This afternoon I walked in my forest. A jumble of trees, shrubs, grasses, fern trees, lichen, moss, mulch on the ground, moisture, fungi, toadstools galore. It's enchanting in its diversity and awesome to the senses. There is order and accomplishment in nature, yet disorder and ever change-ful at the same time.
I don't need to understand it, although that is a great achievement on the occasion it becomes possible. I don't need to believe it... my senses tell me it is so.
In my 74th year, I don't have time to waste arguing about the origin of life or who caused it. When my life here is done, the chance to experience will be gone for ever.
Look at these photos and see for yourself.
You believe what you want to, I have no problem with that. But don't waste your time arguing.
One person above asks the salient question: is Atheism a belief or a non-belief? Christian Believers assume the latter. They see Atheism as a direct rejection of their God. i'm sure that makes Atheism an even more repugnant cosmological posture than if the non-believer bypasses their God completely, literally having no concerns on the matter one way or the other. A-theist denotes a person who is not concerned with theism, a belief in a single God. Indifferent to the issue. At 74, Jonny sez , life is too short to waste it trying to figure out the origins of things when there is so much beauty to be enjoyed NOW, our one and only kick at the can. And that raises the Other side of a--theism: with no God laying out the pieces and dictating the moves available to the players, and with no board to play on, there is no AFTER-game even possible. So, no matter how exemplary a life the Atheist leads, pastoral bliss in a place of eternal hosannas etc. etc. ain't gonna happen. When it's over, it's over. Some (should I say 'many'? i have no idea!) Atheists come from Christian backgrounds, and they have actively rejected those teachings and instead embraced Atheism, but we do need to remind ourselves that some charted a more direct route.
On the other issue: why do Christians take such an aggressive stance against Atheists? All blanket statement are false, but we persist, don't we? i suppose that if you were a fervent Christian, encountering someone who rejects your basic belief--and you practice it actively every day of your life--could be seen as a rejection of YOU, impelling you into attack mode. I will suggest this: if as a Believer or a non-believer, you violently reject the position of the Other and feel a strong urge to attack them, please ask yourself "why"? Who was the psychologist who said, "all anger comes from fear." Wow! When that statement was first put to me, it really squished my world! (I was at an age when the world was made of play putty). So, in your rage towards the Atheist........what is it YOU fear, to feel the need for such intense emotion? Now, John Stuart Mill's fundamental condition of freedom--that I can pretty much do what I want, as long as i don't intrude on or compromise the life and safety of others--comes into play here. An atheist can't stand on my lawn and call me out to battle, but he can from the public sidewalk..............................
You all know those arguments, so let's not belabour them. Back to the more interesting issue of WHY Christians OR Atheists may actively hate the other group, to the point where otherwise intellectually open and balanced people become fixated, white-hot, and irrational. I dunno. Best I can do is extreme indignation against anyone who presumes to call into question the very foundation of your Being. I also know (being grey and wise and modest) that any kind of argument or discussion at this level of anger is an absolute waste of time. Taking over Sisyphus's day job or cleaning the Aegean stables with a toothbrush, would stand a greater chance of success than winning such an argument.
So we're right back (as usual) where we began. If you follow Jonnys' style of questions at all, you'll agree that he ADORES the Big Conundrums. Above his desk is a large poster of a snake eating its own tail. Hmm. But after a Jonny-discussion, you always find that you finish the backleg of the circle a little more informed, a little more thoughtful, a little more stimulated than when you began. And in terms of the care and feeding of this repository we all have above the neck and between the ears--I think that's a healthy space to occupy.
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