Thursday, 29 January 2009

Atheism and Me – Part 3

AtheistI am an atheist, but as strange as this may be to believe, that doesn’t mean I absolutely unquestioningly unshakeably believe that there is no God.

After all, that would put me on a par with the religious believer who has the unquestioning unshakeable belief that there is a God.

Unlike such a believer, I am willing to be persuaded of the truth of the opposite argument.

Given that I am yet to be persuaded, and God knows he’s had the time to do it, I just think it's very very very very unlikely that there is a God.

How unlikely?

Less likely than a meteorite landing on my car.

Less likely than getting hit by a bus full of performing circus bears on my way to work.

Less likely than finding out that I’m really an undercover secret agent who’s had his memory wiped and is unwittingly carrying out a mission to infiltrate Australian financial services and bring it down from the inside with shoddy spreadsheets.

Now any and all of these things are possible, including the idea that there’s a God, but they’re all so unlikely that it's not worth spending any time at all worrying about them.

6 comments:

Rob said...

Of course the amount of time you spend thinking and blogging about Christianity does suggest that perhaps you do worry about it.

Matt said...

I don't worry at all about there being a God.
I do worry about those who believe there's a God using it as an excuse to impose their discriminatory dogma on the rest of us.

Citizen Bagel said...

Matt--I think you'd enjoy a ride on one of Calgary's "atheist" buses. The message (printed in large letters across the side) speaks directly to you: "There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

Here's the full story, check it out: http://is.gd/hJMI

And as the band Journey famously said, "Don't stop believin" (in the nonexistence of a higher power)...

Des said...

And here we have the biggest flaw in the position most athiests hold on the existence of God (or a god/deity/divine being/transcendent reality/etc) which is, that they claim to be "willing to be persuaded of the truth of the opposite argument". You won't ever be persuaded that way. You can't be persuaded by argument of the existence of the divine because there isn't an "argument". Athiests (like the detestable Richard Dawkins)bounce up and down enthusiastically saying things like "Well, if you can't present an argument, then you're wrong, and I'm right! Ah ha!" and that's fine, they look ridiculous but only about as much as someone "speaking in tongues".
The very nature of the divine escapes rational thought. You can't use reason to justify its existence to someone else, because it is beyond the bounds of reason. The divine is ineffable and immutable. It can be experienced, but not "known".
Athiests won't (probably can't) accept this. Stiff cheese to them, I'm afraid. They can try to make other people look foolish, but it can only ever backfire on them.
"Given that I am yet to be persuaded, and God knows he’s had the time to do it" oh, for pity's sake. If the only concept you can hold of the divine is some ridiculous personal god that thinks like you do and gives a crap about how persuaded you are, then you'd probably do well to not bother trying to disprove the existence of anything. Your level of persuasion is utterly irrelevant.
This is why most (yes, but not all) athiests only go after Christianity, because its very public face, badly damaged holy texts and flocks of bizarre fundamentalists present a big, bloated, stationary target that is so unfocused and shattered by schism that it can barely flap its arms about in defense. Mind you, the edifice still stands, despite centuries' worth of atheists' attempts to bring it down. Talk about flogging a dead horse.

Matt said...

Des,

The "opposite argument" is precisely what you've said: that the divine can be felt through personal experience.
That is exactly what I am yet to be convinced of.
And I've had more than enough exposure to people claiming it (including myself, once upon a time) to hold that view.

Besides, I have a big problem with Christians claiming that the divine is unknowable.

If that's the case then why all this nonsense about what God wants us to do, the "right" and "moral" way to behave, very precise details about the afterlife or (depending on who you talk to) the Rapture? Sounds like a claim of divine knowledge to me.

Not all Christians subscribe to this stuff of course, but the ones that don't are the very small exception, not the rule.

The ones that don't are also the ones that Richard Dawkins, who you're so quick to deride, has said that he wishes all Christians were like.

Des said...

"Besides, I have a big problem with Christians claiming that the divine is unknowable."
It's not just Christians that make that claim, you know. Is it only the Christians that do who get your goat?
I am quick to deride Dawkins, and with reason. The hilarious thing about him of course is how close he is coming to some sort of weird atheistic beatification at the hands of those who hang from his every drivel-encrusted, arrogant word.
Who cares what sort of Christians Dawkins would rather have around?
It's an epistemological issue, essentially one can have belief in the divine, one can have a sort of experiential "knowledge" of how the divine can impact upon one, but one cannot know the divine itself. That's largely because we're not capable of it, being squishy flesh-creatures with limited faculties, shackled to reason. Scientists, generally, and most athiests have difficulty with the concept of faith, because it doesn't fit in with the scientific model. That's really indicative of the poverty of said model, rather than the craziness of the faithful.