Friday, September 07, 2007

A Statement of Belief, or Feel Free to Tell Me Why I am Wrong:

Since I talk about religion so often, I thought I'd try to explain exactly what I believe. So I'll put my cards on the table. I don't just believe in this, but I think I have good reason for my assertions. But don't be surprised if I don't engage you because this isn't something I have a passion on going back and forth on. Charles Murray once described himself as an 80/20 agnostic. 80% on the side that there is no God, no nothing, 20% on the side that there is. I'm also an 80/20 agnostic, but the reverse, 80% that there probably is a divine Providence (a less loaded word than "God"), 20% that there isn't.

My reason is simply this: I disagree with the atheistic philosophers' assertion that there is no necessity for something beyond. Every cause in the material world needs an explanation or a first cause. Divine Providence, as a "prime mover" needs no such explanation because He/She/It/They exists outside of time/space/matter/energy framework.

That said, just because I am an open to the notion of Providence doesn't mean I'm open to any religious notion. Indeed, for a variety of reasons that I think are quite sound, I've closed my mind to many religious notions. For instance, I'm not agnostic on Zeus, Thor or Odin. I actively disbelieve in them as gods. I also actively disbelieve that Allah sent those 19 highjackers into the World Trade Center and rewarded them with virgins in Heaven. Further, I actively disbelieve in eternal damnation for any human soul (damnation in the traditional sense; if separation from "God" means you get to live out eternity eating, drinking and being merry -- in other words "sinning" -- not in His presence, then that is not as morally irrational as eternal punishment for finite sins which no infinitely good Being would implement; belief that human beings deserve eternal torture not just for their finite sin, but for Adams' original sin is not just morally irrational, but something that can sicken the mind and corrupt the soul). And I actively disbelieve that much of the Christian Bible is the infallible word of God. Ben Franklin once said something along the lines of certain things in the Bible are impossible to have been given by divine inspiration. I agree.

I remain open to the notion that such "God" if He/She/It/They exist[s] is a deistic clockmaker that, for whatever reason, doesn't interfere in the man's affairs. Or, perhaps such Providence does intervene, but only by manipulating contingencies, playing dice with the universe if you will, not breaking the laws of nature or science (like parting the Red Sea). My mind will change on this once such "miracles" are demonstrated by testing in a lab environment.

I also remain open to the notion of reincarnation. If we are put on Earth to learn -- and it makes sense that we are -- how much can we possibly learn in one lifetime?

I guess the best label to describe myself would be "agnostic/deist/theist."

Finally, I feel put off not just by religious fundamentalist who claim "knowledge" that their Bible or Koran is the absolute word of God (look what such supposed "knowledge" lead to on 9/11, and the terrible blood shed in the Christian world before the Enlightenment), but also by fervent atheists who claim such "knowledge" that nothing exists after death.

Sorry buds, (and yes, I'm talking to you atheists and religious fundamentalists) but you don't know that.

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