Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dear Christian

I am inclined to believe that atheists will never be able to conclusively prove that the generic “god” does not exist. I can’t foretell this, but it seems that there are too many obstacles and unknowns to justify such a belief.

However, I believe that I am fully justified to not believe in the god of the Bible, the god of the Qur’an, the god of Joseph Smith, the god of Scientology, and many other gods which we know of now.

In all likelihood, I cannot disprove the existence of these gods. But there are things of which I know now which to me make it highly unlikely that any of these gods would exist.

Is evolution true? Then I cannot take the Bible literally.

Is the Biblical revelation, and more importantly, the interpretation of Biblical revelation, inconsistent? Then I cannot take the Bible (or most forms of Christianity) seriously.

Is the mind a product of the brain? Then I see no reason why I should believe in the concept of the “soul”.

A metaphorical interpretation of the Bible is more or less fine until I start to doubt the coherency of Christian dogma. But the incoherency is more or less defensible or avoidable until I doubt the existence of the “soul”.

Then I must proceed in doubting the premises of Christianity, due to this continually evolving set of circumstances.

If, once I begin to doubt the premises of Christianity, I cannot defend them, nor convince myself of their meaning or relevance or application or even existence, then I cannot in good faith profess Christianity as my religion, and then I feel compelled to move on to something else.

I am not here to insult or denigrate you.

I just want to express my beliefs, my experiences, and my struggles. I want to illuminate the discussions of religion and faith and skepticism. I want to contribute to our knowledge. I want to engage others in intelligent, calm, rational argument.

I am sure that you want the very same things that I do.


Uruk said...

Very good post.

Very well said.

I have tried to express what you've said, but your words echo my sentiments better than my own!

Anonymous said...

Nicely said - HOWEVER, as an atheist you have no obligation to disprove anyone's fables any more than you have an obligation to disprove the existence of unicorns. The burden of proof is always on the person who makes the assertion, not the one who challenges the assertion. So, to the believer who challenges an atheist to prove their position, I would respond "I'm not the one making the assertion that your holy book is true, you are. Prove your assertion to me." At that point, they usually respond, "Well, how else do you explain the universe being the way it is - only God could have done that!" Of course, that sort of confusion is what gave rise to religion in the first place. It's OK to admit we don't know how or why something is the way it is. The fact that our science-based investigative methods are unable to answer some questions doesn't give credence to mystical ones...