This is probably going to be the most revealing pieces that I'll ever write, so I ask that you, my friends, listen with an open mind. Because thats what you are. My friends. And I respect each of you and accept you for who you are, and I hope you feel the same about me. Andy's comment on my last post kind of put me in a corner because I couldn't really address it properly without admitting to something that I wasn't quite prepared to yet. I've been doing a lot of thinking, reading, watching, listening, and researching. I've changed a lot in the last three or four years. And while I still have a lot more to learn and experience and will continue to change, I can say now with certainty, that I am an atheist. I bet maybe you thought I was coming out of the closet. However, while I'm not gay, it really does feel like I'm "coming out". For as long as I've been alive all of my friends and relatives were religious. So admitting that I don't believe anymore is something that I've been trying to figure out how to do. So, when did it happen and how? Well things really got going back in my Critical Reasoning class at Long Beach. I remember we started talking about religion and my teacher said something hit like that asteroid from Deep Impact, "99.9% of people are the same religion as their parents". I'll never forget that. I realized that I believed in religion because it was always taught to me and was always present. There is a lot more than just that of course but, like I said before, I wasn't really ready to open up because I haven't found the right words to articulate accurately everything that went into my decision. Now, back to the catalyst of this whole confession, Andy's comment! Quick note, though. The existence of God can be a very touchy subject, so please don't think I'm trying to disprove God. We believe different things but I don't think any less of you and I hope you don't think any less of me as well.
-Thanks for the compliment.
-For Laplace's Demon, its not that anyone really believes that it exists, its just a hypothetical entity that helps to illustrate the point of determinism. So then maybe you mean belief in the concept of prediction. But it really is much easier to believe that as opposed to the existence God. Determinism is based on testable, reliable, calculable laws. Its a matter of facts. Belief in God is a matter of faith, which is the complete opposite.
-Looking around, its easy to think that with all the intricate complexities of life, that it all had to have been designed. But I think that undermines the natural way of the universe. (I need more articulation for this one)
-I really like your point about imaging "nothing". Its hard. I usually either picture blackness or whiteness. But I do think its possible to image something, say, the universe, without a creator.
-You're right about science liking to know "how" everything works. As for 'why', all of those questions you proposed do have answers but its too much to list. The biggest 'why' question that I've come across that the scientific community can't explain yet is 'why is there something, instead of nothing.' Why is there matter, instead of a spaceless void. We may know the answer some day, but the Bible doesnt really offer any answer either. There was God, and he made the universe. I don't remember him having a motive...
-For the last paragraph, science is based on believing things that are backed my evidence. Faith, by definition, is believing in that something despite the absence of evidence. So really, for me, its easier to believe that what we see is the natural order of the universe because of collected and calculable research and proof.
Thanks for reading, everyone.
Love and Peace
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I stumbled across this clip from "Waking Life" just now it really sums up my Free Will debacle. Its one of those times when you know something and have worked it out in your head but just cant put into coherent words, and then something comes along and does it for you. A few weeks ago I also started reading the Wikipedia entry for Free Will and came across Causal Determinism which is one take on free will which states, "determinism is the thesis that future events are necessitated by past and present events combined with the laws of nature." I also unwittingly tried to explain an old thought experiment called Laplace's Demon, named after the philosopher in 1814. The demon is a hypothetical entity that knows all the laws of the universe and the location and momentum of all things. With these tools he could conceivably predict anything. All of this I had been trying to work out in my own, young mind, but it looks like there are more experienced people who have already done it for me. Just goes to show what a little research can accomplish.