Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(389)

Jan 30, 2013

When you slow dance with life's big questions you tend to go around in circles, and I have danced around this issue most of my life and have finally reached a place where I am comfortable stating that I am an Atheist.I have tried many paths and have come to terms with a vision of the cosmos and the world around me that does not have any supernatural aspects.

I was raised a Catholic, but I am not sure if I ever really bought into it probably due in part to my Father (my mother is Catholic, I believe my father is Agnostic though I have never asked), by the time I reached my mid to late teens I had become fairly comfortable being Agnostic and not overly concerned with the existence or non-existence of God. My twenties brought a time of introspection and research into Christianity, Budhism and
miscellaneous other forms of Spirituality but nothing really moved me until I got sick. Battling and surviving Cancer brought a certain urgency to my “soul searching” as did the birth of my son. I found myself relapsing into Christianity to find the answers to life, and how to raise a moral and balanced boy. As I sat and listened in the pews and the books the more I felt like a fraud, going to church and singing the hymns was easy but accepting the “truths” was not. The moral teachings I found in the church were either ones I already held and believed regardless of religious teachings or a supernatural being and the ones based on scripture and religious teachings that I could not adhere to.

My search began again by digging through philosophical texts and the proverbial light bulb went off when I read Albert Camus' “The Myth of Sisyphus” in which he proposes the problem of an omnipotent god. If God were omnipotent then he would be the root of evil in the world and if Humans were the cause of evil then God is not omnipotent. This brought me to the argument of destiny and free will and it snowballed from there. Dr. Richard Dawkins has also done some great work that has solidified my Atheism, The Ancestor's Tale reinforced my view of a natural world and the Root of all Evil brought to light the damage that religion is doing in our world. The final nail in God's coffin was hammered home with the principle of belief conservation. The principle states that we cannot hold something to be true if it requires us to reject too many other beliefs that we already know to be true. For me to accept a supernatural universe I would have to reject too many truths about a natural universe, I could think of no rational reason for me to do this.

One of the major arguments for Religion is that it is the rock on which to base you morals, well I do not think morality comes from religion, I think religion got morality from people. Morality and ethics stem from a human sense of empathy and sympathy for one and another, it is also an evolutionary tool since we would not have reached he heights we have without a moral fabric to hold us together and enable us to work as societies. I also believe that teaching values and morality through the use of empathy is a much better tool that scaring them with eternal damnation, it is more honest and more tangible. A child can relate to the feeling of having his toy taken but not to supernatural repercussions for bad acts.

When I first realized I was an Atheist ( and had been for some time ) I felt liberated. Living for today and basing my life on facts and learning. Putting faith in humanity and our ability to live, learn, evolve and prosper by relying on ourselves and each other. From what I have lived, experienced and read, Atheists are not morose godless people, they are in fact life
affirming, humanity praising people that want us to do our best for our own sake not for the Spaghetti monster's.

I could go on point by point enumerating the various ideas and theories which I believe a scientific and rational view wins out over a simplified religious one but there are people that are far more intelligent and well versed in such debates that I will leave it to the experts. Suffice it to say that I hope people will continue to learn and hopefully one day they too will see the beauty in a natural universe.

Halden Johnson
Ottawa, ON
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