This could’ve been a biologically focused post on matter and quantum physics. But I’ll save you from that by assuring you it’s nothing of the sort. Well, maybe it is a little. While I am a nerdy geek about many things, I like to leave science to the qualified professionals.
Got to thinking this morning about science in general, and along with it, atheism and religion. I was raised Catholic, though by the time I had reached the age of 12, had explored every religion I could access, searching for the answers my highly imaginative mind posed. I barmitzvah’ed with my best friend Leonard. I learned to speak Arabic with my friend Khalid so I could better understand Muslim. I read the Christian Bible cover to cover. And the Koran. And the Torah. Well, at least translations of them. What I didn’t find in any of those coveted and holy books was the justification for humans discriminating against or killing other humans. And I began to see how religions of those sorts strived to control the thoughts, emotions, and actions of their followers.
Perhaps some need that sort of structure in their lives, need a father figure to guide them through life. I did not, and so eschewed them. Later in life, I was a self-proclaimed atheist based on my non-belief in organized religions or their respective gods. But the more involved I became in atheistic pursuits, the more I realized how limiting it truly was, especially to the creative human mind.
The basis for atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheisn is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist. However, many atheist groups have extended that doctrine to include anything that is supernatural in nature. Afterlife, the soul, ghosts, and the like. Pretty much, anything that science has not yet addressed nor been able to provide empirical proof for. That’s when I began to question volunteering myself up for the label of atheist.
Believing only what scientific methods can prove to the human mind’s satisfaction is not only illogical, but deeply flawed. That narrowly held mindset does not take into consideration the possibility that other ideas or processes exist in our universe; ideas that we cannot quantify or see with our paltry human senses. Basing everything on human quantifiability does not take into account the gaps in our knowledge, our senses, or our understanding. And so, I stopped calling myself atheist.
Because I do believe that there are many, many things that we cannot currently prove or understand. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And to state unequivocally that they do not exist is arrogance, just as religions’ claims that there is a deity that created us and is a master puppetteer is arrogance. And then to claim that theirs is the one true god is ludicrous.
More and more in the 21st century, humans are justifying their discrimination, hate, and murder of other beings through religion, or through non-belief. Again, arrogance. Without being too simplistic in saying this: we are all made of exactly the same stuff. It’s merely the manner in which we’re put together biologically that gives us the diversity of life on earth. Discrimination, hate, and murder are knee-jerk reactions to other persons and religions (or non-religions, as the case may be) claiming that they are the “one true” religion, and theirs is the “one true” god. And humans, as we’ve exemplified throughout our presence here on this floating sphere, show that they never, ever like to be on the “losing” side. And so wars are fought, lives are lost, and entire societies are marginalized and repressed.
I matter, simply because I exist. Genetics gave me pale skin, blue eyes, and light-colored hair. At one point in our troubled history, my genetics were considered the “ideal” presentation of genetics, and put on a pedestal. And eugenics was born. Millions were callously murdered or made into slaves because of the seemingly random genetics they were born with.
How can any living being justify the repression, oppression, discrimination, hate, or murder of any other living being?
How can we, fallible humans, make judgments based on genetic differences? This is the devolution of the human mind. Is that what’s meant to happen now, millions of years into our evolution? Like the universe expanding, and then collapsing in upon itself eventually, have we reached the peak of our own evolution, only to find that we are reverting back to tribal ways, and tribal mindsets? Will we eventually resort to living in caves again, painting on the walls, hunting with spears for sustenance?
Because in the bigger picture, that appears to be exactly what’s happening with certain factions of humanity.
To date, this is one of the more intelligent statements made by a human on how we came to justify killing one another. Edward James Olmos spoke in front of the United Nations in 2008 or 2009, addressing this very topic. I hope you’ll watch and listen and absorb the information presented.