Saturday, May 22, 2010

Separation of God and Religion

This began as a reply to Punch’s comment, which I will reproduce in whole below:

The problem as I see it arrives as you now begin to tell me about no god.
I don’t not believe in or trust any of the organized religions as practiced in America or the world, in general.
But I do believe there is more to this life than meets the eye.
To have to wade through an atheist’s point of view is as tiring as hearing yet another religious point of view.
To attempt to see god without the husk shroud given the concept, by years of political influence, is a daunting task.
Your view of god or religion is your view, please do not try to proselytize.
Hell that sounds like what I doin’ here.
I miss your ‘funny bible quotes’

I miss funny bible quotes, too. I plan to start posting funny Quran quotes once my job settles down. If you thought the bible was fucked up…

Anyway, back to the meat of your comment. I can only speak for myself, but I can honestly say I have contemplated gods outside of religion for long stretches of time. There are far too many gods for me to disprove one by one. If you provide me characteristics of a particular god, I can elucidate for you why I reject that particular god. The only characteristic common to all gods seems to be unfeasibility.

I also cannot help but notice you use a singular form of “god.” Can I assume you consider this god to fulfill roles including creator (whether it be of the universe, life, or whatever), sustainer, destroyer, law maker, and other traditional roles? I am essentially an igtheist, ignorant of your very definition of god, until you provide me some traits.

Please tell me you aren’t one of those, “spiritual, but not religious” people. They’re usually the weirdest, as they often think they have had a religious experience, sometimes even claiming to have a direct link to the divine.

Claiming that you “believe there is more to this life than meets the eye” must be a metaphor, as I’m sure you’re aware there are all kinds of things we cannot see (radio waves, for one). I have to assume you mean there are things we do not understand, but I feel comfortable in pursuing answers rather than lazily saddling mysteries with a divine cause.

The part of your comment that most disturbs me is your call for me to not proselytize, especially after I pretty bluntly stated I would never do such a thing. I thought I was explicit, but I’ll say it again: I have no interest in cornering someone on the issue of atheism.

I don’t think pointing out my lack of belief is such a bad thing, especially when it is largely done in the hope of preventing people from being a jackass to me. I know they aren’t trying to piss me off, but it does. I’m sure guys who “compliment” a woman’s ass in whatever article of clothing she’s wearing didn’t mean to be offensive, but intent is completely irrelevant when it comes to interpretation.

I have no interest in harboring disdain for people who have no idea what they’re doing is causing me discomfort. I have no control over the fact that I find religion annoying, but I can control whether or not those around me are aware of the effects their words have on me.

If they keep doing it, that’s their choice. I can snidely insult their precious beliefs if I’m having a particularly bad day, or I can choose to ignore it. That is also my choice. I just prefer situations where everyone involved is informed.

Since this job is only temporary anyway, I have nothing to lose in the long-run if I am disliked. Even if it were a long-term career choice, I would want those I worked with to know who I am. If they can’t handle that, I shouldn’t be working there. The mask of normalcy is too uncomfortable to wear every day.

Besides, I find that atheism is so rarely an applicable topic of conversation. It’s not like every religious comment has to be accompanied by a rude retort on my part. But when I’m telling someone about my mother’s health and how she has lived longer with her disease than the doctors said she would, and the person says “the Lord works in mysterious ways,” next time I have to point out: “No, it was actually the tireless work of several teams of doctors and nurses who studied for years in order to gain the knowledge necessary to keep her alive… that and the huge amounts of money required to pay them.”


  1. @Ginx
    First let me thank you for taking so much time with a comment of mine. That is very thoughtful. In reading your reply I think my wording might have sounded like the comment was aimed at you. I try to remember when to use you as in you and you as in all ya’ll. I did not mean you were proselytizing, it was all meant to be the collective. ‘One should not proselytize…’
    When I say god, it is my own concept of what ever the hell that means. And now we are off to the races. The best I can come up with these days is the concept of black holes, by Steven Hawking. The Big Bang, Black Holes and Singularity. The moment of Singularity, when gravity, light, electromagnetism and one other unnamed force were all at a single point in the universe and where a single element, so dense and massive and hot that it blew apart.
    Bang. The model is being revised by Hawking even as I write this, but if we do, as dust, go back to that state, that in my eyes would be one with god. I could be wrong.

    Basically I tell people who are just too, to, that god does not give a rat’s ass what we do. He is too busy arguing with Jesus to get his dead ass off the couch and return to the earth in triumph.
    Jesus puts down the glass of scotch and says ‘Screw you! Look what you let them do to me last time. Big Man, wrathful, vengeance is mine and all.’
    ‘Bout that time Mary walks in raisin’ Cain ‘cause of the water rings on the coffee table finish and the overflowing ashtrays.

    Pretty much by that time I have usually cleared the room and can get back to saving my own soul.
    Thank you again for a thoughtful Sunday morning.

  2. I think science is full of terms comparable to "god," but only in the sense that they are not fully understood. Sometimes we can infer their existence, with some certainty as with black holes or tentatively as with dark matter.

    However, the idea of there being a consciousness at the beginning is ridiculous to me. Saying there are gods only raises new questions, the primary one being: how did they come about?

    Theologians whose thinking far exceeds that of the established religious dogmas have tried to trip science on the question of the origin of the singularity, but I believe that is easier to explain than any sort of emotional/spiritual being which would have any significant role to play as we live on this speck of sand on a vast beach.

  3. They had become ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE AND OF GOD...

    you pushed too much and *CROSSED THE LINE*

    and for the rest of you on this GOD FORSAKEN site...

    degenerates (PZ) or children (HEMANT) - ATHEISTS!

    do you have anything to say, you STUPID LITTLE F*CKER?

    Now let's listen to this *GENIUS*

    how about I tell you, Mr. Shermer, EVERYTHING YOU THINK ABOUT THE WORLD is

    you cannot SILENCE ME... for the idiot called *





    you are going to learn even to TALK about GOD the way you do is going to cost

    you your lives...

    the writing on the wall...

    f*ck you very much!

    THE BOOBQUAKE - 911!


  4. ::yawn:: Run from what, DM? If there's a God up there, He doesn't care what we have to say. You gave us our final warning weeks ago, and yet here we all are. I'm sorry, but you're just not scary.

  5. Also, in the interest of being vaguely on topic - arguments about how unlikely it is that the universe could support human life strike me as highly dubious. We just don't have enough data to work with. We can perceive one universe, and it supports human life. Based on that sample, we can conclude that there's a 100% chance of the universe being able to support human life.

    The idea that there must be some eternal, external life principle in order for the universe to produce life is fundamentally untestable - and, to my mind, unnecessary.


If your comment is too long, break it into multiple comments and post them all.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...