I don’t want to get too heavy here, but if a guy had some thoughts on God, church, and the afterlife that he wanted to share, this seems like it would be a good forum for ’em. There won’t be any dick jokes, so if you want to skip this post, I won’t be offended.
It’s only in the last couple years that I’ve come to doubt the existence of a God. It seems such a profoundly absurd concept now that it’s hard for me to imagine that I believed my whole life until now. I have a Catholic background, so I can speak only from a Christian perspective.
- I used to be able to reconcile the concepts of evolution and a creator-God. So creation didn’t happen in 7 days like Genesis recounts, but why couldn’t God have put the whole evolutionary process in motion? My problem starts when I consider the human “soul”. If humans have souls (and animals do not as the church teaches), then as we evolved from single-cell organisms, who had the first soul? Evolution is such a long process that there’s not one moment I can point to and say, oh, that was the first “human” with a soul.
The belief in Jesus Christ as savior of humanity. In the Old Testament, humanity is terrible to each other… wars, killing, rape, betrayal. The atrocities are rampant throughout the OT. Now, in the 2,000 years since Jesus’s time on earth, are we any better? We are still awful to each other. The wars, the violence, the abuses of power. I’m not saying there aren’t great things about humanity. There’s lots of love in the world too, and generosity, and compassion and beauty. What I’m saying is that humanity doesn’t look that different after Christ “saved” the world than it did before. If God sent HIS ONLY SON, a divine being to the world, it seems to me that it would have made a bigger difference than it did.
These are not emotional arguments. This is not a wringing of the hands, saying Oh how could God allow these terrible things to happen in the world. It’s an intellectual argument. It doesn’t make logical sense to me that a perfect, all-loving God would preside over a world full of random acts, good and bad.
Faith is a virtue. Why? The definition of faith is believing something without any evidence for it. Why is that considered a virtue? If I told you I believed in the Tooth Fairy and you said “Why?”, I say because I have FAITH, you would think I’m crazy. I have found it to be no less absurd for me to believe in a God for which I have no more evidence than I have for the tooth fairy.
One of the upsides of this revelation is the relief of a lot of nagging guilt. I never felt like I was praying enough, or thanking God enough. Praying to God always felt like something I would never be good enough at, and was a source of guilt for me. And the “sin” of “impure thoughts”… really? Just thinking something? It’s nice to know that no divine being is actually in my head judging my thoughts.
Downside? The lack of an afterlife. It did always seem appealing that at the end all would be revealed and we would live eternally in perfect happiness, reunited with all deceased loved ones. I would really LIKE to believe in a heaven. But I just can’t, again just like I can’t just believe in the tooth fairy.
Atheism. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is not a set of beliefs. Atheists are not a community of people. Atheists are individuals who are all over the map (politically, socially, geographically) who just happen to share one characteristic, the lack of belief in a God. Stereotypes about atheists are as pointless as stereotypes about any other group of people tend to be. Not believing in God does not make me dark or depressed. Quite the contrary, it makes me appreciate humanity that much more.
There’s more, and I might do a follow-up post later. For those who did read this, I’d love to read your comments (in agreement, in opposition, or anything in between).
As I re-read this I notice that I capitalized God every time. Old habits die hard, I guess.