass then our life will continue into eternal bliss. If we fail, then doom on us forever.

My preliminary beliefs as they stand now: Yes, indeed there is an eternity. When we die, time stops. Our lives we lived come to a finite point and we go into that abyss of eternal sleep. To the end of time, the materials that make us what we are mesh into the universe. All our atoms and molecules join the other atoms and molecules in this universe of ours.

What happened to my dog when we put her to sleep? Did she float off into some magical heaven where she can chase rabbits forever and ever Amen? We had her cremated and she sits in our living room to this day. The molecules and atoms that made her what she was spread out with the wind. Maybe she is still a part of us in some way, I really don't know.

Like I said, there are a lot of things I don't know. But I do know that if there is a "God" he/she/it is not some being that points fingers and says: "thou art bad, thou art going to burn forever in hell". If there is a "God", then God is merely the life force that is inside all of us. Then we are all connected to each other and to the universe. To me, that has a lot of bearing on how we should treat others. A morality based on mutual respect and understanding.

Biblical based morality would be a disaster, in my opinion. Imagine a world based on biblical morality where every person you disagree with, you are allowed to murder them. Every homosexual killed, every lesbian killed, every non-Christian killed. Every Atheist, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. you are allowed to murder. I know that on this point I am rambling and my knowledge may be somewhat limited, but I do know that when I read the bible, Old and New Testaments, I don't see a lot of love for fellow human beings. I see a bunch of laws that are oppressive and some that are down-right barbaric.

I believe that if the world is to make progress, then the religions of the world have to start looking inside themselves and realize that they are just as human as the rest of us and that hatred and killing and disrespect is no way to treat a fellow human being.

I still go to my United Church, when I'm not working Sundays. But do I believe what I hear there? Not neccessarily. This anti-religious tone of me, is not something I'm overly used to. But the more things that start to make sense, the more I realize that the rest of it doesn't make sense, and that the statement I just made doesn't make a whole lot of sense. LOL :)

What I've just written here today is a manifesto of sorts, a description of what I'm going through right now. I have no idea if my thoughts will change, or stay the same. I admit that I have rambled on here, but that's just my personality and me writing down my thoughts as I think them.

Like I said, there is a lot that I don't know. But if I live my life to the fullest and treat my fellow human being with dignity and respect, then maybe that's all I really need to know. If there is something beyond this life when I die, then I'll know it. And if there is nothing after this life, then I'll know that too, though I guess in that case I really wouldn't know it, eh?

My life as a paradox. That seems like a good title for my anti-testimony. Any support that you all reading this can give me, would be greatly appreciated.

Take care, and may the force be with you all. :)

Regina, Canada
email: spare AT accesscomm DOT ca

11 comments:

J. C. Samuelson said...

Harry,

Congratulations. You don't sound as confused as you think. You've learned to say "I don't know" when it comes to God. Believe it or not, this is a huge step. Many of the faithful find it nearly impossible to take this step. You might have noticed that when backed into a corner in a debate, these folks will resort to quoting Bible verses to affirm the truth of a proposition rather than admit that they don't know.

Like you, I don't care for labels. Calling someone an atheist, agnostic, skeptic or soemthing else does little to aid a discussion. I tend to think these kinds of labels have all kinds of connotations that hinder our communication with each other, and fail to acknowledge nuance.

The origin of the universe is a mystery to us all, even the Christian, though some of us have a hard time admitting it. Christians prefer to think they have the answer - Genesis. Some atheists prefer to think of the universe is eternal, without a beginning or end, while others are only concerned with what science can 'prove.' I rather like what my father says about it; he says "Live in the mystery," which I take to mean that we should embrace what we do not know, and continue to search for truth for its own sake.

If you feel confused, ask yourself what prompts the doubt in your own mind. Is it fear of the unknown? Is it fear of death (really the same thing)? Life is full of uncertainty and it's comforting to have an anchor to cling to, ideologically. But is it really necessary to cling to an illusion, or can we feel just as comfortable knowing that we are born as terminal cases, and adopt living well as an alternative to dogma?

But I digress.

Welcome, apparently for the fourth time. :)

Anonymous said...

I went through a process much like yours. I can tell you that in time you will look back and be amazed that you EVER believed in a mad daddy in the sky.

You will also be amazed at how much sharper your mind will be, how much stronger your willpower is, and how much more attractive your personality becomes.

You see, when you stop believing in Holy Spooks and demons and angels and all manner of invisible creatures who are supposed to control your life, you control your life.

Your spiritual hangover right now will pass. And like the drunk who gives up alcohol, when you give up your imaginary creature, you will lose your taste for it.

Bentley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bentley said...

I agree with what you said. I've never needed a book to tell me what is right and what is wrong, we all know how we want to be treated and if we want to be treated kindly, then that's how we treat others. But apparently some people seem to think that without a religion with a threat built in, they cannot heed to self-control, without a threat of a punishment in the after world, this would excuse them now that they do not have any control over their own actions here in this world, that's the reason they needed and invented a forgiving savior to forgive them for treating people wrongly, to forgive them from their guilt.

The Bible clearly makes their excuses for them, by allowing them to believe that an invisible deity(Satan)is guiding them to commit heinous crimes without their own conscious being in control.

Naturaly people that lived over 2000 years ago wondered why they were so ignorant and stupid, because knowledge and human understanding was suppressed, knowledge of reality and science was considered from demons and that diseases were caused by either demons or some gods wrath, we now in 2006 should know better.

Now we have a book(s)that were written by ancient tribesmen, whom could only guess at what they were trying to write, and by claiming it to have been inspired from a god, then didn't they look ever so holy and clever?

Now we have people that believe that people that lived and wrote things down before us were wiser and pure'er and had more knowledge than us living today, which is simply is not the case.

The people that lived back then had no medical knowledge, no knowledge of germs or bateria, I wonder how many people died from uncleanlyness and blood poisoning and broken limbs, insect bites, snake bites, food poisoning, we have no way to test the bible writers to tell if they were mentally sane or on drugs.

Then the bible sprang out from the middle-east, why? Why did god not make his word known to all the world at the same time, why did the bible and koran come from the middle-east? Euphoric Hallucination Drugs!!! The Opium and drug capital of the world!!!

Why does this seem so unreal to most Christians, because they have made a public commitment(a fool of themselves in front of other humans in church) and now they think they would look foolish with egg all over their faces to admit that they were wrong!

It's very plain that the people that wrote the bible and koran were strung out on some form of drugs and not a holy spirit, I'm sure they had alot of hallucinations and spoke to alot of imaginative beings.

The bible and koran is a book written by men, to save him from his own stupidity, where else is he going to get instant forgiveness, except from a book that he writes for himself.

The real irony is that, a Jesus nor a God claims to have wrote any part of the bible, had they existed, they would not have been stupid enough to have signed their name to any part of it, because anyone with a speck of common sense and human decency would have been ashamed to have been involved in any part of the bible or koran.

We the living and knowledgeable know what is right and wrong, we don't need invisible deities and ignorant ancient dope-heads to tell us what is right and wrong and how to conduct our lives properly.

Harry, you sound perfectly normal to me, you just need to live by what you know within your own self to be true, it's called (Intellectual Honesty,) that's more precious than any man-made ancient religious beliefs. TC

skeptic griggsy naturalist said...

Read George Smith's an MIchael Martin's books on atheism and theism for starters. There are so many than when I started my collection.

jim earl said...

Hello Harry.
Welcome again. It's really not as complicated as you might think now. As you progress in your freethought, you will only learn more and more to solidify what you suspect now. I agree with anon that one day soon you won't believe that you ever believed the crap of the religious. Stay in touch with non-religious articles and read the bible. It's the best source to convince you of what the truth is, when read with an open mind.

To answer your question,"What am I?", I would say you are someone not afraid of seeking the truth. Keep at it!

freedy said...

Harry,..There nothing more confusing than religion,...(esp.christianity).

You'll find more and more clarity as time passes.

Once a hopeless fundy,....I now embrace the beauty and mystery of life!

Mark James said...

Keep looking forward. Your current "state" is exactly where it should be. You are not stagnant or in the bondage of religion. Keep seeking. It is you that you will find.

Good luck.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Well, personally, I only needed to find out that Christianity was bullshit, before I concluded that all of the world's religions were as well.

It seems to me, as I have said in earlier posts, that the human mind is evolving. Thousands of years ago, man sat beside a fire, conjuring up all sorts of reasons for the way things were. There was no way for men to communicate with eachother unless they were infront of eachother. There was no way to refrigerate food. There was no way to travel expediently. There were no books, no scientists, no medical doctors..., but slowly, over time, man has employed more of his cerebral cortex. Man has evolved and found ways of adapting to his environment and has found ways of manipulating the elements to his advantage. We have mass transport, communication, and knowledge. We are able to form hypotheses and test them. We are able to observe our universe through the lens of a telescope and to observe the progression of diseases through the lens of a microscope.

Since the dawn of man there have always been leaders and followers. Unfortunately, for the most part, the world's leaders have been corrupt. They didn't lead out of some compulsion to make the world a better place but to gain control of the masses and their possessions. The easiest way to gain control is through fear. Most people believed in some sort of divine authority and so these leaders took to claiming that they knew what these imaginary gods wanted from man and set down rules claiming them to be divinely inspired. If the religious writings were already in place, then the leaders would distort the writings or interpret them to their advantage. It's a sad fact that most people need to be led, because they seem to be unable to think for themselves. They want to be told what to think and believe. They need to be enticed to do what is right through promises of reward or threats of punishment. A fully developed mind and conscience does what is right, BECAUSE it is right. A fully developed mind does not resort to mystical thinking just because it doesn't have the answers, but rather accepts what it does not know and strives to continue searching for the truth wherever it leads.

It's hard to be in a place where you are thinking for yourself, but it's also liberating. It's scary, because you think, "What if I'm wrong." You almost want someone to guide you, but you know that you could never go back to the mind control, so you are stuck in a limbo of sorts. It seemed safe to be a Christian, because the answers were all in the book, neatly packaged, and even if some of the answers didn't make sense, you figured there was something wrong with the way you were understanding them. It was so comforting on some level to not have to look for answers, but as your mind developed and your need for truth and rationality began to demand attention, you became tormented by what you had learned and what your rational mind was telling you. It was a constant battle between "faith" and "truth". They became incompatible. So now you are alone, or so it feels, in the world and having to find the answers and others who think like you are hard to find, and it's unsettling, isn't it? It's unsettling to think that this might be all there is, and that there will be nothing of us left to "go on". It's hard to just NOT KNOW, but you have us to lend an ear.

Continue to post your thoughts and rants. Continue to share your journey. It is reaffirming to the rest of us and gives us a chance to reaffirm you in return.

You said, "May the force be with you."

I say in response(as the Catholic Church would)"And also with you"

Lorena said...

Hey Harry,

It's always nice to find a fellow Canadian around here. Most of the Canucks I know have been atheists for ever, so they are not struggling with the believe-or-not-believe issues.

It seems like you are well on your way to thinking for yourself. Kudos to you for that.

You talk about still going to church. I went to church for about a year after I stopped believing, and what bothered me the most was their absolute certainty that they knew it all. It also bothered me that they felt they had the right to impose their "truths" on me. You know, the "check your brain at the door" mentality.

So stay true to yourself and keep discovering the world with your own eyes. It is a truly awesome experience. I highly recommend it.

SpaceMonk said...

Hi Harry,

Glad to hear you're working your way out.

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