As a devout atheist i am 99.9% certain that no gods preside over the world and all its machinations. 0.1% margin of error is generous, in my opinion, but in deference to the fact that absolute certainty of anything is nearly always impossible, i am happy my non belief index is good.
My “belief” is something that has taken 35 years to formulate and it has been a carefully considered and is subject to frequent updates. The story of Jonah and the big fish was the first inkling that something was not quite right with what i was being taught at Sunday school. The sordid tale of Lot and his daughters clinched it for me and from then on i felt a weight lift from my mind. I didn’t have to believe – it really isn’t mandatory.
This epiphany didn’t stop me wondering about all the mysteries of life and instead of filling me with dread at the unknown it sparked a curiosity that excited me and i have been gathering all the information i could lay my mind on ever since. The internet/information age is indeed a wondrous thing.
The meat of this polemic is that we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water.
Forget the nastiness of old testament Yahweh, ignore the convoluted nonsense enshrined by Constantine, spurn the sickness of the Roman Catholic Church, evolve from the petty bronze age “wisdom” of the Levites and embrace the teachings of Jesus. Yes you read it right.
And of course don’t ignore the teachings of Krishna nor the peaceful Jains, don’t scoff at the profundity Buddha or dismiss the wisdom of Confucius or sideline the Zoroastrians. The sum of these teachings, and many many others, is the backbone of our collective search for the elusive “truth”. To choose only one, or in fact have it chosen for one by ones highly circumstantial birth, is disingenuous and divisive. Of course the secular input toward our understandings is highly valuable and needs to be absorbed too. The belief in gods is not necessary to live an ethical and moral life.
I, however, refuse to consider Islam as a source of wisdom given that it enshrines paedophilia.
Some time ago i attended a church service, in West Africa, at the Church of Chrislam. I can imagine the diehards gnashing teeth over this heresy – but in Nigeria people of different faiths come together to seek truth. This i find to be a constructive and enlightened attitude toward religion, misguided in its reliance on Abrahamic faith, but at the very least a step toward reconciliation and harmony.
The underlying “truths” of all religions are remarkably similar and the one thread that is most common is enshrined in the Golden Rule. Adherence to this principle is at the heart of happiness, or heaven on Earth, and should be pursued with much vigour. This atheist wishes nothing more for the world than that.
ps - to my fellow atheists, how about we ignore completely the attempts of believers to spread their beliefs in this forum. Leave em be i say – imagine not one response to the religious posts that litter News24! Think of it as an adaptation of Ghandis philosophy of passive resistance, which in turn is an adaptation of Jesus’ teachings of turn the other cheek - which in turn is an adaptation of ......