Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Some rambling thoughts about religion
Published on October 19, 2003 By Draginol In Philosophy

I've decided that I'm not an atheist. That doesn't mean I believe in "God" per se but being an atheist requires faith as well. We don't know how the universe got here. Oh, we have theories that go something like this:

Around 14 billion years ago there was a gigantic explosion from a source that was theoretically smaller than an electron. As hard as it is to imagine, the universe isn't growing to fill up some "void" because there is no void. There is nothing else outside of our universe. One of the many things we don't know is whether the universe expansion (which seems to be acceleration last time I checked rather than slowing down which was what they belief was when I was a kid) is systemic. That is, whether it occurs from time to time and repeats itself. Who knows. I do know I don't have a clue how the universe's expansion could be accelerating. It seems counter intuitive.

On the other hand, not knowing any of these things isn't likely to make me throw up my hands and say "Well, God must have done all this". I don't know means just that -- I don't know. So I guess that makes me an agnostic. But to be honest, I would like to believe in God very very much -- particularly a Christian God. Christianity is one of the easier solutions. If you believe Jesus Christ is your savior you're all set. But again, I don't know. Is he my savior? I do not know. I believe he existed. But I don't know whether he was my savior or not.

When I was younger, I used to debate with people who would come to my door. Eventually people stopped coming to my door. I'd invite them in, my wife would make lunch for them and bring them tea or a soft drink or just water and chat. They were very nice people and sincerely wanted to convince me in the validity of their beliefs. And so we would sit across from each other on our living room couches. Each of us armed with our bibles bookmarked to the hilt. They would then try to demonstrate the errors of Evolution and the proof behind Noah's Arc and other things. Meanwhile, I already owned the book "A scientific guide to the bible" that was the source material for many of their arguments along with various counter arguments. "A Scientific Guide to the Bible" contains things like "The missing day" (No, there is no way to determine whether there is a missing day), "How evolution violates the 2nd law of Thermodynamics" (No, that only applies to closed systems, Earth is not a closed system, the sun is a massive energy source), "Evidence of the flood" (No, Plate Tectonics explains that and if Noah and his sons were the only surviving males of a so-called world wide flood we'd all share the same mitochondria DNA and no UV won't make the kinds of genetic differences in 4,000 years or 40,000 years for that matter). And so on.

So eventually they stopped coming. I didn't debate them because I was trying to squash their faith. I debated them because I wanted to be convinced. I don't consciously choose to be agnostic. It is a matter of looking at the evidence available to me and coming to a conclusion. I don't consider evolution a "theory", I consider it established fact. I also don't consider evolution to contradict the bible. Heck, the Old Testament is based on Judaism and Genesis is pretty dramatically altered from what is preached in Judaism. So there's no reason to believe we should take the modern English translation of the bible literally. Not that it matters anyway because for me, personally, the bible doesn't add up. As a collection of stories that (generally) try to make us better people, it is successful. But as a way of trying to understand life and the world, I don't think it works there. As time goes on, evidence mounts against such things in my view and so I'm left again with the "I don't know".

I don't know:

  • How life began on Earth other than it probably got started around 3 billion years ago in single called life forms.
  • How the universe came to be in the first place.
  • Whether there is a supreme being in the universe.

The evidence available doesn't allow me to make a definitive conclusion. If I had to guess, I would bet that if there is a supreme being, it is not interested in us in any personal way. But on the others I have no idea. Despite what some though a few decades ago, some electricity through a methane atmosphere won't create amino acids and even if they had, amino acids need a lot more help than just existing to get life. But like I said, not knowing the answers to these things doesn't automatically open the door to a super being being the answer. It's not like religion wins by default. I suspect my grand mother didn't know how the television worked. Probably didn't have the foggiest idea. But I am certain that she didn't believed it was magic.

The problem with religion is that people get so militant about it. Ever heard of the atheist group calling themselves "The brights"? That's pretty arrogant. Especially since atheism requires faith. Where some would throw up their hands and say "God did it" the "Brights" throw up their hands and say "Nothing did it". While I suspect there is no "God" in any sense that we think of one, I'm not prepared to go to the step of having faith that that is the case. I just don't know. On the other hand, excessively religious people bother me too. Not because they're religious but they suffer from a similar kind of arrogance as "The brights". These are the people who buy into the canned "anti-science" arguments and spit them out as fact when in reality they're just parroting nonsense. You can identify those people because they readily identify themselves "Well, you know that many TOP scientists (what's a "top" scientist?) have 'proven' evolution just doesn't work 'scientifically'." Yea, well unlike the parrots many people have actually looked at both sides at great length and made their own conclusions thank you very much.

But in the end, I just don't know. And that's why I'm not an atheist. I guess I'm an agnostic. I don't think I'll ever know. I don't foresee a day when they'll discover something that will prove one way or the other. Though admittedly, if they can create single celled life forms in a lab that might seriously persuade me that life, as we know it, occurred spontaneously as opposed to some sort of "intelligent design".

Btw, for the email starts pouring in from atheists, I realize that many atheists term themselves as such because they have rejected organized religion hence "a-theists". I am using a definition that not all agree -- atheists believe that there is no God. I am taking the view that I do not know whether there is a god and don't have a belief either way at this point hence I'm using the term "agnostic".

Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 20, 2003
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on Oct 20, 2003
"If you believe Jesus Christ is your savior you're all set. But again, I don't know. Is he my savior? I do not know. I believe he existed. But I don't know whether he was my savior or not."

"Faith with out works is dead." - James 2:24 (I believe that's the scripture, anyway.) Which implies that it doesn't matter if you believe he existed or weather he is your savior, it means that you have to do more then believe. As outlined in Galatians 5 which speaks of the fruitage of God’s spirit, which we our selves have to manifest. As the old saying goes... "Actions speak louder then words."
on Oct 20, 2003
This is a very good article. I believe that religion, as a social organization, is to be questioned often. As concerns faith, I also believe that it is good to doubt from time to time (but I do envy people who have a very strong faith).

By the way, you mention people coming to your house to debate evolution and Noah's Arc. I find this very surprising. Was it a long time ago, or from members of a cult ?
on Oct 20, 2003
Bertrand Russell once wrote about whether he was an atheist or an agnostic. Like me, he was technically agnostic but practically speaking an atheist. He said that he could not prove there wasn't a god. Similarly he could not prove there was not a small blue china tea set in orbit around Mars but he regarded either proposition as being unlikely enough as not to influence his life.
The brights movement is rather different from your parody but, yes, it is a rather naff name.
on Oct 20, 2003
The question that enters my mind the most is, with all of the religions in the world, and each say's that they are the only true religion, how can that be? How can they all be right, or are they all wrong? Do I think that there is a God or some kind of a benevolant force above us, Yes, do I think that any of the religions has it right, No.
on Oct 20, 2003
brab: It wasn't a cult. For those with strong faith who believe that the key to salvation after death is through the gospels, going to people's homes to try to spread the word of God is a matter of duty. They are trying to help other people. There are many religious sects in the United States that does that.
on Oct 20, 2003
You sure sound Taoist to me.

Of course if you see the Tao everyone is taoist anyway so that was pretty much a non-statement. which is very tao

on Oct 20, 2003
I belive there is a type of religion that belives that this is a god/gods but they are only responsible for our creation. They belive something created the universe and then stepped back and let the rest happen for itself.

Also, you might want to check our Unitarian Universalism. They belive not only in exploring your own religion to find out what you belive but also in principels. They don't acknowledge anyone as their savior or that there is a god or a holy book rather they belive that everyone is equal and open to their opinions about anything and should be free from descrimination on the basis of religion, sex, race, etc.

www.uua.org (for more info click on "About Us")
on Oct 20, 2003
I'm Wiccan.....and I way the same as a duck;)

I guess I would have to say that I am agnostic. I can't prove one way or another if there is a god, and I really can't follow any sort of religion. I wish I could, though.
on Oct 20, 2003
I recommend that if you are looking for serious answers on this kind of level that you go to Ravi Zacharias site. he is the foremost apologist speaking today. He has a section of downloadable mp3s on all sorts of subjects, some of which are on the very subjects you are concerned about. I have never found anyone who is as powerful a 'convincer' as he is.

The site is: www.gospelcom.net/rzim
on Oct 20, 2003
Stop worring about wether I exist or not and just be good to one another.
on Oct 20, 2003
Draginol: I understand about spreading faith. But you mentioned something more, about disproving evolution and Noah's arc. I did not know people were still trying to convince others that these things happen. I believe in God, but I have faith in science (and science has had its martyrs burn by the Church).
on Oct 21, 2003
I'm surprised that you consider the Bright movement to be particularly arrogant, and am unsure if it is because of the name.

If so, it seems clear from the website that "bright" was chosen as an umbrella term because of its positive connotations, but no suggestion is made that non-brights are therefore "dim". In a similar vein, using the term "gay" for homosexuals does not imply that heterosexuals are "somber" or "dull".
on Oct 21, 2003
Well for "bright" people they certainly aren't very bright at marketing.
on Nov 27, 2003
I understand my father was an atheist and died an agnostic. My mother was silent but I saw her read the daily gospel pick calendar her brother sent. I grew up confused between lutheran minister grandparents where we spent our summer holidays, on my mother's side, and politics mixed with good doses of philosophical socialism on the other side. I was catapulted out of a protectively complacent attitude in this regard by a logical documentary on TV. Actually in retrospect there was no reason to take a side unless the words in the Bible actually do happen: John 6:44: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." There was nothoing special about the documentary speaking about "Our polluted planet" yet everything was changed from that day. Take heart. Everyone's turn will come in God's and their right time.
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