Monday, May 30, 2011

A Less Magical World

Religion has its own vocabulary and vernacular. Religion really changes how a person talks. Christianity is full of catch phrases and bumper stickers, and being away from it a while and then being exposed to it again makes one very conscious of the effect religion has on language.

One of these phrases comes up when I’m talking to religious people about how atheists see the world. I always get so much interesting information on what atheists think from Christians…

Usually not too far from a comment like, “If there wasn’t a God, we would still invent one,” the idea comes up that atheists see the world differently. It’s always intangible, but the expression “less magical” comes up. Not believing in God makes the world less magical…

Well, for one thing, gods are not necessary to have magic. I happen to not believe in gods or magic, but the two are independent stances. If I had evidence for gods, I would believe in them, but not magic… unless of course I had evidence that magic works.

But I also take issue with the implication that the world is better with magic. I don’t like the idea of some bearded hermit in a robe waving a staff over a cauldron and bending nature to his whim. If magic were part of our reality, individuals would wield too much power. That doesn’t work out too well with the types of power we have now, like wealth and brute strength.

Imagine a world where any dork with a wand can turn you into a newt.


Even though gods are not necessary for magic, I think the world may be better without gods, too. I think it’s a better universe for not having some guy in the sky who fucks with people’s lives on a bet, like Job, or orders armies to kill, rape, plunder and enslave, or plans to one day just destroy everything.

Yeah, the world is a less magical place as an atheist… but that doesn’t mean the world isn’t an interesting place. It’s no small coincidence that magic shows are one of the lowest forms of entertainment, just above mimes and juggling (but below juggling mimes).

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