Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Theistic Atheist

I have to be honest. I generally loathe whatever religiously related words that I hear issue forth from an atheist's mouth. More often than not I find that what they tell me infuriates for its frequent lack of intelligence or personal belief. As much as I hate to generalize, I'll risk it when I say that too many atheists are possessed by unfounded beliefs that usually represent an adherence to a fad rather than a set of beliefs resulting from personal experience and thought. I respect people who have arrived at their atheistic beliefs as long as they have a justified set of reasons for believing so (don't ask me to get into what constitutes justification - my epistemology class is frustrating). Unfortunately, this has rarely been the case.

I generally do not agree with atheism, however, lately, my beliefs can be characterized in such a way that I would essentially seem an atheist. My dissolution of a humanized (anthropomorphic) God with regards to my personal life gives credence to that statement. Things are not always what they seem, though. As past entries (though somewhat outdated) have indicated, I believe in eternity, which in essence acknowledges the unending ebb and flow of reality, a sort of perpetual tide in the fabric of existence. Though under my views anything is possible (including the simultaneity of God existing and not existing, which though paradoxical is an absolute necessity in possibility when adhering to a belief in infinite potential), for reasons of personal motivation and day-to-day activities, I choose to not bestow any significance to the notion of a humanistic and personal God.

Just to give you all a brief understanding of these reasons, I shall explain in as few terms as I can. It's easier to expect more out of life when you believe in a benevolent God who occasionally does favors for human beings. The moment you stop praying to this God, the moment you stop hoping for Him to effect the changes in your life that YOU should be doing, the sources of your motivations and the stimuli needed to often enact your own change becomes much more tangible. Moreover, it was easier for me to lay back and not be active in life, because I had this dim sort of hope that all things would be made good by God. While I don't believe that God can't interact with my reality to make certain things come to be, I do believe that God would appreciate us acting to our maximum potential for reasons relating to ourselves and other human beings. God doesn't want us to do good because He said so; He wants us to do good for other people because it's a sign of love, and love is the hardest of all human emotions to truly feel and accept. According to Christian conceptions of God, we were made in His image, and God wants us to act like the divine being our origins suppose us to be. Divinity does not come from expecting rewards for our good deeds, but rather, from accepting that often no good can come to you personally sometimes when you do good for others.

For me, not holding a human God with any real significance is a sign of me stepping up to accept the personal responsibility that I may have shied away from in the past. Life becomes harder to bear sometimes when take ultimate responsibility for all of your actions, and don't always believe in the possibility of a brighter tomorrow. Despite that, it gives greater power to your actions, greater meaning to your deeds. When you become the author of your actions and an active participant in the creation of your destiny (rather than relying on some sort of cosmological intervention to do that for you), life takes greater force in your own mind. Reality becomes more tangible, more real, and takes new meaning.

There are days when it is hard. In recent months I have gone through some of my most mentally stressful times. I felt something in the line of real love for the greatest of my friends, and having spent a stretch of wonderful time with her, she rejected me when I made my thoughts and feelings vocal (rather than physical like they had been previously, and I don't mean physical in the sexual sense). I was in and out of depression daily, suffering from the worst feelings I've felt in my life. I'm only just now starting to feel like I might actually be coming out of it to some extent. God cannot negate the fact that this happened, or if He can, He's not going to. History is testament to that fact. Though many traditions do believe God to be a God of history, nowhere in that history does God ever negate the consequences of one's actions; God just seems to participate in those outcomes, usually stimulating human action to take some intended path. Either way, humans still seem to have been presented with a choice. So belief or disbelief in God, my actions are my own, my consequences mine in some fashion or another. I can't sit around and expect God to mend things with the woman I loved; only my actions can one day fix it, or it may be impossible to mend it in the way that I most what.

When I say that I am a theistic atheist, I do not mean that I am an atheist or a theist. I mean that I believe in God, or at least Eternity. This eternity is not the creator of reality, it is reality. There was no creation, just a cosmological constant, a persistent and unending reality that covers all possibilities and probabilities simultaneously. So while I don't hold any kind of God with any kind of personal significance, I do believe in eternity, which is the self-causing cause. If not believing in the anthropomorphic God of most religious traditions makes me an atheist, then so be it. But don't even think you can get away with comparing me to contemporary atheists, because unlike most atheists, I do believe in a higher power, and that higher power is everything itself. I am a part of that power, and it is a part of me. I am not just an atheist; I'm a theist. Don't fall victim to the false dichotomies that stupidly segregate the intelligence and beauty in our world. I believe in God so much that I'm willing to disbelieve in order to make myself worthy of the God within, and so if you think that you can liken me to the average and ordinary atheist, you are sadly mistaken.

After an almost year-long hiatus, the Quasi-Philospher is back, and I return with some life experience and a number of revelations to carry me through at least a few more entries. To the nonexistent reader who has never read this and never will, I bid thee good night.


Blogger Abhilaksh said...

I read this a couple of years ago and put down the link as my religious view on facebook. I come back to it from time to time and read through it. Well written. :)

7:58 PM  
Blogger RickDaBlogger said...

Deism...very well written.

7:55 PM  

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