It may be fairer to say that I’m trending toward “deism”, as everything we understand about cosmology leads me to conclude that the cosmos requires a cause of its continuing to exist and that that cause cannot be inert, but that’s beside the point, what I’m moving away from is out and out “theism” and I hope you can all tell me whether you think I’m doing so for the right reasons, or just talking out of my ass.
First, let me state, so as to be as clear as possible, what are ‘not’ the reasons that I’m tending away from theism.
I’ll try to lay out my reasons as succinctly as possible:
My being Christian is and always was an article of faith, there is nothing that I can observe in nature that allows me to conclude that Jesus died for our sins, nothing in cosmology that leads me to conclude that the holy spirit descended on the apostles and aided them in their mission, these are all things that a faithful person accepts on the basis that, though they are fantastic, they’re possible through the grace and power of God, and on that basis I am still capable of accepting them, what I mean to say is that I am not tending away from theism because I think that the stories are “too fantastic”, however, one does “choose” to believe them as an act of faith, it isn’t like science where we simply collect data and conclude based on that data. Faith is faith and I still have the capacity for it.
I also believe that the state of religion today, which is highly political, is byproduct of our highly politicized culture. In the Middle Ages, when the church looked and acted like any other worldly kingdom, that’s because it was. It wasn’t entirely void of real religious and spiritual content, just as congress is not entirely void of men and women who really care, those people are simply drowned out by the bigger, louder, richer (or more powerful) corrupt majority. Politicized religious institutions are working very hard, particularly in my country, to subvert the natural and civil rights, as well as undermine the status of citizenship of a large chunk of the population, and return us to the days when our role in life was determined by our race and gender, and to the best of my ability I fight them, but this is not, I think a problem of “religion”, in a strange way I think it’s a problem of religion becoming secularized by its leaders. Evangelical Christianity is scarcely recognizable as a religion anymore, they are, for the most part, a political party and nothing else but. In short, it is not the “evils” that religion produces that are causing me to move away from theism.
In the end, it wasn’t a Richard Dawkins book or some new, scripture refuting, scientific discovery, or a retarded question like “why won’t God give me wings so I can fly around the room?” that caused this stir in me. It was, of all things, a line in a Doctor Who episode.
In case you don’t watch the show, “The Doctor” is a 900 year old, highly intelligent, highly advanced Alien who travels through time and space to observe life and help where he can, and he loves Humanity, human beings are his favorite species. In one episode a human friend of his said to him “We must look like ants to you”, to which the Doctor replied “No, to me you look like giants”.
I was always aware of the shows portrayal of secular humanism, but this line really hit me in the face, somewhere in my brain I started weighting that statement against biblical statements about humanity and realized, that is NOT how God sees human beings. And that’s where this all started.
Like any religion, the ultimate point of Christianity is to prepare yourself for what is beyond this life, to be with God and perfect your soul, I can understand that, but what bothers me, and what I can’t reconcile is that, God’s love for man is ‘in spite of’ man’s nature, as if we have some invisible disease that makes us basically wretched but god loves us anyway. I can accept miracles and all the rest, but I can’t accept that.
I think that people are basically good, I think that we all have an equal capacity to be reasonable and moral, I think that we all desire to be, and I don’t think that we need a divine revelation in order to cooperate, work together, have each other’s best interest at heart, and to love one another. The evil that we do is rarely causeless, and it’s rarely so cut and dry as “I do this just because I’m an asshole and I don’t care about anyone but myself”, most of the time it’s because of lack of education, lack of opportunity, poverty, and an inequality of conditions, but Christianity in particular holds that it’s because of a corrupt state of our nature that happened when man fell. I don’t believe that, and I don’t think it’s possible. There are fucked up people, sure, and most of the time we find that they have a neurological problem (and thuss weren’t culpable), but that’s not what scripture is talking about, it’s saying that the average person basically just wants to stab people in the face, rape anything that moves, drink anything with alcohol, eat everything that tastes good: the reason for this is a supernatural defect in our nature, and the solution is a divine revelation.
I can accept the virgin birth, the resurrection, the Immaculate Conception, and all the rest, I cannot accept that.
I look at the state of society today and I don’t see a “fallen” world, I see a world that is just beginning to learn how to make life better for its self, and end once necessary evils. New technologies and economic models made it possible for us to have leisure time without the need for slaves; we’ve gotten to the point where we can grow food almost anywhere in the world in almost any climate, lifespans and quality of life have improved for the vast majority of people on this planet, and we’re working to extend them; Human rights, democracy, and pluralism are the standard in the developed world and more and more countries are adopting them, these are not these actions of “fallen” people who, but for the grace of God cannot do otherwise. And that is what has me on the move.
Thoughts please ladies and gentlemen, I’m really trying to work this out.