Thursday, January 26, 2012
Just Too Dumb to Be an Atheist
There I've said it. I'm just too damned dumb to accept atheism. And, the way I see it, so are you even if you won't admit it... yet. It's the whole faith thing that stops me in my tracks. What is faith but a willingness to accept as true something that you cannot prove and otherwise wouldn't believe? It's a suspension of the common sense skepticism that we invoke every day to see us safely through a limitless variety of situations great and small. I know that's a crude definition but it works for my purposes.
To me, atheism is itself a quasi-faith. The belief that there is no greater moral power than man himself is a bit over-reaching. It is a conclusion that is founded on man's own intellect which is probably quite feeble and flawed. It's a conclusion that cannot be reached until we know everything that is inside us and outside us. Do we have any real idea of what a God would look like, how we can discern the presence or absence of a God?
Just look at how precious little we actually know. Quantum physics suggests there are no fewer than eleven dimensions. Mankind's entire experience is based on just four dimensions, one of which we don't even understand. We have the left/right dimension, the up/down dimension, the forward/backward dimension and we have something that may or may not actually even exist, time.
Time may not exist? Absolutely. Years ago I heard this perfectly explained by a senior US Navy officer who commanded the atomic clock at the US Naval Observatory. Every day he went to work with an awareness that we don't understand time, we can't even prove it exists.
All of our faiths, atheism included, are formed out of this four-dimensional awareness. Any other dimension could instantly shatter the wobbly foundations of our strains of faith. And who is to say that our dimensional realities - four, seven, nine or eleven - would be constant throughout our universe or anything that lies beyond?
It is no wonder we cling to so many "revealed" religions, each founded on one or several supposed human-deity interfaces from the ancient past. All it takes is for some guy to convince his people that he just had a quiet word with their Maker who told the guy to pass along thus and so. It either gets traction or it doesn't. If it gets traction, there you go - scripture. And then you can hand that down, century by century, unless your religion gets overtaken by another faith or your faithful get trashed by conquerors who set up their Gods instead. But the longer you keep it going the more certain adherents are to believe it's true.
Revealed religions are, in my opinion, hooey. That's why there are so many of them each convinced that all others are hooey. See, no matter what revealed religion you embrace, you already agree with me about each and every other revealed religion. That speaks volumes.
But this is about atheism which, for many, seems to be the default option when revealed religion is rejected. Why? Because you say so. Really? Because you with your pointy little head, you who understands so little, you who has never looked high and low or far and wide, you can't see God so he can't exist. And we're supposed to put aside our skepticism because of that?
So where does that leave me? I think I'm going to go with Einstein and accept that, somewhere on a scale between possibly and probably, there exists a superior being that we can perceive as Godlike. I'm going to accept this is evident in the vast mysteriousness of the universe and in human consciousness, compassion and reason. I guess that is a loose sort of Deism. Maybe that's just where you wind up when you're too dumb to be an atheist.