Thursday, July 31, 2008

"The language you use is a little stong - the religious people aren't going to like it"

I was just talking today with one of my co-workers, who I have encouraged to have a look at this blog. Her opinions are similar to mine on a lot of things, but I was still very interested in what she would say. She hasn't seen the past few posts yet, just up to "What I think". She liked my thoughts a lot, but she said something I wasn't expecting. She said the language might be too strong for religious people. By which she meant I was too blunt about the idea of a man in the sky who answers prayers (among other ideas) seeming kind of silly to me.

If I had to choose between "Religious" and "Atheist" to describe myself, I would choose "Atheist", just because my views are so far from what most people think of as being religious (with some exceptions, of course, including the person by the screen name Darwin who has posted a few comments here). And I suppose that comes through in my writing - I don't have a lot of room for arguments such as "Well, I can't explain it, I don't understand God, I just feel this is true" or "You think too much, that's why this doesn't make sense to you". I may feel certain things are true, but I feel also that it's my responsibility as a rational, thinking human being to get to the bottom of why something is true, and put it into words so I can explain its truth to others. So be prepared for me to keep asking why until I get an answer, 'cause I do that :) And the basic premise of this entire site is that thinking is a good thing. If anyone who comes on here would like to argue that point, feel free to give it your best shot, but I don't like your chances.

So yeah, I take a hard-to-swallow line on certain things. But as I pointed out to my friend, I'm not trying to come up with something everyone will like, I'm trying to come up with something everyone will agree with. Eventually, probably after some argument. Something they will see the truth in. Something both religious people and atheists can see makes sense. And if I pander to one side or the other, not only do I compromise my integrity (as what I write here is what I genuinely believe) but I just push myself away from others who see me trying to be a people-pleaser. Ya know what? I'd love it if Heaven was true. It would be just super if all of my mistakes could be forgiven by praying to someone or something. Being immortal would be awesome. It would also be great if we had the answer from science, and could say with certainty why everything was. But my ideas aren't about what I would like to be true, they're about what I think is true. Many religious people aren't going to like it. Many Atheists aren't either. I'm pretty sure some of the guys over on Why God Won't Heal Amputees would kill my idea if they could. But, after several days of trying, they can't, at least not so far.

I'm writing here because I believe there are certain elemental truths that transcend any religion, and are even true for people who aren't religious. There are certain things in life we can all agree on, and if we're all willing to take a good hard look at ourselves and our beliefs, we'll be able to come together around those truths, instead of fighting with each other about beliefs that don't make sense. After looking at things for many years, I think I have a good idea what many of those truths might be. And I think it's important to state them as clearly as I can, even though I might state them alone.

So I'm not asking anyone to like what they read here. I'm just asking everyone to take an honest look at it and see if it's true. If you really want it to be false, that's great. Look at it really hard, then. And if you find something wrong with what I believe to be true or find something important I've missed, I'll be willing to change, even though it might not be easy. But I expect the same willingness from everybody else.

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