Thursday, March 11, 2010

3rd Post - Why Agnosticism?

This is a very thought involved entry. So let's begin.

Facebook asks you to identify your religion, if you choose to have that information shown. Even if you don't fill in the box, it still makes you think. When I first made a facebook when I was 17, or 18, I automatically answered Christian - Protestant...because up until that point, that's who I was. No ifs, ands, or buts. I went to church, I was a cute little Sunday school kid who went to a small community church with a reverend who raised cattle. But every time I saw my profile, every time I saw that label of myself, it didn't feel right. I am not a Bible thumper, I don't pray really. I don't spend my life wondering how what I am doing looks like to god. So I came to the realization that I am really not a protestant. And in fact, I don't really agree with the Bible on much. For instance:

1) When God floods the Earth and kills everything on it except for Noah's family, and two of every kind of animal (except Unicorns, you know. Poor buggers).
2) When God kills every first born son except for the people who got the message to put blood on their door (apparently they should have signed up for text message alerts).
3) All the RIDICULOUS, non-modern rules that people have to pick and choose to live by.
Some of these rules include not being homosexual (even though it has been proven that people can be genetically homosexual, oh but that's right, that whole Bible and science conflict...), not socializing with women when they are having their period (cause girls have cooties ewww!), and not eating shrimp, lobster, or any other kind of shellfish (guess the whole state of Maine is out of luck).

When you read these rules, you probably think, well the Bible is an ancient text and was written in an entirely different time and these rules are not to be taken literally. And that is correct. We understand how menstrual periods work now, and aren't as entirely grossed out by it. We also know how to properly eat such sea creatures without getting sick. But we also don't offer gay people the same rights as other people...and most people vote against referendums (in my opinion) for equal rights for homosexuals because of their religious views. I don't understand why people can pick and choose things from the Bible to follow, and how other rules are kicked to the curb. And it is this misunderstanding and the judgment that comes from it that turns me away from organized religion and the Bible in general.

Moving away from the Bible, I want to discuss about what organized religion has done for the world. Sure, it has inspired millions. But it has also started a large amount of wars by men simply screaming, "God wills it!". It has been the cause of discrimination, bigotry, hate, and murder that cannot be denied. How am I supposed to believe in something that tells me my friends are sinners because of the way they were born?

Being agnostic became the answer for me. Being an agnostic does not deny the existence of a god, simply that you reject the unquestioning beliefs of organized religion, and that it cannot be proven whether a god also fights back against atheism, arguing that it cannot be proven that NO god exists. Would I like it if one day a god stepped down from the sky and said he was protecting all of us? Absolutely. But for now, I don't see how that is possible.

And no, I don't live in fear that I won't go to heaven when I die, or hell. I don't need to live by a religious code to be moral. I don't need commandments to tell me how to treat people. If anything, I am proud of myself. I am a considerate, decent, moral, human being that is willing to question teachings and the world I live in. I can be moral without being told to be, or fearing being punished if I am not.

But no, I will not live by a code, or fear, or by a book. Until undeniable evidence of a god, until all people are treated equally under a religion, until love is the REAL lesson of any god or religion. Agnostic I will be. Agnostic, and happy.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Roomie. Change should start with the self, so I appreciate your willingness to deconstruct yourself.

    What I find fascinating about religion is how it gave people comfort and purpose in a world that was totally confusing and magical. In this it was the precursor to nationalism. Just like nationalism, it came with heavy consequences, many of which you point out. Now, through science and philosophy we have evolved our conscious to where the world is no longer so terrifying and magical (though we are still at the tip of the iceberg in understanding our natural world). So people are beginning to pick and choose from religion, and even blending eastern practices into their religious rituals. This is the death of Religion as ideology, at least in the west. But as moral code it is still very alive.

    Crazy as it seems coming from an ardent atheist like moi, liberal christian morality is what informs my moral and ethical choices. It is what governs my interactions with the world. I can't help it, it's how the western world works, it is what I was taught in school (which was not a religious school). Our primary laws mostly originated with christian theologians (Machiavelli and all of our fore-fathers were God fearing Christians) and our communities were organized around the principles we find in the bible. We find Christian values in our Human Rights documents and in the charter of the UN. So I disagree that you don't live by a code; we all do, and here in the North East particularly, it is informed by christianity, but it is so ingrained in the fabric of our society that we take it for secular morality, but it ain't.

    Well, anyway. Good stuff.