When pondering the great expanse that is the Universe, many thoughts are evoked. Some want to believe that an all-powerful Being is behind all of it. Others are in awe at the power of nature, and a “Creator” isn’t necessary.
For me, it’s an irrelevant question.
The more I dig into my philosophical pursuits, I find that the question of “God’s existence” isn’t all that interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the question is altogether irrelevant. I’m speaking for myself here. My interests lie in questions of “what can we know?” and “how can we know it?”. Failing to begin there will result in disastrous conclusions every time. The “Question of God” is simply too far off and vague.
What are we even talking about when we speak of “God” or “gods” or a “Creator”? Is it a Being that exists in a supernatural realm where the laws of science and logic don’t apply? Or is it a highly advanced Being that DOES exist in our realm of science and logic? In either case, why are these Beings hiding from us? Why would they allow us to fight each other over speculation about them? Why would they give a shit about what we do? Why would a Christian God create a huge universe only to put humans on one small, insignificant part of it? Why go through such a convoluted way to restore humanity when He could just reboot the machine? Why let Satan continue his shenanigans? Is God’s seeming inability to stop Satan, evil, and free will an indication that he’s NOT all-powerful?
Obviously, a supernatural Being revealing itself to humanity via ancient scripture is bullshit. Anyone can see the problem with that (yet strangely, many don’t).
What do I believe? Like I said, the question is irrelevant. Like John Stuart Mill, I refuse to believe in a God that “created a hell”. BUT, it’s still fun to speculate. Predictably, my “God” is the God of Kant: if one exists, we can’t know anything about it and it’s a meaningless subject in our everyday affairs. OR…we have the God of 2001: A Space Odyssey, where an advanced species has controlled human evolution. That “version” of God is similar to my relationship with my cat. I can only imagine what my cat thinks of me. I feed him, rub his belly, clean out his box, and make his life so much better than the majority of other cats on this earth. He doesn’t fucking understand how I do it. I’m like magic to him. But he doesn’t have to speculate about my existence…he sees me everyday! But most of all, once when the “Question of God” gets answered, it’ll probably be like a twist in a bad M. Night Shyamalan film…it was US the entire time!
So how about atheism, eh?
In the late 2000’s, atheism was hot, Hot, HOT. We had Sam Harris. We had Christopher Hitchens. We had Richard Dawkins publish The God Delusion. I just eked out of high school where I was expelled from a Christian School after fighting (and getting my ass kicked by) a teacher. I was ready to stick it to the Church….I was late teens/early 20s, in college, and ready to FIGHT. Naturally, I got caught up in this “New Atheist” movement.
So I get it.
Reflecting back on that time, I exchanged one extreme for the other. Which is why it’s difficult for me to fully embrace the title of “atheist” now. I don’t even know what we’re talking about when we discuss “God”. Don’t get me wrong, I am FAR more sympathetic to the arguments for atheism than theism. I mean, let’s be honest, if we stand back and look at our beliefs…believers have a pretty tall order. Or to quote Carl Sagan: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” But much ink has been spilled over the centuries regarding the criticism of religion. I’m not going to say anything new here that will change anyone’s mind. But as an “atheist” (I really prefer the term “irreligious”), we have to approach our views with the same skepticism we have for religion. They can’t become set in stone. That’s the sort of orthodox that atheists should be challenging.
Else atheism becomes just another “religion”. An empty and boring one at that!
“So you don’t believe in spirituality, myths, souls, Gods, etc?”
“Cool story, bro”
Which is why it’s kind of weird to identify as an “atheist”. “Not believing in something that doesn’t exist” feels too meaningless.