In response to a christian

March 10, 2010

She really wanted to understand why I’m agnostic…So I tried to explain it to her in a tone that matched her own, one of civility. Here is my response, posted for posterity.

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Sometimes things simply are what they are. People assume that things must have a mystical explanation because it’s difficult to comprehend how something could have happened. I too wonder how the universe came to be…the big bang theory of how the universe was created is sound, from a scientific point of view. For example, if the universe (or rather, everything in it) was created from a single point of matter / energy, then galaxies and everything else would be accelerating from a specific area of the universe. Astronomers have proven that this is, in fact, the case.

I’d like to be clear here: I am not an atheist. I do believe that there is…something more….than the visible world we see, that there is some kind of force at work behind it all. What I refuse to do is subscribe to one particular belief system simply because somebody tells me that it is is true. You have billions of people on the planet. The one thing they have in common is that they have spirituality. As far as why I don’t subscribe to one particular belief system, it’s because I tend to distrust the sources. Case in point: L. Ron Hubbard started a religion founded on complete and utter crap, yet many people believe in it, no matter how sensibly you try to tell them otherwise. They believe, sincerely, scientology. Now, you may say to yourself, “Yeah, but that’s scientology. Christianity is different.” Now, granted, much of the Bible may be historically accurate, in terms of its depictions of various events. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything in it happened. I’m sure that many of the events (the great flood for example) happened. Most of the religions of the world have a story in one form or another of a great flood that happened in the distant past. To sum this all up, if billions of people can’t agree on what the one true “faith” is, it would be indeed presumptuous for anyone to try to say that their faith is the right one. Note that I am not talking about how hypocritical people of various faiths are, when it comes to things like “Thou shalt not kill”, for example.

But my point is this: The unanswered questions of life does not necessarily prove the truth of the Bible, or any other religion for that matter. Like I said, you can tell me that that is your proof (the Bible, that is). Yes, it’s available in many places all over the world, but again, this does not prove its validity…It just means that a good portion of people believe as you do. Also, understand that I am not attempting to insult or in any way slight you or your beliefs. Those are the beliefs that you feel in your heart are right for you. I’m not going to discount the veracity of them just because I don’t necessarily accept it as truth.

The thing is, so many people believe in one faith or another without stopping to question the discrepancies in the Book they choose as their spiritual truth, and many people never get to choose what they believe because they’re raised being told that the God they worship on their day of worship is real, from childhood on. And people that are converted to one faith or another, or are “saved”, often choose to be saved or converted because of either mental duress or a crisis in their life…they need something to get them through their trials, and the belief systems of organized religions fulfill this need.

But it comes down to me disagreeing with the pretenses of books of worship, and that they are the one true testament of (insert deity name here.). You may say “But we know where Jesus was crucified.” “Fine,” I’ll say, “They know where the cave is that Zeus was born in. Can you disprove that Zeus wasn’t born in that cave? No? Then how can you prove to me that Jesus was crucified there?” Now, if you were to come to me and say that you believed in a higher power that symbolizes love and compassion, I would agree with you, as that is what my idea of a higher power is. But I don’t accept that the Bible is the word of God, nor do I accept that everything in it literally happened. Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt? Sure. Him parting the Red Sea? No. Not going to accept that as truth, because every religion has stories like that, and not one can actually prove the facts of their stories. If you stop and think about it, it’s really arrogant to walk up to someone and say that their beliefs are not true and yours are. Their beliefs are as true for them as yours are for you (not you specifically…I’m saying people in general.)

There’s a story that fits this discussion. A missionary encounters a medicine man, and she proceeds to tell him about how Jesus healed the sick and walked upon water, and turned water into wine and performed other miracles, and that he was crucified and died, and was resurrected and went up to Heaven. The medicine man listened to her story, respectfully, and then told her about his beliefs, about the Great Spirit and all. When he finished, the missionary expressed her disbelief and her astonishment, and was incredulous. The medicine man, in response to her posturing, said, “I have sat here and listened to your stories about your God. Who are you to question MY beliefs?”

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