27 July 2011

Ye Age Olde Debate

I was talking with someone the other day who was watching a program about intelligent design on TV. And they began to beat me with their incredulousness at how insane it was that intelligent design was being black listed by the scientific community. Which got me to thinking about science (read: atheism (I know it's not that simple but for sake of this post it is)) and religion, and what my thoughts are.

I think religion is interesting. Not in a fanatical fundamentalist sort of way, I just mean that there are things about religion as an idea that I find interesting; much the manner in which I think of science. There is a certain <je ne sais quoi> about religion as an entity that fascinates me. Having said that, this is not going to be one of those diatribes on religion, tearing it down or building it up, I rather hope it does not become such; I care little for debate but enjoy inspiring them. Right, on we go.

Like many people, particularly in Bible Belt USA, I grew up in a deeply devout, oh fuck it - I grew up around religion. My mother was a Catholic turned Methodist from the union to my father, I presume he was also a Methodist at the time...or maybe that came later, who's to say, I wasn't born so I don't know. And like many good children, from an early age I bucked at the trend. The only reason, besides having no free will, that I went to church was for story time and crackers. And then later on whence I became an adolescent, the ski trips and cute girls. All the while, I was being told these accounts and stories and how to act like Christ, and it sounded nice...in theory.

Fast forward in my development, or we could be here for a decade easily ===>===>===>===>===>===>===>epilepsy===>===>seizure===>===>seizure===>===>seizure

College was an interesting time, religiously speaking, as I had begun dating a girl who was deeply dedicated to the deity. And though I was not quite as religiously inclinated, like many others, I faked it. What the hell, I figured, try to share a common interest, blah blah blah. And though I had grown up in a religious home, I never felt that strongly so I went through the motions like a good Christian is supposed to in order that those around me would be impressed and marvel at my religiositude (my word, you can't have it). Unfortunately, that brilliant plan backfired and the girl, now fully entrenched in a sorority dedicated to the Son, started forcing blame upon me for things I did that she didn't think lined up with the version of the Bible playing in her (and her sorority's) head. Among these things were:

Look at a girl that's not her - go to hell. Say a "cuss" word - go to hell. Stay up past midnight - go to hell. Skip a class - go to hell. Make a hilarious innuendo - go to hell. Inappropriately hug her from behind - go to hell. Fall asleep or talk during church functions, including informal dinners sponsored by the church - go to hell. Speak to a member of a different ethnicity - Okay, not really but it wouldn't have surprised me. Do laundry in the nude - go to hell. Breath loudly - go to hell. Drink a beer - go to HELL! Masturbate because she won't do it for me - BURN LIKE A HEATHEN! (in HELL!)

I say all of that to say this. Insomuch as I think religion can be a good thing for people, it can also become a crutch to lean on or a way to lay blame on others for being different from you. People need to believe in something, it's just a part of the nature of humanity that's why we love Santa Claus as children. We try to assign everything to a box, neatly labeled and placed on a shelf. If we do not understand something or cannot explain something, we get scared. Thus religion gives people an out, a way to cope with the unfathomable nature of the world; unfathomable, of course, in that because it does not prescribe to the box we think it belongs to, we ostracize and shun the non-believer.

Along that line, I have always noticed a certain tendency of those who claim to be religious to be incredibly hypocritical. I do not mean the entire group, but just some of the herd. It astonishes me that people that want to be like Christ often are the worst type of people outside of the church building. As a former hypocrite myself, I can instantly recognize this quality. And sure, there are those who are truly Christ-like and that's wonderful, I appreciate and love them with my whole heart. But a few bad apples...well, you know. The hypocrites that are my favorite are the ones that know they are hypocritical and will still get shit-face drunk, fuck anything with a slit, and then try to pass themselves off as righteous anytime they are in public or at least around their religious "friends."

By now, if you are reading this far down, you are probably thinking "Hmmm, sounds like you don't believe in God." And if you're a Christian, you're also thinking "You're gonna BURN IN HELL!!" If you're not, you might be applauding my thoughts (I doubt it). Both groups would be wrong, though.

Every coin has two sides, and as such, strict atheists are just as horrible at representing what they believe. In my experience, atheists are often the loudest, most obnoxious human beings on the planet. They many times brow beat you worse than Christians with their beliefs. The passion they display while vehemently defending Darwinism, evolution, and the big bang as being the only explanation is overwhelming and alarmingly similar to religious zealots.
(Aside: It intrigues me when I speak to an atheist friend of mine because he always claims that his belief in the non-belief of God is far more intelligent than that of any "small-minded Christian." How do I tell him that in order to have disbelief in something it has to be experienced as tangible and concretely real?)

So, with that in mind, here is where I am. I hate religion, but it is interesting to me as a sociology experiment. However, I do, in fact, believe that there is a God. God is not dependent upon your ability to be religious, religion has nothing to do with God. He doesn't give a shit if you do as much as you possibly can inside a church; a church is just a symbol; a gathering place; it has no real meaning or ability to make you closer to God; it is just a builiding of mortar and bricks. The relationship you build between yourself and God is the vital part; without that how will relate to other human beings in a way that would make them question you? And questions hold the key to explanation and the sharing of a relationship with God, which incidentally is something God wants people to do.

Moving on....Atheism is as ignorant as it gets, but every point needs a counterpoint, thus atheism. Do I really believe that a floating piece of bacteria swum around to the point of getting bored and mutating itself into a frog into a fish into a lizard into bird into a monkey into a man? Hardly. If that held true, then by god, I would become a flying brain. I do not believe in evolution, but not because I believe in God. Evolution is the theory that all life is the offspring of one amoeba in a pond somewhere, and that's fucking stupid. However, I do believe, thanks to observable proof, that speciation, a form of evolution within a certain species of being, exists. Some would call it adaptation, but speciation is not adaptation. Adaptation is the bastard cast-off of evolutionary theory in which the strongest survive, the weak die. Speciation is the evolution of a species to continue its existence and even the dumb fucks survive (case in point my sister's baby daddy).

Do I think that creation is infantile, not infinite and ancient? No. To deny what I can see with my own eyes in the way of trillions of stars, billions of galaxies, and millions of incredibly complex and expanding cosmic events would be stupid. What I do think, is that both religion and science/atheism are right on the creation of the known universe. Religion says the universe was created in seven days. Okay. Science says the earth and everything else is millions of years old thanks to carbon dating. Okay. I accept both of these as true because of one simple, immutable fact: TIME. Time is not absolute nor definitive. Time is a creation of man to constrain his fellow brethren and give order to the chaos that is the universe. Time breaks down the events, places, and people of the known universe into neat little chunks so that man, the highest speciated being in existence (as we know it), can comprehend all that lay before us.

Simple, right?

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