Religious Journey of the Rational Man

I decided that I had no religion my last year of middle school. I despised religion when I learned about wars fought in its name. To talk about it, a few friends and I would meet up after class — we all had similar experiences and wanted to confide in each other. These conversations cemented my anti-religious attitude. A year later after failing to find any evidence of God, I concluded I was an atheist; after that I only had criticisms for religion and God. I made sure to direct these criticisms to any theist who challenged my lack of faith and in doing so became someone I now can’t stand: A person who uses atheism as proof of superior intelligence.

My parents didn’t practice any religion but they believed in God. But they wanted the best for their children so they taught me to “think for myself”, which meant imposing no religion on me. When I did become an atheist I couldn’t bring myself to tell my parents. It was because of a memory  about my dad’s remarks on atheists. “I don’t care what you believe,” he said “as long as you believe in God. Atheists are stupid.” So atheism became a burden; it was a taboo I couldn’t let out or else be estranged by my family. But I had a need to tell them and it aggravated my dread. I endured these feelings for five years but finally I confessed my secret. Both my parents accepted my identity as an atheist and since then I feel we’ve been closer.

It’s been 2 years since my confession but I’ve since changed my mind. I embraced atheism because as a child I couldn’t acknowledge faith’s relativeness — absolutes, unlike the relative, are comforting and rational. I’ve recognized that I no longer need the rationale and absolutes that brought me to atheism. This revelation is largely thanks to my wife, a Christian, and her family. My mother-in-law despite being a practicing Christian, welcomed me as an atheist into the family and my wife gave me insight I would have otherwise ignored. Religion is not a bad construct like I thought it was. Religious people are not dissimilar to an average person: some are good and some bad, and some work for the benefit of others while some for themselves. Religion is no exception to human rule.

No longer accepting atheism, I was compelled to find another label. The existence of God stopped me from finding a label in religion — Despite me being kind to religion I couldn’t rationalize God. Around the same time I was reading about epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and discovered radical skepticism. It argues that all knowledge is impossible by creating doubt to the source of knowledge (i.e., If I can’t prove I’m not in a simulation I can’t claim to know anything else). It was absurd but it created doubt to further reconsider atheism. I couldn’t identify as an atheist anymore; I was agnostic. When I was in highschool I saw agnosticism as badly as religion. I saw them as group of people who couldn’t make up their mind and it annoyed me. But eventually, I learned otherwise. Agnosticism is someone who accepts the impossibility of knowing God.

Agnostics have two main arguments: one of uncertainty and one of incomprehensibility. The argument of uncertainty pertains to the evidence of God’s existence. The evidence that both sides (Theists and nontheists) use to justify their belief is fallible. The nature of faith and the concept of God make evidence pertaining to Him unattainable. Besides if God’s existence is so important then the level of accepted evidence must match. So the evidence can never met the threshold. As for Incomprehensibility, theists often explain God’s plane of existence as incomprehensible. But that’s true, how can I reason that God exists — if his nature is incomprehensible how do they expect me to comprehend His existence?

There is an argument separate to the two above that became my reason for being an agnostic. It deals with the evidence people cite for or against the existence of God. I have to look at the evidence as a rational person, like a scientist. If a scientist were to set up an experiment to detect the existence of a particle they would acknowledge the varying data and conclude the test is inconclusive. Like a scientist I have compiled all the evidence and I am forced to conclude that God’s existence remains uncertain.

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Religious Journey of the Rational Man

  1. I too, had to go through an awakening. It wasn’t a family member that she’d light, but something so unexplainable, I had no choice but to change my thoughts. Pleasing to see, we’re not alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Albert Einstein, one of humanity’s greatest thinkers, said, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” He also said, “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.” Words to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed this piece, thank you! I’m part of a private cancer support group on FB and most of the people in the group write about their deep faith in God & God’s plan for them. Sometimes I find myself getting frustrated with their comments & other times I feel very left out – like I wish I shared their same conviction about God’s existence.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You seem like someone who would benefit from learning about the absurd. When you realize the world might not care about you or your struggles, the only real choice you have is to rebel against the idea through passions.

      Like

  4. There is some good content in your article. It certainly provokes meaningful thought.Thanks for the share. “In practice, a religion is a particular system, or a set of systems, in which doctrines, myths, rituals sentiments, institutions, and other similar elements are interconnected” (the old world Encyclopedia Britannica). Your individual thoughts about it, and how you got there is interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a well written piece. Though raised a Christian-was first Catholic then Protestant-my many questions and disatisfaction led me to lose faith in the whole thing. I never thought myself an atheist though so I went in search of what could best describe where I was at. An Agnostic. That’s what I am. Thanks for the follow.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderfully written Austin. Let me say, that I relate to this article, at least on the behalf of question my faith. It happens but it’s important to decide these things for yourself. Quite the journey to be taking. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Have A Nice Read! #3 | ThoughtsOfaTrainwreckedPineapple

  8. Pingback: Why I Write – Writings By Ender

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s