Monday, April 28, 2008

Atheism (first ramble)

"They don't have enough energy to have faith, for fuck's sake."
-Lewis Black

This is definitely true. Now, I've been relatively inactive in my atheism for the last several years. I'm not completely sure why, but I'm thinking that it might have something to do with the phrase, "I don't believe in God" is met with a response akin to something like having leprosy. It's an incredibly polarizing statement to say that you don't believe God; I mean come on, atheists are one of, if not THE most distrusted groups in America. I didn't want to be part of that group, or at least have it known that I'm part of that group. I think it's one of the most beautiful (and crushing) ironies in life that the group of people who admit they know nothing about the world and prefer solid facts over fantasies and tales of magic powers changing the world are the ones most distrusted. Now I'm not saying that all Christians don't believe in facts; most Christians that I know do believe in facts and some even have somewhat of a rational bone in their body in believing that the Big Bang happened, but that it was caused by a higher power. My problem is not necessarily with them. I'm going to be quite condescending in saying this, but it is how I feel: the belief in God or some higher power is nothing more than a crutch for our fear of the great unknown. It's such a sadness to see people reduced to weeping grandmothers because they can't seem to wrap their heads around the concept of the finality of death. It's impossible for some people to understand this. Sure, it's nice to think that we'll have a groovy time after our expiration date, but it's irrational. It's unhealthy. Humans cannot live up to their potential as people fully until they understand that this is all we got.

Now I clearly have problems with religion, but it is much larger than that. My problem goes beyond the irrational concepts; my problem is with belief structures themselves. Granted, I am stating a belief. Everyone has them. But when we structure them and especially institutionalize them, that is when problems arise. What was the Holocaust, considered by many to be the epoch of the cruelty of man, based upon. A belief structure. The Spanish Inquisition? A belief structure. The forcible relocating of Native Americans resulting the deaths of millions and the loss of culture? A belief structure. The Crusades? Many belief structures. "But beliefs are what hold humanity together, Alex," is what many would no doubt retort to me. Uh, yeah, I am very well aware of that. That's what I'm saying. Humanity is flawed, however. That is what the problem is. Of course it is what holds people together, but it's doing it in such a questionable way, I find it difficult to believe that it is even working. This is not me saying we need to find an alternative, because that won't happen. It can't happen. We can't wrap our heads around an alternative because we've been living this way for millions of years. We don't have any other options and I'm not pretending that I know any. I just feel that this is the root of all problems. So I just hope that we'll make it to a point in our evolution where we won't believe in things that divide us anymore.

I know by stating this, many who read it will pull away and even get offended by what I'm saying. Of course they will; they're getting offended by what they perceive to be me attacking their, well, BELIEFS. My point proven thusly. When we get offended by something as trivial as that, it can lead to horrible things, such as destroying one another. When there no beliefs to be attacked, no sensibilities to be offended, things may well work themselves out. Will that happen? Like I said, give it time, and yes, it probably will. Will we be around to see this glorious time? Well ironically enough, our beliefs and our separation and contesting of them will probably keep us from actually getting there.