Friday, January 14, 2011

General belief

I find it difficult to disagree with older people who believe in God. My grandma, "God" bless her, is 70+ years, prays the rosary every night with her sister (who is a Sister), and it must bring her such comfort to "know" that she is going to have a secure and safe place in heaven with my grandpa when she passes. Who am I to say her fantasy is wrong? While I'm sure it's comforting to think that, imagine how greater this world would be if instead of being on your knees nightly, begging for a spot in heaven, you perhaps, went out and did something nice for someone in your community? Shoveled your injured neighbour's walkway, cleaned up your neighbourhood, donated time at a food shelter. Imagine what a world we'd have if EVERYONE did that instead of praying?

I digress, the purpose of this blog today was just to say that I don't blame noted historians for claiming they believed in God. Some who didn't (Galileo, Copernicus) had very bad things happen to them when they said they did not believe. Yet, where would be today without them? Even up until a hundred years ago, it was very bad socially to outwardly be a non-believer. Many towns entire social life revolved around the church.

The point of all this?

My point is that, we DO NOT LIVE IN THAT SOCIETY TODAY! Non-belief is becoming much more mainstream. You are not alone in your skepticism. You will not be shot, hung, condemned, imprisoned, or excommunicated when you tell people what you believe.

So yeah, I don't blame older people for their beliefs. If you believe a fantasy for a long time, it becomes very difficult and scary to abandon that fantasy. You don't know what life would be like without it. You could lose some life-long friends or loved ones. But young people? Come on, really. You're trained quite well in your science classes that you must PROVE everything... why should the creation of our planet be any different?


  1. While society has come a long way, non-belief is not quite at a point of being generally accepted. At least, that's not the world I've lived in. In some social circles I'm sure that it is mostly acceptable and becoming more mainstream. In time, mostly all of society will become that way (I hope!).

    I, myself, have experienced being shunned out of social circles because of my non-belief. I have been accused of horrible things simply for being atheist, and although I've never been physically attacked, it still happens in some parts of the world.

    It has been said that the acceptability of non-belief today is about equivalent to that of homosexuality 50 years ago. Heck, even today homosexuality has a long way to go before being genuinely accepted by the majority.

    As non-believers, we are a small minority when compared to the vast Christian population. Because this makes us "different" it's natural for us to be discriminated against, harassed, and even bullied simply for going against what the vast majority accept as truth.

  2. I have heard that a lot of people behind major broadcasting in the US are Jewish, but regardless of their religious beliefs, I do appreciate Fox and Family Guy for openly challenging the Catholic Church for their archaic and utterly creepy and cultlike chants.

    I mean, honestly, IF you were the creator of this universe, planet, and all its inhabitants, would you want people to mumble sleepily to you while they wished they were at home watching golf, or would you want people that tried to make your creation a better place to be?

    I will also give props to Bill Maher. If you don't watch Real Time with Bill Maher on Access on Demand, you simply must! Richard Dawkins was on one episode; it's just hilarious. Not only does Maher openly share his disbelief, he also openly criticizes and mocks believers. It's just astounding to watch.

    I think we're closer to mainstream than you may think! I hope, at least.

  3. I saw the documentary Religulous with Bill Maher but haven't seen his show (I'll look it up!) We certainly are closer to mainstream than we were, say, ten years ago, but we aren't quite at a point where atheists feel comfortable coming out as atheists.

    My own boyfriend thinks it's "rude" to tell someone you're an atheist or have a Darwin fish on your car.

    Ever seen this cartoon?:

    I think it pretty accurately describes what some of the general population thinks about atheists.

    I can't quite recall where, but just this passing holiday seasons, atheists were shunned simply for participating in a Christmas parade somewhere in the US.

    We're making progress, don't get me wrong, we're just not there yet.

  4. I have never seen that cartoon, but thank you for it.

    Have you heard the joke about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac?

    Maybe you are thinking of where a group of freethinkers made a "knowledge tree" at Christmas time to put on the grounds of their legislative buildings where they allowed a nativity scene, a mosque, etc... People were angry at them for mocking Christmas. "Can't they use something different than a tree, it's rude."

  5. My husband has a Ph.D. from Harvard in Earth and Planetary Sciences, so I think he would qualify as a highly educated person with a solid footing in science. He is also a Christian and believes that there is no disparity between science and God, if you study both with an open mind. Psalm 19, for example, speaks of both the books of God's revelation: his Word (Bible) and his Creation (science). Both are valid and, indeed, complement one another.

    Unfortunately, there are certainly some Christians who do believe there is a disparity and harbor a skepticism of science. They therefore impart to secularists an impression of anti-intellectualism among all Christians, which is false. In fact, I recently read an article in our alumni magazine from Rice Univ. (definitely a secular university) that a survey showed that there are far more Christians in science than previously believed. For those who study the sciences in great detail and with an open mind, it often eventually becomes obvious to them that there must have been a creator. I know this is true of John Polkinghorne (physicist), Hugh Ross (astrophysicist), and Francis Collins (former head of Human Genome Project and current head of the Nat'l Institute of Health), just to name a few prominent ones. All of those guys have written books, assuming you are open-minded enough to read them.

    I say all this in response to your assertion that any young person who believes in God is believing a fantasy, because that's actually quite an ignorant thing to say. It seems you must not personally know any educated young people who are Christians.

    If you want more resources on how science and religion complement one another, you can find many mp3 sermons from our old pastor--who always said that "faith is not believing something you know is not true"--at

    It takes courage to honestly research something which you doubt could be true, but I encourage you to do it, because it is most worthy of your time.

    All the best.

  6. It just seems like you, and the other educated people to which you refer, are just employing the "God of the Gaps" theory that is all-too-commonly employed. I dislike this because it actually hinders actual scienfic research. People will search and search and search for scientific evidence, and when failing to find it for a certain phenomenon, they will give up, and say "it must be God then".

    But if you look back in history, many of the things that "must be God then" have turned out to have perfectly plausible and predictable scientific explanations. This will continue to be true 100% of the time into the future, until there is next to no "gaps" for God to exist in anymore. Unfortunately, by this time, I will not be alive in any form, but I can dream of that time coming and it gives me great hope for this world.

    Imagine, all the time, energy, and money that is spent on Holy Wars, or any wars related to differing religious beliefs (namely nearly all of them), if these were spent on funding scientific research, space exploration, SETI, alternative fuel technologies, disease control, antibodies, immune deficiency cures, etc, etc, etc, the list goes on!

    Every time someone puts money into a collection plate, they are giving money to nothingness. You can't buy your way into heaven, although priests of old tried to claim it as such. That money could do much better helping out a person. Same with that hour you spend in Church every Sunday. Instead of droning the same hymns year after year, you could donate 52 hours (one hour per week, averaged at your leisure) to read to a senior home, give time at a blood bank, or even just shovel your elderly neighbour's walkway.

    The only reason I am so dispassionate towards Christianity is that I was indoctrinated into it, baptised, "confirmed" (as much as a 12 year old can confirm his faith???), 13 years of Catholic education... and some of the worst and most evil people I know are in those groups. It just seemed that an equal number of bad people both believed and did not believe in God, so if a belief in God did not equate to a better person (see studies regarding the extremely small percentage of atheists or non-believers in jail for violent crimes), was God really serving any purpose at all anymore in our modern society?

    Any time devoted to proving God's existance will never be proof. It will just be a series of examples of things that science has yet to prove, and a "God of the Gaps" filling in as the answer. As the list of scientifically proveable phenomena diminishes, so will believers. Before I die, I will be in the majority as an atheist, I guarantee it.