I guess if people were to examine my beliefs they could claim that they are atheistic in nature. I don’t believe in a god (at least not the type of God that most religious people would recognise)and do believe that it is good to constantly question my own beliefs. I think the difference is that I do not find it unreasonable that other people should believe in God/gods. I have not ruled out the possibility of such an entity existing. I just don’t know.
Is it Reasonable to Believe in God?
I would imagine that most atheists will agree that it is not possible to prove or disprove the existence of God/gods. Their main argument seems to be that it is unreasonable for people to believe in such an entity without evidence. This is where my thinking departs from the atheist. Who gets to decide what is reasonable and unreasonable to believe in? I can decide that it is unreasonable for me to believe in something, but this does not give me the right to decide that the same should apply to everyone else. I have to at least consider the possibility that my view of the world is wrong and give other people the benefit of the doubt.
These days most atheists seem to be materialists and this is another reason why I would not count myself among their number. Belief in science requires a lot of faith. It means accepting that the world exists as we perceive it, and this is something that is not possible to prove. It also involves faith in inductive reasoning – the belief that because something happened in the past it will continue to happen in the future. I agree that science is a wonderful tool for dealing with the material world, but this does not mean that it is ultimately pointing at anything true. Those who seem most blinded by science will respond to any gaps in knowledge by saying that “it will all be explained soon”. This is another leap of faith. I also think it is unfair to keep asking believers for proof of their god in the physical world when it is perfectly possible that such an entity would live outside of it. Many religious people have faith because of personal revelation – they may not be able to prove such belief scientifically but this does not mean that they are unreasonable to hold such beliefs.
The Problem with Atheists
The bullying and arrogant manner of many atheists makes me feel even more alienated towards their arguments. At least the religious fundamentalists do not try to disguise their intolerance. It seems to me that the most dangerous people on the planet are those who believe they know what is best for other people – there are many atheists who would fall into this camp. Some of these folk sound like missionaries out to save the lost souls. All fanatics label those who do not believe the same way as them stupid; alarm bells go off in my brain when atheists do the same.
The argument that much of the evil in the world is caused by religion does not sound convincing to me. It is way too simplistic. Conflict has more to do with human nature than belief in a god. I don’t believe that the world would be any better without religion – that is just another ideology that provides an easy scapegoat. Shit happens in the world and if extremists didn’t have religion as an excuse to do bad things they would find something else. Haters will always find a way to hate.
I don’t really want to offend any atheists with my words here. My reason for writing this is to just clear some of the mental garbage in my own head. For some reason sharing these thoughts with other people seems to be more effective than just writing them in a private journal. There are certainly some powerful minds within the atheist community, but I just sometimes wish they were a bit more open-minded. I wish that modern skepticism wasn’t so tied in with materialism; I feel it is good to question everything. My own view is life is unknowable so anything is possible. That is why I am not an atheist.