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A Few Realizations


Jeff H

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Well, first off I'd like to welcome anyone who may read this to my new blog. I've actually been a "blogger" (read: nerd) for several years now, but on a different blog. I'd post the link to it, but as I have not yet told my parents or anyone else about my loss of faith, I'd like to keep this area of my life separate for the time being. At any rate, during said time, this blog will be my place to post my thoughts, rambling and incoherent though they may be, in regards to my thoughts on religion, faith, etc. In other words, I will say here what I can't yet say on my main blog, and that's just the way it's going to be. But at any rate, with that said, welcome. In case of emergency, there are doors on both sides of the blog. Your seat cushion may also be used as a flotation device.

 

Anyways, I had a couple realizations tonight. Well, within about the last twenty minutes, actually. The first is that, thought I never thought about it this way before, in some ways evolution turned me into an atheist.

 

Now, this was not in the way that Christians like to point out - "Believing those lies about us descending from apes destroys morality and denies God! You are abandoning God and listening to the lies of Satan!" This, my friends, is utterly ridiculous. Although I will admit that science does have, in some ways, anti-God overtones, this is only because science is concerned with explaining the natural world. Since God is obviously outside of this realm, he is therefore outside the realm of science, and thus removed from scientific discussion. But I digress. A few months ago, I told my father that I believed in evolution. I tried to do it as nicely as possible. At first, I brought up my objections to the movie "Expelled" (which, by the way, is a horrible movie, but a great comedy). He sort of eyed me suspiciously, not knowing what was to come next, and tentatively tried to defend creationism. Then all hell broke loose, and we ended up having a two or three hour argument about evolution. In the end, it was an entirely fruitless discussion. I fully expected this. But at the same time, I had to tell him what I had concluded. I hate lying to my parents, and now that I have lost my faith, I am finding it hard to live a double life. But for the time being, in the interest of keeping the peace, that is what I am doing. When I do eventually tell them, I anticipate a similarly fruitless discussion, only this one may be four or five hours long instead.

 

At any rate, several times throughout this evolution argument with my dad, he mentioned that evolution led to atheism. At the time, I completely disagreed with him. And I still do, in the way that he meant it. There are plenty of religious evolutionists out there, and there are plenty of evolutionist Christians out there as well. They don't seem to be having a problem with their faith, so the argument fails. But in one way, which I realized tonight, he's right. Evolution does lead to atheism. Not because it inherently denies God or destroys the whole plan of salvation in the Bible, but rather because accepting evolution, at least as a fundamentalist, is the first step toward thinking in an evidence-based mindset.

 

Before, my faith was always, well, faith-based. If the evidence contradicted the Bible, the evidence was wrong. A priori. Didn't matter if it was backed up by 100 years of science, 100% of scholars, or 4 out of 5 dentists. It was wrong. But eventually, doubts about this approach crept into my brain. Why should I be accepting the Bible to be true a priori, but not anything else? Surely there must be a reason to accept it as truth, right? I had always been told various ways in which the Bible could be proven true, which I won't get into here, but that, then, means that we are using outside authority and outside evidence to prove the truth of the Bible. How can one use physical evidence to prove the Bible, then turn around and use the Bible to prove the physical evidence wrong? It just doesn't make sense. It's all very selective - whatever fits, you accept, and whatever doesn't fit, you reject.

 

Well, my doubts about this method grew, and I started investigating. I decided that truth, or as close as mankind can get to it, is found by weighing all the evidence, and then determining where the weight of evidence lies. And using this method, I re-evaluated all my beliefs. That included evolution. I studied that for a good four or five months solid - reading everything I could on evolution, creation, etc. But once I accepted evolution to be true, the rest of my beliefs crumbled. Not because I had implicitly accepted atheism by accepting evolution. But rather, I had decided, by accepting evolution, that evidence-based conclusions were the only way to determine truth. Once that mindset was locked in, the rest soon followed.

 

So it's odd that in a way my dad was right, even though he was wrong in what he meant. Evolution, in some small way, contributed to my atheism by allowing me to see the truth about, well, truth. It's an interesting way of looking at my experiences, and it really reveals how philosophically bankrupt Christianity, or at least fundamentalist Christianity, really is. When you accept that truth comes by revelation only, then you open yourself up to a whole slew of questions. Was this real? Was it from God? Is it correct? Am I crazy? Am I just making it up? How do I figure out that my revelation is true, and the Muslims' revelations are false? After all, if you accept that truth comes by revelation, the only way to determine the truth of a revelation is by more revelation. I think you can see the problem there...

 

At any rate, on a completely different topic, I had one other short realization that I'd like to share tonight. This one comes from an argument with a Christian. I still check a couple Christian forums from my soul-searching days, and I've been having an argument with someone about whether they truly have the power that Jesus says they do - the whole thing about a little faith being able to move mountains. At any rate, she is convinced she has this power, and told me that she had demonstrated it as well. But when I asked for examples of her demonstrations, she resorted to this verse:

 

"But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (1 Cor. 2:14)

 

This is a verse that I have seen repeated to many atheists, and it's the equivalent of saying, "I'd tell you, but you just wouldn't get it." It's a conversation-ender. It's a debate-stopper. And tonight, I realized that it's pretty passive-aggressive. It struck me that this is the sort of thing that (stereotypically, I know) girlfriends/wives say to their boyfriends/husbands - "You just wouldn't understand." In other words, you're not going to get it, so I'm not even going to waste my time even trying. And that, my friends, is what Christians love to talk about. Any time anyone points out a contradiction or an error in their reasoning, they pull out this card: "You just wouldn't understand." I've seen entire arguments over how God's logic is apparently different and higher than our logic, and therefore we must trust what he says. Why? Because he knows best. Why? Because I said so. Sounds like great reasoning - oh wait, they're not using man's reasoning anyways. Apparently the Holy Spirit is telling them all this stuff. So why doesn't the Holy Spirit just go on national television and impart his wisdom to everyone? If it's so great, then people should get it. But no. He works in mysterious ways, and again, "you just wouldn't understand."

 

So those are my realizations. My third one is that I realize this is a very long post. For that, I apologize. I have reasons, but you just wouldn't understand it, and it'd probably make you into an atheist anyway. Good night!

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