I am an Atheist
These days when America’s leaders are trying to make the place look more “Christian” I worry a bit because old-fashioned Christianity has from time to time endorsed the torture and murder of non-Christians.
I have been an Atheist all my life. God just never came up. Well, He has been mentioned from time to time, and I have been encouraged to consider Him, but I could never conclude that Theism made any sense for me. Instead, I wrestled with the twelfth Scout Law: A Scout is Reverent. How is an Atheist Boy Scout supposed to be Reverent? The Handbook explained that this meant that a Boy Scout must Respect God, and Respect the religious beliefs of others.
And, as I thought about it, I was able to conclude that, even as an Atheist, I could be Reverent toward God. The Universe is a huge, wonderful place, for which I have the greatest respect. If something created this Universe, then I have a great deal of Reverence toward It. However, I can barely get a grasp on the nature of the Universe, and I would hate to disrespect whatever entity created it by professing a false understanding of It. In fact, as best I can fathom with my primitive monkey mind, I can not discern any pattern that indicates the existence of a creator. The most sincerely Reverent position I can take toward God, is to leave Him unacknowledged, and not just make up stuff about Him.
In some more conservative religious groups, uttering the name of the almighty creator is a taboo. It is blashpemous for you to invoke His name. Islam prohibits graven images, out of concern that one might get lost venerating representations of the almighty, and lose track of Allah. For me, the mere concept of an acknowledged God is a graven image. I believe we are meant to experience, explore, and seek understanding of the Universe into which our lives have been breathed, not waste our time acting on distracting superstitions as to the nature of the Unknowable.
You might say that my religious beliefs are extremely liberal, or you might say they are extremely conservative. You could say they are downright strange, and I’d happily agree with you. But in the end, my beliefs do not say that your beliefs are bad, or wrong. My beliefs do not say that you must be corrected, or murdered, or purified, or anything. You may find my position to be very disagreeable, but then, I’m not telling you to cast off your Bible, or Torah, or Quran. I only ask that you respect that I have a belief system different from your own, just as I am willing to respect that you have a belief system different from mine.
If you can agree to get along, I’ll follow up with some Q&A in subsequent posts . . .