you know, it’s time.
it’s not like this is a new thing, but i’m not even sure if most of my friends even know this about me. since most of my socializing is online (yes, it is, so what?) anyway, i’m not at all sure they notice when they are in a bad way and ask for prayers, and i mumble something comforting and/or do the old ‘you are in my thoughts’ & send hugs, love, comfort, etc. i haven’t been in a discussion about this with anyone, and that’s ok, i have no driving need to debate anyone on the subject, as i do not disagree with anyone’s personal beliefs – those are yours, these are mine, and this shouldn’t feel like that much of a big deal, yet it does.
the closest i’ve come is to change my religious preference on facebook to pastafarian, quietly & without fanfare.
i’m not even sure why it is so difficult to come right out and say it: i’m an atheist.
according to wikipedia, “Atheism can be either the rejection of theism, or the position that deities do not exist. In the broadest sense, it is the absence of belief in the existence of deities.” i do not take the position that deities do not exist; negatives in general are difficult to prove, and this one in particular is virtually impossible. i would never confront someone with beliefs and attempt to dissuade them, in fact in some ways i actually envy those who are able to suspend disbelief and experience the faith and attendant comforts that these convictions offer – i just don’t have the knack for blind faith, though i did for the record try.
i spent a good portion of my life seeking faith. i went to bible camp, i tried several flavors of christianity, i invited door-to-door mormons in and even visited their temple; i considered judaism, investigated hinduism, even hung out with the hari krishnas in people’s park on the odd weekend in my youth. the closest thing i could accept would have been buddhism, however since they insist it is a religion, and i appreciate it as a philosophy, well, that’s kind of a problem. but i tried, i really did. in the end i had to find acceptance, even though this goes against the countless examples throughout history in which humans have demonstrated it is in their nature to believe in something, how many religions have their been? how many now? it’s overwhelming, and i exist outside of each and every one of them. i am not alone, and i am in very good company, but i’ve not up to this point been very active in those circles, mainly due to the whole stealth-atheism thing i’ve been doing.
but you see, when i watch a video like this one, i realize that skepticism is my thing, because this just tickles my intellect and also appeals to my very deepest instincts. this video is just full of aha moments for me, explaining things much better than i ever could:
i am not opposed to anyone whose spiritual life includes the blind faith i have no knack for, however i am deeply offended by fundamentalists of all kinds, especially the sort quoted here:
i fear their fear and their hatred, and i know that by coming out as an atheist, i open myself to attacks from that end of the spiritual spectrum, but then again i’d hardly be alone — that bunch attacks everything that moves and doesn’t one hundred percent agree with it. so no worries there.
my main concern is the awkwardness inherent in being a member of the smallish minority who does not believe. as such, i am in a disadvantage whenever the conversation devolves into the religious: i have absolutely no beliefs to bring to the table, and no desire to defend these non-beliefs with my wide array of reasons because in doing so, i feel that i would be criticizing those who do believe, and i do not wish to do that. i would never want anyone with beliefs to feel they had to defend them to me. as long as those beliefs are peaceful and benevolent, i respect them completely and wish with all my heart i shared them – it’s not the most comfortable state, this disbelief, but it is mine, and i have come to treasure it in spite of the uncertainty. i have, in fact, embraced and even rejoiced in this not knowing, and in the unknowability of these sorts of things in general – the best part about this is the acceptance and subsequent getting on with it no matter what, just because. life is amazing, and does not really need greater meaning, it is an intrinsically divine collection of moments, any of which might end it, and this is the one common truth shared between all lifeforms. a lifetime, whether measured in minutes, or weeks, or decades, is still a lifetime, a distinct yet infinitely unpredictable unit of measure into which a life fits, and that’s it. i’m not explaining this in fullness but i wish i was, or wish i could, though not sure i can.
there remains the aforementioned wide array of reasons, in which i am rather heavily intellectually invested, yet am not, at this point, elaborating on. however, if asked, i will elaborate at great length, so (as it is in all things) be careful what you ask for. and since posting this entry is something i’ve been putting off for a long, long time, and keeping typing would be such a much easier thing to do, i need to end this here and post now. i’ve revised extensively, and it still feels incomplete and too defensive, and like i’ve missed some important points, but i don’t know that it could ever feel any other way.