Furthest Right

Why I Am Not an Atheist

When approaching the topic of religion, most of us tread carefully because it forms something close to the core of an identity. Religion, ethnicity, culture, and life philosophy tend to pair together to identify a group, and when a group adopts a religion, it depends on that religion to defend the group.

In the West right now, we are seeing a shift away from “organized religion” — a euphemism for Abrahamist religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity — because these religions have failed to defend our cultures. Instead they have used us as a means to perpetuate themselves, and now have moved on to new groups for their host cultures.

Religious people built the West. Most of them had a religion before Christianity, the “pagan” faiths which were attributes of ethnic cultures instead of international organizations like organized religion, or carried it forward as “deism,” namely a general belief in the divine.

For me, deism makes sense. Atheism does not; if we do not know if God exists, it makes little sense to assert the negative as fervently as others assert the positive. Agnosticism, the neutral position, serves as a good starting point but leaves us without answers.

It seems to me that the situation is dire because if the divine exists, trying to trap it into a symbol, ikon, or description serves to limit the divine, which creates the means-over-ends problem that humans usually encounter, and inverts the divine from a thing of its own destiny to something that humans control, if only in their own minds.

This outlook views the term “God” itself as suspect, and shies away from the vast books of religious thought that aim to guide and control behavior. This is not from disagreement with them — Christian sexual morality is superior to neopagan sexual morality, for example — but from a distrust of limiting the divine with human constructs.

Humans, at least healthy humans, seem to have a universal religion. We believe something divine created the cosmos, although we have no way to understand it fully; we believe that the world tends toward good if we work within realist parameters; we also believe that there is some form of persistence after death.

Beyond that, religion quickly becomes politics and therefore detaches from the divine, making it instead into a human instrument for human control (not that some form of guidance is not needed). The lost name of God may simply reflect that God has many names and all of them are approximations, but the faith itself should be where we focus.

When we wonder about how the universe began, the explanation that energy — a form that converts to matter and relies on matter for expression — simply concentrated and then detonated into materiality seems to fall short. We also have trouble believing that a personality simply created all of this.

It makes more sense to say that the universe began in information, or the division of nothingness into somethingness because the nothingness formed an initial state against which it iterated, opting to move from nothing to something in order to avoid stagnation. The zero could not repeat, and therefore begat the one.

The original Proto-Indo-European faith probably began with an idea like this. The universe came about when emptiness became too much, and so life was formed, and somewhere out there is a larger state of information that calculated this and continues to guide it, even if in an impersonal and amoral form like the pagan gods.

The people who followed these faiths chose to write down as little as possible and to keep the faith ambiguous by telling it through stories that were not parables, with a moral, but character dramas in which cause-effect thinking took the center stage.

Of all the options available to us, this makes the most sense for religion: to believe in the divine, but not read too much into it, because we as little puny mortals are generally going to understand very little of it. Instead we have faith that the universe is good, and trust that good things await us.

Such a religion can only come from those embedded in nature. To see the cycle of the seasons, the prosperity of wildlife, and the intricate but intelligent forms of trees speaks to something greater than mere randomness or materialism. It does not tell us how to act, but inspires us to live for the sake of life itself.

When we consider the divine, it makes sense to see it as a nurturing force that includes both creation and destruction, since creation replaces what came before it with something that is rarely new, but often a more evolved form that is continuous with the origins of what it replaced.

Atheism can never offer this affirming and sane outlook, and this is why genetically healthy people since the dawn of time have had some form of this faith. It can be practiced in any religion or without a religion, simply reflecting a belief that life can be good and is worth living as an experience for its own sake.

In this outlook, human life has a purpose, which is to live life fully for the purpose of life itself, which leads us away from materialism, egalitarianism, and other proxies for life for its own sake. Unlike modern organized religion, this belief exists in the individual and cannot be shared, only appreciated and explored to the best of our abilities.

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