Vote For Who You Think Is More Obtuse: Cynical Atheists or Zealots
Come on! Do you really think you know it all!
All religion or none, both paths are thin lines
Well here's a subject I've wanted to touch on for a long time. I am a firm believer in something, some sort of natural, eternal force, some kind of everlasting energy. I am a believer. But, I don't believe I know, or anyone knows, exactly what is out there making the universe what it is. You may know in a visceral, definitionless way, in your heart, as I feel I do. But as far as the attributes and characteristics of A Deity, A God, A Goddess, I just don't know.
It's very difficult for me, as someone with an inquisitive nature, to listen to someone preach to me that not only do they know exactly what happens to us in the hereafter, but they can tell you to a tee what will happen once your heart stops beating. The individuals you will meet, the name of the place your spirit will reside and so on. They are so positive some of them are willing to kill others just to prove their point: zealots.
On the other hand, I have met many self proclaimed atheists who have assured me that even pondering "the quiet invisible" is a waste of time. That when you're dead you're done. There's no more, no encore, last curtain. What's more, they explain to me time and again, that religion is the cause of all the evil in the world, and that if people would abandon their beliefs in these made up Deities, the world would be a more peaceful place. My problem with that side of the token is that, despite what many atheists ironically preach, namely that humans don't need a strict moral code to be ethical, I believe many people do need a spelled out moral code. There just plain aren't too many charitable organizations created by the Secular Humanist group. There are some, but not enough to catch all the slack left over from governments that religious charities make up for in health care, housing and work training for the destitute. These firm nonbelievers are as conscienceless as the zealots but they are:cynical atheists.
Maybe I'm overreaching though, my point is, cynical atheists and zealots actually have one thing in common, they're both arrogant nincompoops. Give me dialogue with an secular humanist, an agnostic or an open-minded atheist any day, or a quiet conversation fishing in a pond with a noncondemnational religious person. So long as they're not sanctimonious, I'll listen to what they have to say. When I was younger I was so affected by the opinions of those around me. Opinions that as I grew older and looked back on, seemed so dull! So lifeless! Truly zealotry and jaded atheism are a sort of spiritual suicide, to me more sinful than physical suicide. Completely giving way to wild detailed religious expression is dangerous in that you let go of the faculties given to your mind. Just as an atheist who shuts out the light does their best to completely close the door on any spiritual reach. I used to tell my atheist friends the joke: the skeleton of the atheist leans over to the skeleton of the believer as they both lie there and says, "See, I told you so!". Apparently hedging your bets is not in the cards for many atheists. The only time I can understand the value of atheism is when I see that someone was raised in the house of a zealot and they have been so utterly turned off by that form of severe subjectivity that they just don't want to talk to anybody about anything related to The Great Spirit in any capacity. I just find it sad and boring, because I wish they would dare to divine an expression from within themselves. They might be surprised at what springs fourth from their heart.
I guess I find a great satisfaction in the fact that when a zealot tries to fill my head with all of his or her flavor of spiritual anecdote, I know in my heart that they are just as malignant and contrite as an arrogant atheist trying to tell me all my beliefs are worthless. Latitude is the key for me. Sometimes science is mislead, though less so than religious speculation from an empirical point of view. Mostly, I just enjoy hearing what people have to say. As long as it's not about killing and torturing, I'm into whatever the Spirit has brought to them. I'm a devotee of humans being good to each other. Whatever religious flavor you may subscribe to, or atheistic philosphy you hold up high, I hope you give others room for their expression too.
Update November 11,2013
Well it's been awhile since I wrote this very cavalier piece, and despite Aldous Huxley's advice from later editions of Brave New World I've decided to change a few things. Huxley's piece was fiction, and mine is, haha, I know this will burn somebodies bottom by saying this, fact! Anyway, it's been great interactiong with athiests and religious people over the years, I've learned quiet a bit and although much as changed for me, much has stayed the same. I still walk with Gitchie Manitou. I still am a Latitudinarian although I struggle between deciding if I see the world as more pantheistic or more panentheistic. I still love people and words. I still believe in heaven and sadly, hell on earth (the temporary man-made kind, not the zealatious forever and ever kind). Mostly, I've gained more repsect for the heart of athiests, agnostics and religious people. It's difficult to stay on any ship with any sort of flag, somebodies bound to do or say something stupid and then there you are, sailing on the same ship as them. You want to say, but no! We're on the same ship, but my interpretation of the flag is different! Haha, I love that analogy. Anyway, I've been accused of being starry-eyed which is so true, always have trouble keeping my head out of the clouds, chasing that nirvanic state, twisting in moments of zen and epiphany. I'm grateful that you might've come along, that we might have sparred a little, that may I thought you were a little crazy in your beliefs or observations and me in mine. It's good, to be alive. To feel love, to scrape off hate, to look a friend in the eye (without looking through your phone camera) to say, it's good to have this moment with you! So forgive me if my cavalier essay hurt your feelings, just trying to keep you (and myself) honest, and interesting. I am working on a companion piece for this essay, look for it soon, I will post a link here. Peace.
Check out Ben Zoltak's first EBook, Your Life As A Painting
- Amazon Published My First eBook! Follow My Progr...
First eBook attempt by artist & author Ben Zoltak. This essay journals an essayists first attempt at publishing beyond blogging. Amazon.com is where he chose to publish, and he's still waiting review!