On Christmas Eve I went to church. It is the church I went to as a child, the church I have not set foot in in over 20 years. I went looking for something, my sister perhaps. The church had changed as things do over time and in our memories. The people had changed too. I enjoyed the carols, the singing, the stories. I did not find what I was looking for, something to fill the hole where my sister used to live inside me. At some point I will have to accept that she is truly gone and the only things left of her are the impact she had on the people she touched and the words she left behind. I will have to be content with her in my memory and dreams. I also didn’t find God there in “his ” house. I’m sorry to my believer friends, I worry they will judge me or feel sorry for me. I am mad at myself that I fear my friends judgment. None the less it is there in my heart. The following is how I feel about God, take it or leave it, it is my truth.
I am a scientist. Even before I had the legit college degree to prove it, I was a scientist. As a child I studied the world around me; I didn’t ask why is the sky blue, I asked how can it change color? I didn’t think about gold at the end of the rainbow, I considered what makes a rainbow happen and why don’t I see more of them. From a very young age to this moment in time, I deal in the tangible world that can be studied, observed or dissected to find answers. This does not mean I am devoid of faith or the ability to believe in things that have yet to be proven or cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Christmas is an interesting time of year for me because I do not believe in God. I do not celebrate the birth of a man called Christ, though I do think it is fun to say “Happy Birthday Jesus”. I do celebrate the spirit of giving and loving that Christmas holiday has evolved into. I am neither angered by nor interested in “Jesus is the reason for the Season” and I do not begrudge my family and friends who choose to believe in a higher power; it is their right to believe or have faith in whatever strikes their fancy. I believe this is part of the human condition, and who am I to judge this? I don’t say this with a niggling of doubt that there might actually be a Supreme Being and I want to hedge my bets, I say this because I really believe that life is hard and if believing in or worshiping something that can neither be seen or proven makes you feel better or helps you make sense of the world around you than I am glad you can find such peace. It is not my view, and I don’t understand it, but please don’t let me stop you from investing in your decision. And I ask the same respect from you, please stop disrespecting my decision or lack of religion; and for all that is good and “holy” in your world, PLEASE stop praying for me. I’m all set, thanks.
I love the certainty of science and math. I love critical thinking and logical arguments. I enjoy cohesive thoughts that move from A to B with clear and brilliant strokes of genius and dependable theories or facts that encourage in depth thought and wonders to ponder. I love that 1+1=2 and that if I am presented with 1+X=2 I have a proven way to solve for X. I do not have to take it on faith that X is 1, nor do I need to make giant leaps in logic to believe that X=1; all I need is cohesive algebraic math to get me from point A to point B. It is sort of like Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Now, before you get your hackles raised listen to my thought process. Before you make a decision on how you feel about what you think I am going say, please just actually listen to my words. Darwin’s theory has not been entirely proven within a shadow of a doubt, this is why it is still called a theory instead of a law or fact. This is as opposed to Newton’s “LAW” of gravity, it is a provable fact. Anyhoo, the Theory of Evolution makes a coherent cohesive argument for evolution as the process by which man, and other species of animals and plants, came into being. It gives specific examples and demonstrations throughout not only time but through a species lifecycle that support the theory (some would say prove the theory), almost to the point of it being accepted as fact. Science may be missing the proverbial missing link that prevents true “proof”, but they have done a damn fine job of filling in enough gaps that it is hard to refute the theory (of course you can choose not to see the proof but that is a different blog altogether).
So, given the wealth of information and examples available to support Darwin’s idea, I can easily accept the rest that we have not yet proven on blind faith because it passes the logic test. In a world full of infinite possibilities for the creation or development of man, this theory has more than lived up to the need for supporting evidence. If you disagree then go back to school, disagreeing because it conflicts with your “faith” is not the same thing as being able to explain why it is all a bunch of bunk. For me, science prevents the belief in an Omnipotent Creator because 1+1=2, it never equals 4 and it certainly never equals banana. I think at the very least we can all agree on that. If you want to argue that 1+1 does equal banana then please just stop reading now and move on to more sensible blogs that talk about fairies and leprechauns.
Now back to this God fellow. Religion is based on faith and “history” books written by men who had a goal or objective that included convincing other men to believe in a God. Sorry that is not disputable, the goal for writing the Bible, and other religious texts, was and will always be to convince man there is a higher power to worship and guide his actions. I get this. I really do. I understand laws to govern actions and faith to believe if we follow them good things will happen. I even get faith to believe in things we cannot see and cannot prove, after all I have already admitted that I have faith in evolution and that it has not been technically proven, so you can see I am nothing if not flexible. But to ask me to believe in God is asking me to disengage from my logical side. The side that wants equations to work out, to have a logical answer or a cohesive argument why they don’t work out. Don’t get me wrong, I know a person can be a person of science and be religious, I have two dear friends that are doctors and are also very dedicated Christians. But when I ask them, or any other believer, to make a logical argument for God that includes at least some verifiable facts they all sort of stare out into space and bring up faith or feelings. Well, faith is all good and well, I have faith, a lot of it actually, but faith does not make banana+triangle=God no matter how you try to spin it.
I am not asking for the Almighty himself to come down from the heavens and speak to me about my eternal soul. I am not asking to witness a miracle (which frankly I think are just a wonderful happenstance and crazy collisions of just the right elements). All I am asking for is a cohesive, logical argument based on facts that show or at least provide a case for a God to exist. Telling me I have to rely on faith is telling me that X in the above equation could equal any number, but respectfully, no it can’t. Telling me that the Bible is a history book that proves the events happen, will only cause me to produce many “history” books man has written over time that have little or nothing to do with actual verifiable history. Fiction is fun and entertaining, it can even seem real and so engaging you wish you could be in that world, but fiction is still fiction, and other than other religious texts, there is no corroborating evidence that any of the religious texts are anything more than stories written to convince men to follow a leader or control their actions (also sometimes known as propaganda).
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to upset anyone, some of my very best friends believe in God, and like I said I am happy for them. I often think my life would be easier if I could “give my problems to God” “be absolved of all my sins” or “know” that I will see my sister in the after life so I can stop mourning her in this one. You have no idea what a huge relief that would be to me, how much I wish that I could let down my logical brain and set my desire for truth to the side so I could just “let go and let God”. Whew! I mean I really get it.
In my sister’s last days, from what I can piece together, she was looking for God to help her, looking for some being to take away her burdens or help her understand her life. She was looking for peace and understanding and forgiveness. What she got was a line about God never giving you more than you can handle and a big old fashioned guilt trip for being unable to handle what the “good” Lord apparently felt she deserved or could manage. In fact, she couldn’t deal with what was happening to her, no one could have dealt with it, believer or not.
The bottom line is wanting to believe and wanting to find peace because of religion or a Supreme Being is fine if that works for you. If you can honestly sit down and say you are good with banana+triangle=God then good for you. I prefer to look inside myself for strength. I prefer to ask myself what is the right thing to do. I prefer to forgive myself instead of hoping someone else will. I prefer to love myself instead of needing to be loved by a “Father”. I prefer to stand tall, and believe in my own strength of character and ability to think logically to help me through life. I believe in love, I believe in respecting and supporting others. I believe in logic and sound reasoning. I believe in 1+1=2.
So in this holiday season, whether you are a believer or an atheist, I am on your side. No need to argue with me. However, I have seen far more tragedy, death, judgment, and pain in the name of religion than I have ever seen from those who don’t believe and instead hold themselves accountable for their actions and their words (as opposed to a religious being or belief). So you can keep your banana and triangle, and I’ll keep my algebra. I don’t need to hedge my bets on this one. I feel pretty confident that if there were to be such a being, truly out there in the ether, who actually created me in his own image, that he will totally get and forgive my need for logic. But either way, I’m okay.