Saturday, July 19, 2014
Christians it's about the language!
When discussing the God issue with Christians I am often asked the following question: "If God does not exist then how were we created?" After some thought I have come to realize that one of the biggest barriers between atheism and theism is the language we use to describe what we believe or don't believe. Of course there are many other barriers such as our definitions of evidence and what we may consider to be valid evidence in favor of either position, but atheists rely on science and objective and impirical evidence while theists rely on faith and subjective experiences.
As a former fundamentalist believer myself, I do not accept subjective experiences as evidence for the existence of God. There are many reasons for this and many of those reasons are also based on some of my own personal experiences as a Pentecostal charismatic evangelist and believer. I've been so called "slain in the Spirit," have spoken in togues, prophesied, believed I was interpreting tongues, through faith imparted apparent healing, etc. But I have come to realize that these experiences are not unique to Pentecostals. In fact, they are quite common and widespread in many other world religions. I have come to the conclusion that these expriences are not the result of divine intervention or communication with the gods or the Christian God, but that they are all nothing more than different states of conciousness. In other words; it's all in the mind.
Faith in my opinion is not a valid means of obtaining valid knowledge about anything in the world. Through faith anything is possible and it is because of this that I do not accept any claims made entirely on a faith position such as the claim that God exists. The fact is that there is no objective nor empirical evidence for the existence of God or any gods for that matter. When you have no evidence faith is automatically the default position. It's like saying God exists because I believe that he does and I know it in my heart. If that's the case then Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, Bigfoot, Pegasus, Zeus, Thor, Odin, Satan, all exist because I believe that they do. This is the opposite of logic and is not proof of anything.
Now on to what I mean about the language barrier. Christians think in terms of everything from the universe, life, and everything that exists as being created. They are stuck in that position because they believe in a sole source for the existence of everything; namely, God the creator. Secularists and atheists on the other hand don't believe in a creator but rather we think based on objective and empirical evidence that all things came into existence through a gradual process of evolution. Contrary to religious beliefs this is not a faith based position but rather a position based on all of the evidence gathered to this point. The naturalistic view of life does not require a god or some mysterious creator.
At times the jargon can get confusing especially when you are not thoroughly familiar with the subject matter. There is a huge difference between things being created and those things naturally evolving and adapting to the environments in which they are exposed to.
I personally like the process of reverse engineering. When you look at the human body and its parts you will come to realize that we are entirely made up of and function via a series of chemical processes in our brains and our cells. It is this very fact that makes it in my opinion quite obvious that we came into existence gradually via the process of evolution. It is not hard to imagine a primordial soup as the beginning of life when you think of chemistry and how chemicals react to each other and to the environments in which they are used in. We are the product of an innumerable amount of chemical processes that continue on even today.
To state emphatically that we were "created" is to presuppose a creator and it is this aspect of all theistic arguments in favor of belief that make it so hard for theists to accept evolution. Their religious indoctrination has made the idea of an invisible guy in the sky a logical assumption. Yet they never question the absurdity of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent beings existence. Considering that fact that there are slightly over 7 billion people inhabiting this planet it is hard to imagine a being who can keep track of them all. A being who knows their individual thoughts, intentions, hears their prayers, knows when they sin, and acknowledges their prayers!
Theists believe this being sits on a throne in his invisible realm called heaven surrounded by angels and other strange beings who do nothing but worship him day and night! (Read Revelation chapter 4). This does not sound any different than the Greek myths about Zeus and other ancient deities. Once you come to realize that your beliefs are based not on facts but on ancient myths and superstitious beliefs then you will be able to take that next step forward in your search for origins. Once you eliminate the gods you are forced to look for a natural solution in nature.