Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Why I'm an Atheist: Part 1

Seeing how a few blog posts back, I answered one of those MySpace-style surveys on what I believe about atheism, I realized I don't have any actual posts on WHY I'm an atheist, so I figured I'd correct that oversight.

Simply put, I believe atheism is the lack of a belief in what most people call the "supernatural." I don't believe in a god, true. But I also don't believe in ghosts, fairies, spell-casting, ESP, dowsing, etc. Some of these items I dismiss out of hand because they are simply untestable (a god, f'rinstance). Others I reject because of a lack of credible scientific evidence as to their existence (ESP, ghosts, etc.). And others, such as UFOs, I simply sit back and say, "Show me the evidence and let me judge on its merits." Same with folk remedies or homeopathic medicine: There are clearly-established protocols for testing whether essence of tiger teeth is able to provide you with whiter teeth yourself (I prefer Crest White Strips (tm), personally).

So, that's all atheism is to me. If you were to ask me, "How did you arrive at this belief system?" I'd say the process was sort of inevitable. I'm an extremely skeptical person by nature (one of my favorite songs is "Show, Don't Tell" by Rush, but that's another post). I'm the type of person who flat-out needs to see evidence in order to believe the claim. Or at a bare minimum, accept that there was a logical process by which the claim came about. So for me to look at any type of religious dogma, be it the parting of the Red Sea, the resurrection of Jesus, or Mohammad wrestling with the Angel Gabriel, I just shake my head and think, "These people need to take a class on comparative religion. I find Greek, Egyptian and Norse mythology just as entertaining as the next person, but keep it in context."

Or, look at it this way: archaeologists found the ruins of the city of Troy in the late 1800s, if memory serves (1870, thanks Wikipedia). But just because the city of Troy actually existed, that doesn't mean I take the tales of the Olympians and their human pawns at face value.

Now, having said all that, one of my relatives rightly pointed out, if you look up my posts on Catholicism, there's enough venom to give a snake-charmer pause. I think such gems as "I hate the Catholic Church" might have been the first clue. Why do I feel that way? I'll leave that to my next post on the subject.

No comments: