Lots of them, all over youtube – mostly stemming from the last part of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnXRbEvmbOk, and mostly civil and reasonable, and MOSTLY by kids. Wow. It makes me feel like we might just have a future again.
I don’t exactly agree with his analogy, but I dig that critical thinking. I like mental exercises like that and I hate that fundamentalists and extremists shut shit like that down. I also hate that the scholarly atheists that I once admired as positive religious focal points do the same shit, just in a different way. Probably the biggest problem that I have with religion (though not like… belief), is how static so much of it is or claims to be (recognizing that a lot has changed over the last thousand years in spite of itself). And that’s the SAME FUCKING THING THAT I SEE IN SO MANY ATHEISTS!!!
I guess you could call me an atheist. I used to positively identify myself as one. I’m sure part of that was the trendiness of it all, though I’d like to think not. The biggest part was really just realizing that I’ve never really believed. I grew up with the Bible being pretty present (though not oppressive) and the religious people around me being pretty cool. I had little knowledge of other religions until middle school and no idea that you could just not have a religion. As a kid, I thought it was like skin color. You were just born with one andeveryone was born with one. None was any better than another and you just got one depending on your parents. After becoming more aware of other religions and the way a lot of religious people viewed things, I really started to think I wasn’t normal. It really seemed like everyone really believed everything in their religious scripture and that they all completely believed their religious leaders. But I didn’t. I just considered them stories as a kid, and when I started really thinking about them, they didn’t make sense.
Well, some stuff did. Like I didn’t completely believe that Jesus’ pops was omnipotent and also somehow him… that was a little odd. However, I did believe that he existed and that at least some amount of the stuff written about him totally happened. I did believe in magic at the time, so I bought into the water-to-wine bit… but I didn’t buy the resurrection part. And I didn’t buy any of that Noah’s Ark jazz or Adam and Eve. I really didn’t even believe that “God” was real, but that it as more of a concept. I just thought this stuff was like Aesop’s Fables. Everyone knew it wasn’t real, but we were supposed to read the stuff. Ponder on what we’ve read. Discuss it with one another. Try to derive something meaningful and helpful for our lives from it.
Then I started to see that this wasn’t how everyone felt. Because of the way information has been delivered to us, it started to seem like everyone actually believed that the Bible (or Koran/Torah/Whateve’s) was completely factual and that’s that. That scared the shit out of me. All I could think about was either everyone is crazy and stupid or I am. In retrospect, I would say that this though deeply disturbed me during my high school years. Then I started to see that there were people like me (or so I thought). They, too, didn’t believe. And this is where shit really goes off the rails for me, and becomes a discussion far too long for today’s post. Long story short – I slowly and painfully found that I didn’t identify with anyone on religion, and that was horrifying. A few years ago, I started to find it less horrifying. Then sometime last year I became very comfortable and happy with my views and the ever-changing state in which I view them… this isn’t making a lot of sense, but more or less I became cool with not agreeing but being able to see and like other people’s views. Fuck, that just complicated it more. Fuck it, I give up.
Early this year I started catching people online that actually do feel the way I do. I consider myself a Humanist. Partly because I find it positive and more philosophy than religion. Mostly because Humanist really doesn’t mean shit. And yeah, probably another part of it is trendiness. There are Humanist Christians, Humanist Muslims, Humanist [fill in yo’ thang here], and Humanists Atheists. There isn’t really a central dogma, which is what Atheism is, except that it isn’t. The dogma is that there positively is no god. In the west, Atheism has gained another dogma – if you think there is one, you’re a fuckin’ idiot and an asshole. I can’t dig on that.
So what do I believe? There is no god in the sense of a personal, omnipotent being that cares about our day to day lives. There might be a more… existential “god”. Like a universalwill towards whatever the universe is taking us to (physically, through time, all up in the brain piece, Nirvana [not the band] and shit), but I kinda doubt that as well. However, we don’t fuckin’ know – and that includes my own smug-assed self. And furthermore, I wish that I did believe – though not for either questions of “How did we get here” or “Why are we here”. I think we got here by a natural process. If ever there was a super-natural or god-ish interference, it was right at the beginning. Like pre-Big Bang beginning that was all like setting up dominoes. Let’s just go ahead and call it God. God was all like, “I got all these Legos, I should do something cool with them.” When he was all done, he walked away and let it do it’s thing. Eventually, the Legos started creating other Legos on their own (possibly because of Lego rules that God him/herself set up in the super-pre-beginning) and sooner or later made us. Maybe God is dead. Maybe God is just chillin’, watching the cool-assed movie that is The Universe (it was a great Discovery Channel series, by the way). But I really only put that as a place-holder, because “It was God” only makes more questions for me. If God made the Legos and put them together, who or what made the God and put it together? And who or what made God’s God? “He was always there” doesn’t work for me. Existence as a whole is basically a logical fallacy, which is my favorite mind-blower that is really tough to cork with anything other than “Shit, I guess it was God” or “I guess there was a starter universe all along”. Turtles. All the way down, stupid.
As for “Why are we here”, I don’t think there was an initial reason. If we our Legos were made by other Legos in a natural process, then the reason we were made is because we best fit the environment we were created in and adapted to. But I don’t feel an emptiness for living without reason. There is plenty of reason we can all find to live in our own lives, like family and friends and video games and buttsex. If you want a bigger reason for us being here, I use the “top of the foodchain” thing. I mean, we are (and sometimes aren’t really) at the top. And not just food. We are the most intelligent on the planet, as far as we know. We’re definitely making the biggest and quickest differences. So I’d say that I reason for being here is to be the stewards of our home. We are here to take care of it and everything on it. And when we leave it, it will be our responsibility to take care of our solar system. Quadrant. Galaxy. Galactic neighborhood. Universe. All that jazz. If there are other intelligent lifeforms out there (which, come on… there’s gotta be, right?), then we share the responsibilities with them. If they’re fucking it up, we kill ’em good. If we’re fucking it up, I’m pretty sure that they’ll kill us good. But yeah. We’re here (now) to take care of everyone/thing else and be all cool and shit. How’s that for a philosophy, bitches?
Also, I think it’s rad that we have different beliefs. The more I see, the more I agree that variety really is the spice of life. I don’t want us all to be the same. I want there to be discussion. I want there to be something to ponder. I want there to be a touch of conflict… but let’s all tone it down a good bit. I don’t know why the fuck we turned a conflict all the way up to eleven. It sounded best at about four. We should keep it there. Add effects peddles where needed.
Oh, and this kid – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiSgTTcHZqE. It’s pretty rad how well he(?) summed up some of the way I feel. Not all of it, but I can totally dig his(?) angle. Now I gotta piss, get lunch, and get back to work. Bitches.