Friday, April 10, 2009

Oh hell, I may as well come out...


I found myself commenting on a blog post about faith recently by stating that I have none. No religious faith, at any rate. I have faith, more or less, that the sun will rise tomorrow , that my husband most likely won't cheat on me, and total faith that my kids are perfect. Although that latter one strikes me more as fact than something I need to believe in. It's just true- obviously.

I have faith that when a small red dog bothers a skunk late at night we will most likely be heading out for Skunk Removal Product in the morning ( and that's how *my* Friday began...yours?) , I have faith that the ground will stay beneath my feet ( I lost that faith in California where occasionally it didn't).

Anyhow, I digress.

I am an Athiest. I suppose I could say that really I am an Agnostic but lately I have been feeling militant. Most folks, in this country, have a belief in what Bill Maher calls "The Space God"-that Being that sits somehow removed from us in an odd place called Heaven and yet also active in our daily lives. I don't. That makes me, in this society, an Atheist.
Even if The Space God were to show up on my doorstep I would probably kick Him/Her/It/ Them out for doing a really lousy job. No, I won't worship anything that allows things like the recent Earthquake in Italy, The 2004 Tsunami, and a myriad of other nasty things like,say, skunk spray. I am not arrogant enough to think that any sort of Supreme Being would have an interest in my tiny life ( have you looked at the Hubble Telescope pictures lately folks?- if there is a God it probably doesn't care about out little lives here).

Go here for a list of common misconceptions about Atheism

So, what do you all think? Apparently after Carl Sagan died his wife , Anne Druyan, was asked if Carl had finally become a Believer as he approached death. She is reported to have said" Carl didn't want to believe. Carl wanted to know". I'm with Carl.

I was raised Christian, dabbled in a variety of New Agey ideas, and , over time and experience, have come to think that there is no one in charge. Or at least no one like the God my mom believed in- an all loving God who watches over and takes care of everyone. I have seen zero evidence of that Being.

Science is the best tool humans have for understanding reality and it does a pretty good job, all things considered. I'm sticking with that until someone can convince me that there is something better. So far I have found nothing. And I have looked. A lot.

ETA: This isn't a choice: I should add here , for understanding, that I could no more choose to believe than I could choose my eye color ( tinted contacts notwithstanding). I don't believe because I don't believe. I have tried. I don't think I got the "God gene" .

21 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

Clearly this is not about anything I said. I value all points of view and believe the world needs diversity which includes all perspectives.

Because my faith is my foundation and cornerstone for all my own values, it's hard for me to find any common ground with atheists. The misunderstanding here is a great example.

Have a good weekend, Crone51. It's a free country and you can believe or disbelieve anything you want to!

crone51 said...

What misunderstanding? What are you talking about?

crone51 said...

Wait a minute. You left the same comment here that you left on your own site to a comment I made that was nothing like this post.

Now, I am really confused!!!

Reya Mellicker said...

Hey wait a minute. Please reread my comments, OK? What you'll see is that I respect all approaches and perspectives, and that because my faith is the foundation of all my values, it's hard for me to communicate with atheists. I talk to - and value my exchanges - with people who have different values than myself. Ask my friends!

Don't you think this exchange is a perfect example of misunderstanding?

I do.

Read my blog or not as you please.

I have no dog in this fight, Crone51 and I'm puzzled by your vitriol. Have a great weekend.

crone51 said...

What vitriol? I felt and feel no vitriol. Is it possible you are misunderstanding me?

And yes, I see that you say that you respect all perspectives but I also hear you saying that you don't want to talk to Atheists. Fine, whatever.
look at it this way... What if I were to say " I can't communicate with religious people because they don't share my world view".
Or how about.. I can't talk to Christians our world view is too different. Or I can't communicate with Spanish people , our world view is too different. How is that different than "I can't communicate with Atheists etc.... " Can you possibly understand how that would feel a little hurtful? t.
I don't have problems with communicating with religious folks. Most people can find common ground simply because they are human and love and live and do human being sort of things. There is certainly that folks have in common than not, unless of course they choose to see it that way.

What it sounds to me that you're saying is that you don't want to bother communicating with people who don't share your world view. Seems kinda sad to me. Please forgive me if I am wrong about that.

crone51 said...
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crone51 said...
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Reya Mellicker said...

I checked with my roommate of eight years just to make sure he doesn't think of himself as agnostic. Nope, he's an atheist. The two of us have lived together in happiness and harmony almost as long as I was married. So I definitely am compatible with atheists and with all other stripes in terms of belief.

I had no idea atheists were "hated." I haven't experienced that. My friend Marian is a dyed in the wool atheist (since the age of 8 she tells me). I love her but she is so intolerant of anyone who has faith. I think I was referring to her in my comment.

But let me say again: she is one of my best friends. We don't speak of spirituality; we can't - we have no common ground in that realm. Any time we try to discuss it, we just get into an argument because she dismisses my faith as projection and holds science over my head. So weird. I love science. Probably I was referring to her in the comment.

Can we call a truce, please? No ill will here. None. I promise. Believe me.

crone51 said...

Yes, of course, a truce.

It is somewhat surprising that you are unaware of prejudice against Atheists. Do you know any openly Atheist elected officials?

You may want to check this out for starters.
http://volokh.com/posts/1144075320.shtml

http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/downey_24_4.htm

Here is a bit of an example from the second link- It's not atypical.

Ada, Oklahoma: A Baptist student told a local newspaper she wouldn’t take professor William Zellner’s classes because he was an atheist, triggering a flurry of abuse. Zellner received harassing notes and telephone calls, some threatening. His car was vandalized, for a time on a daily basis. A local church sold “I am praying for Dr. Zellner” buttons. His children experienced shunning and beatings from religious children.

only a movie said...

My blog is never full of intellectual discourse ::sigh::

This would be an interesting place for me to weigh in, because I know I am in the middle somewhere. But I'm too tired and fried the write coherently.

Not a Christian. Not an atheist. Can't stand how people spend tons of time worrying about what other people believe.

I do believe in baseball, however.

talk soon
E

Ronda Laveen said...

Hmmm, where do I start? Taking things in order of importance, I guess with skunk spray. That seems most critical at the moment. Unlike science vs. religion/spirituality, this IS something I know tons about. My 3 pooches have been sprayed more times than I care to think and smell about. The magic solution, the ingredients of which I ALWAYS keep on hand: Dawn dishwashing detergent (degreaser), a quart of peroxide (fresh), and 1/4 cup (but I usually use 1/2 cup for good luck) baking soda. Can not be mixed ahead and stored. Make right before ready to wash. Mix soda and peroxide and add detergent enough to make good suds. After you wash the flea bag and it is wet, you will still be able to smell old skunky. But after it is, dry there will be just a hint of the lower musky notes.

My sister feels much the same as you. She just doesn't get the higher power thing. I keep trying to bring it but I understand how she can feel that way. For about the last five years, she and her family just can not catch a break. Not one. Not any kind. One catastrophe of magnanimous proportions after another. In GOD vs. DOG, it is the latter she says she can truly believe in.

Unlike you, I did get the GOD gene. But not the God that sits in Heaven watching over our every move, approving our admission to that realm. I live in California so am used to walking on shaky ground. I believe in the great powers of creation that the Hubble shows us. I believe in power far stronger than human ability.

Regarding science and spirituality, have you read Dr. Amit Goswami's Physics of the Soul?
He taught physics for 32 years. He was a professor of Theoretical Science at the University of Oregon. He is the current senior resident researcher at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. In his book, he uses quantum physics to explore and scientifically prove metaphysical theories of reincarnation and immortality. He shows that they are not only compatible but also provide support for each other.

Check it out if you haven't. It gives you more to wrap your mind around. I am cursed with always being able to see both sides of any arguement. In my internal arguement, my right brain, indeed, got the God gene. However, my left brain needs scientific proof. This book helped.

crone51 said...

Ronda, I had actually looked up the skunk spray recipe but we didn't have enough H2O2, and I read that it would dye your dog! Did your dog turn grey? I mean folks are dying Easter Eggs this weekend but dyeing my dog seems somehow extreme. Although amusing.
Anyhow, we did get some ready made stuff at the pet store and it worked pretty well - we have some of the lower musky notes ( love that term) . It would be cool to have a Musky Husky, no? Thanks!

I have read a lot of Physics/ religion books. Read The Tao Of Physics and The Dancing Wu Li Masters and God and the New Physics ( Paul Davies) years ago . I love them all. Learning about Quantum physics changed my world view - and I totally got the idea that Eastern thought was coming up with some ideas that described , loosely, what is going on on the subatomic level. I love that stuff. I just don't see it as proof of a higher power, or a soul, or anything like that. I just appreciate that it shows us that the universe is very odd and full of surprises.
I spent a lot of my younger life searching for something to pull everything together and make sense- but the more I learn about our little lives here the less I see any evidence of a kind and loving God or any kind of god(s). I am fine with existing in uncertainty although I did say back in my original response to Reya's discussion of faith that I envy people who have faith- I just find it impossible for me. And I am tired of having religion being forced upon me in America and I am sick and tired of it having any place at all in our Government.
I love what religious communities , however, can do for their communities - but I see almost as much evidence of destructive forces as I do uniting forces. Think Fred Phelps. And he, of course, is a teeny tiny example.
I call myself an Atheist because I don't believe in the conventional view of God, as described in my post. I am an agnostic on the subject of higher powers in the universe somewhere - and I see no evidence that this higher power is a force that matters in our lives as human beings. That's all , really. I never stop looking though.

And my dear Only A Movie... yup, baseball, music and Doggies. I think I should start a new church that combines them all. Although, of course, you do, root for the devils own team ( said Crone, ducking and running).

Ronda Laveen said...

I have used the skunk solution many, many times. I have a white dog, a black dog, and a black and white dog. Nary a one got dyed. Glad your stuff worked though. That spray is the oiliest, stinkiest, long lastingest stuff there is.

I love quantum too.

Mrsupole said...

Hi there,

I rarely get involved in these conversations, but just wanted to let you know I would still talk to you. And I think what Reya is trying to say is that she just would not be able to talk about her faith with you and this seems to be a large part of her being and her conversations, which is just wonderful for me. She does talk about everyday things too, and that is also great.

Whatever you want to believe is fine with me. I will believe what I want and hope that is fine with you. But just want to say that they call it "Faith" because if there was proof positive it would be called "Here's The Proof". And sadly people of a different 'faith' can treat others very badly. Regardless of what you believe if it is not exactly what they believe, you are wrong. My faith is my faith. Their faith is their faith. Your lack of faith is your lack of faith. My belief that I do not need proof is my faith. Your belief that you need proof gives you your lack of faith. I know you think it is not a choice to you, but to others it is. Who is right about there being a God, who positively 100% knows this answer. The difference is that we have "faith" that there is a higher being out there all around us. Others need proof before they will believe.

But no matter what anyone believes about God or no God, there is love, but if you think about this one, is love a part of "faith". Oh well, you feel and believe what you want, and I will feel and beleive what I want. I would never hate you, because I would rather love you and everyone else. Hate takes too much of my life's energy to do that to anyone.

And so I will treat you the same as I do to everyone and say God bless.

I think I will post a copy of this comment over on Reya's site so as to spread the love around.

I hope those deleted comments were not mean, because "mean" takes up too much energy too. And I hope I made sense to you and others.

God bless again.

crone51 said...

Thanks , Mrs.S . No, those were my comments and they weren't mean. Just misspelled . I wish Blogger had an edit comments feature because I sometimes push "publish" before I have proofread and before I fix typos and other stuff!

I have no problem with people of faith- As I have said many times before I envy them.

It's just not something I have. I don't bring it up much, usually, it's just something about that original comment on Reya's site ( about not being able to communicate with atheists) pushed a button for me. If I had said that about religious people I assume there would have been quite the outcry. We all have common ground, we're human.

Mrsupole said...

I am glad those were not mean comments because even though someone has different beliefs there should be no meanness. I sometimes get amazed at the intolerance of those that claim their beliefs are full of love and then they are so hateful to those who do not believe what they do. Now politics, that is something different, everyone can argue about this one, but still they should not be mean. I already know mine are different than yours and some others, so I also choose to not talk about that one too.

But as to sci-fi, I am crazy about those shows. I am not sure how I liked the ending of Battlestar Galatica, but I thought I saw something about how they are going to do a new series from the Cylons viewpoint. And I can hardly wait for the new Stargate Universe series to begin in the fall. I am not sure if I have ever missed seeing any of their shows because I have been recording them for years. When the new Star Trek movie comes out I am so hoping to talk hubby into going to see it. Some movies are just meant to see at the theater and most Sci-fi get my vote. If not I will talk one of my sisiters into going.

I am not sure if you watch Monk, my favorite show, but it is on it's last season too. And sadly there will be no spin-off because there can only be one Monk. Sigh, really big sigh.

God bless.

crone51 said...

Mrs. S? You love Science Fiction?

The heck with politics and religion- we are obviously sisters!
I had some problems with the BSG finale ( especially about you know who kind of not resolving) but basically I loved it. I eat that stuff up. And oh, my , the husband and I most certainly will be there for the new Trek.
I am not a Stargate fan really- the new one looks less silly than the others, though.
I really haven't seen that much of Monk but what I have seen I have adored. Tony Shaloub is terrific.
There will be a made for TV movie called The Plan ( from the POV of the Cylons) and then a series called Caprica about the colonies 50 years before the attack ( decadence, technology run amok, etc.). That will start with a DVD pilot. I have a link to a great blog that contains all that info for BSG geeks ( It's called Galactica Sitrep). Check it out!

Obviously I need to get a life.

California Girl said...

I find it easier to believe. I guess I don't know what I'd do if I simply stopped believing. I understand the phrase "faith of a child" because it was easy for me to have faith when I was young. It was unshakable. Everything was black & white, good or bad that sort of thing. Shades of grey enter the picture as you age and gain perspective. But it doesn't make it any easier.

crone51 said...

Hi California Girl and nice to see you. I like your blogs a lot. Yeah, I envy you. I would really like to believe in something sometimes. Today I was walking out in the woods just wishing I could find something out there to believe in- but I've tried. I just *don't*. I could no more believe in a higher power than I could resume believing in the Easter Bunny ( Santa Claus, on the other hand, is real. I've seen him).

Gaston Studio said...

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I think it was the one before, but it's entitled "Baptists" and I think you will find it extremely interesting.

crone51 said...

Gaston Studio - Thanks so much for linking to Snowbrush. Very enjoyable. As are you!