Friday, November 4, 2011

A Proposition: Religion is a quick path to security

I am in the middle of something really cool right now. I have an old friend (we're going to call him Sam) who turned to faith several years back when life threw him its typical curve ball. He recently declared that he doesn't know what to believe any more and appears to have become disillusioned with his chosen church and, on a deeper level, is questioning his faith in God. I saw this as an opportunity to provide Sam with solicited information on atheism and its foundation in logic, reality, science, and free thought. To my delight, Sam has asked that I provide him with resources to understand what I, and all other atheists, "view" to be the truth about the origin of the cosmos, the earth, life etc. I put "view" in quotations because, believers like Sam see a non-believer's knowledge of things like evolution, astronomy, and natural science as beliefs. And while I guess we as atheists  do believe in what we know, I find labeling this knowledge as a "belief" or "view" somewhat demeaning. Anyway, I digress.

As I continue to embark on this attempt to enlighten Sam, I will be posting what I am learning about my atheism, science, and the complexity of "deconverting" a believer.

Here is a sample from today's discussion. Sam is really wanting me to provide him with "the truth" I keep referring to when I speak of  the origin of the earth and everything on it. He wants the "quick and dirty" on big bang theory, cell mutation, evolution, etc etc. In an attempt to start with foundational information, I have been presenting him with videos on how scientists have determined the age of stars, other galaxies and so on.Sam's response has been, "yeah, that's nice but how do you prove God didn't create that"; and  "I want to know how earth formed - from star dust?"; and "Did humans just come from monkeys?" My response to Sam has been that, unlike religion, which just provides a finite story of how it all began, asking you only to believe it "just because", science requires far more exploration into obtaining proofs of what it hypothesizes. Furthermore, scientists (and atheists) are comfortable with accepting unknowns without the need to contrive and then believe in myths all for the purpose of creating security where unknowns exist.

So may I propose the following for discussion: Religion is simply instant gratification for impatient people that just want quick security from that which we haven't yet discovered or that which requires a higher level of cerebral exertion?

Oh, and if you know of any good resources for people wanting to learn more about the true origins of, well, everything, please feel free to post them below. I will add them to my new tab, "Resources for Doubters."