Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Compelling argument

And now, a more serious topic:

I have occasionally had "debates" with friends and acquaintances who wonder how it is that I can be utterly non-religious. "How can you not believe in God?" they ask me. I generally try not to draw said debates out - I make no apologies or excuses for my position, but I'm not militant about it like your run-of-the-mill atheist might be. A Christmas display on the town common doesn't bug me - and I couldn't care less whether the Pledge had the words "under God" in it or not. But here's the "in a nutshell" reason why I don't believe in any "God-like" being with an interest in our lives:

1: Tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Over 44,000 dead so far and counting. People all over the region, even thousands of miles away from the event were killed by it. People of all ages and religions. Children. Parents. Only random luck determining who lived and who died.

2: 9/11. 3,000 people died in New York and Washington - all they did was go to work that day or get on a plane.

3: The Holocaust. Over Six Million Jews, Gypsies, and "undesirables" who only made the mistake of living in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Death caused by events random and evil serves no "greater purpose". It's not part of anybody's "Plan". It just is, and it just sucks. Period. If someone wants to comfort themselves by believing better, fine. Enjoy. As for me, I expect that when I die (hopefully not for a long time), I simply cease to be. No heaven or hell or purgatory - no reincarnation or any of that. Simple non-existence. If I live on, it will be through the good deeds I tried to do, the memories of other people, and the genes I passed onwards through a wonderful son.

And should I be wrong about it, I'm not really worried about that. Based on what I've seen for behavior from most of the folks (not all of them) who are utterly convinced they'll wind up in heaven - if heaven would take those people then it's not a place I'd want to be.

Here's where I depart from the true atheist a little further, though. I do not believe that we are necessarily the highest forms of life. Just on this planet. It would be naive of me to assume that humans are the pinnacle of development across the entire Universe. Somewhere, somehow, there's a reasonable probability of beings existing that make us look like ants in comparison.

But if that's the case, they really don't give a hoot about anything as tiny and insignificant as us. Nor are we worth the effort to find, either.

Sorry to get so heavy on you all today. I'll go back to lighter fare tomorrow. Really.

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