I was talking about religion with a devout Christian friend.
Given my propensities, there were fireworks – mine!
On the other hand, despite the impasse, there was usefulness to that discussion.
You see, I am a comfortable humanist and agnostic evolutionist – no, don’t ask
The comfortable bit comes from the fact that the above makes sense to me even if I can’t explain how perceiving divinity ties in with the hot bacterial soup that eventually made me possible
If I lean towards a more “you evolved to live, further the species then die” approach I begin to feel uncomfortable, something is missing. If I lean towards a more “you have been created in the image of…” approach, I begin to feel uncomfortable, something is missing. If I lean more towards “humans need special treatment as they are superior to…” then I begin to feel uncomfortable, something is missing.
So I aim for the middle, which feels comfortable. Not many certainties, though.
I believe that at the very least the humans should not be harmed, but they are not entitled to this world as their domain (you can add ecologist to my description 😛 )
I believe that humans need their beliefs and symbols and finding meaning in their own lives, but not at the expense of community, caring for one another and caring for this planet.
And I believe that not knowing is ok, too. Not knowing does not mean your belief is true… it may be, I don’t know. Not knowing does not mean that your belief is wrong… it may be, I don’t know. And belief can’t be forced, so I am stuck with the knowing… or not, in this case
I will think about these things and get more comfortable as I go… we need certainties, us humans…
But being comfortable needs to stem from this thinking about it, and considering, and listening and the like. Comfortable should not mean that this is the way it is and it can’t ever change. I have been happily ignorant about such matters, then I became a Christian, then I became an atheist and then I settled in agnosticism. I was happily ignorant about such matters, then I became an ecologist and settled. I was happily ignorant about such matters, then I started reading and knowing people and loving them and changed from an essentially selfish and entitled human being to a marginally less selfish and less entitled human being I started from being taught right from wrong according to human law and custom in my native country, then I began to adapt and adjust what I have been taught to what I saw served to further my happiness without encroaching on someone else’s – and I settled. So I am comfortable because I changed over time… maybe I have matured? 😛
I was reading Mark Vernon’s “How to be an agnostic” – it was the only book I read as slowly as it was possible for me, because every word was like knowing myself rightly… like the extra time we spend in front of the mirror because we know we look our best…
Vanity, thy name is…
PS The photo is one I found on Google Images – it shows two Romanian statues thought to be about 5000 years old. The male figure is the Thinker of Hamangia, his pair is a bit harder to translate, the Earth’s Peacefulness or Patience or Obedience… take your pick.