ATHEIST OR AGNOSTIC
We begin this topic with a quote from Charles Darwin:
"If man cannot begin to make a human eye, how could anyone in his right mind think that eyes formed by mere chance? In fact, man cannot make anything from nothing. We don't know how to do it. We can recreate, reform, develop ... but we cannot create even one grain of sand from nothing. Yet, the eye is only a small part of the most sophisticated part of creation - The human body.”
Keep in mind, the eye has 40,000,000 nerve endings, the focusing muscles move an estimated 100,000 times a day, and the retina contains 137,000,000 light sensitive cells.
If you are a reasonable person you will have to say that "having limited knowledge" which is what we all have at the present time ... we don't have the absolute proof to say "There is no God". In other words, you actually don't know if God DOESN’T exist, so you are NOT an "Atheist" but rather you are what is called an "Agnostic" (not knowing). Gnostic is Greek … for "knowing."
You are as a man who looks at a building and doesn't know if there was a builder ... or sees a watch, and doesn't know if there was a watchmaker. I have met many Atheists, most of them highly intelligent and knowing more about world religions than those who practice it. The Truth is ... in my personal opinion, it isn't that Atheists don't believe in God ... they just don't agree with you on WHO or WHAT God IS. Bsically, they don't believe in the God they were raised with or taught about.
There are people who have faith in the existence of a god, and there are people that have NO faith in the existence of a god. These are just two different belief systems ... or blind faith ... both knowing not the actual Truth of each others faith. It is simply a belief. A belief, is formed from a decision you have made. You cannot resort to defending scripture by simply saying "the Bible says" ... because God is Spirit, not flesh/matter and therefore can write no book. The Bible is a book written by men, believing it to be the Divine inspiration that guided their quill.
According to Wikipedia, there are an estimated 38,000 denominations in the world today that claim the name of Christianity, and 12,000 of them are in the United States alone. Of all the world's religious systems, with all of their doctrines and dogmas, can we assume that only ONE can be right ... if even that one is right at all. Like the classic line from the movie "Highlander" during the epic battle scene ... it concluded with "there can be only one, at the end there will be only one. If that one is good, the world will see a golden age. If that one is evil, the world will fall into anarchy." This is the choice humanity makes every day, with every thought, idea, decision, belief, and action.
With so many choices on what to believe, how can we make certain that our individual belief system will not fail us at some time in the future. First, we all need to realize that when we take our last breath ... all of these worldly theologies, doctrines and traditions of men labeled as "religion" will end and only the Truth will remain. It is then, that we will find out. But physical death, cannot exist at the same time as physical life. There is either one, or the other.
“Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?"
~Epicurus (341–270 BCE)
Plain and simple ... it is difficult to prove a negative. But we can prove an experience through absolute evidence. For example, I cannot prove there are no black dogs in America. Since I cannot possibly know or see every nook or cranny, alleyway, basement, stairwell, or forest, I cannot logically disprove their non-existence. However, if I set out to PROVE the existence of black dogs in Virginia, the first one that I come across proves that they in fact exist. The search is over.
Other propositions, however, can be disproven - and conclusively. There are two ways to do this. The first is to see if the proposition leads to a logical contradiction; if so, then the proposition must be false. Examples of this would be "a married bachelor exists" or "a square circle exists." Both of these propositions entail logical contradictions - pointing this out is the same as disproving them.
Obviously disproving a god requires an adequate description of what it is and what characteristics it has in order to determine either if there is a logical contradiction, or if any testable implications hold true. Without a substantive explanation of just what this god is, how can there be a substantive claim that this god IS?
In the end, as my Mentor Rick Pinette once told me concerning our personal spiritual beliefs, one has to ask ... "DID it matter?" or "DOES it matter? Do we ask "DID it happen?" or do we ask "DOES it happen?"
My own personal observation is that there is in fact a universal organism of which we are a part. It is ONE ... and we exist within it. Call this organism God, Source, Universe, Life, All That Is, Creator, The Almighty, Allah, Brahman, Conscoiousness, Energy, etc. There is something much bigger than we are ... and we have barely begun to understand it.
I will conclude with a couple of my favourite quotes from Karen Armstrong:
"I say that religion isn't about believing things. It's ethical alchemy. It's about behaving in a way that changes you, that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness."
“Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.”
“If we don’t manage to implement the Golden Rule globally, so that we treat all peoples, wherever and whoever they may be, as though they were as important as ourselves, I doubt that we’ll have a viable world to hand on to the next generation.”
Just a thought ...
~Justin Taylor, ORDM.