D.R.: The ever faithful atheists
September 14, 2007
Tell an atheist that he follows a faith ” and an irrational one at that ” and you’ll make him madder than the recall gang trying to take Arn Menconi down.
I’ve received more e-mails and about as many letters from two columns I wrote for the Trail about how atheists and religious fundamentalists sound an awful lot alike as I’ve seen from the folks pumping their recall.
To suggest to anti-religious zealots that they must have faith to believe what they believe really gets their ire up.
But they don’t “know” any more than Osama bin Laden or Pat Robertson “know.” Their certainty and smug mockery of the church faithful, therefore, is immature. These are the “smart” kids in sixth grade. They don’t even know that they don’t know. Worse, these children are dead certain they do know.
Which makes them sound a lot like the fundamentalists in the various church faiths.
Sorry, I find that pretty interesting. The irony of the atheist’s ultimately irrational faith in no god is rich.
We have this need for certainty even when dealing with the unknowable. Seems everybody knows. And everybody knows something different. So what do they “know,” really?
My sense is not much. The more certain they are, well, the more wacky they are. The brightest at least understand that this is the grand speculation: Where we came from, where we are going, what it’s all about.
Some atheists put themselves in a camp of “atheistic agnostic.” I guess that works. If I understand the thinking, which goes like this: “I don’t know but I tip toward nothing there” when it comes to God.
That’s just over the line from my own brand of agnostic belief. That is, “I don’t know and neither do you, but I’ll guess on the side of a creator.”
Like the atheists, I don’t buy any of the religious stories. Not the Christian, not Islam, Judaism, Hindu, Buddhism, none of them. Too packaged, neatly tied, too human and all different.
Unlike atheists, I don’t believe we perceive everything there is to know about existence. I mean, this something from nothing is pretty incredible. There is no rational answer at root. An assuming God, where did He come from? Does he have a mom and dad?
You have to have faith to believe. You have to have faith to disbelieve. I don’t know. I don’t claim to know. I don’t care if the religious ones and the anti-religious ones think this is a football game and I have to pick a side. But why do we have to do that? Why pretend to be certain about what is unknowable from this vantage?
The paradoxes of existence might hold clues. And so my hunch, speculation, maybe even nudging belief is just as irrational as atheism and religious faith.
I believe our lives are not tests but classrooms. The point is to learn. All you can and then some. About the good, the bad, the in between. It’s all about learning, which rather neatly ” no doubt too neatly ” explains why bad things happen to good people and vice versa. It’s not about karma or rewards or anything like that. It’s about learning what you need on some level to learn.
To what end?
Well, back to being agnostic. Don’t know.
And neither do you.
Don Rogers is responsible for the editorial oversight of the Vail Daily, Eagle Valley Enterprise and Vail Trail. He can be reached at 748-2920, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOG