Preface: Last week, we posted a blog titled “Dear Atheist” by one of our writer’s Naomi. The purpose of her blog was not to convert anyone, but simply lay out views and question the other side. This week, one of our writer’s Preston, gives her take on what she believes (or doesn’t believe). Since this is an opinion’s blog, we are open to putting out both sides on topics, yes, even “heated topics” like religion. It’s nice to hear both sides. At the end of the day, if we can be more understanding to the views of others, and that’s the most we can get out of it, then I would say we are at least moving in the right direction. <3
Written by: Preston Chapin
If you are easily offended, please don’t read this blog. Here, watch this video of howling puppies and be happy. And for the ultimate experience, you can do both!
From what I have come to realize about the world is… just about everything can be explained or rationalized. If I can’t reasonably counter an argument, chances are I haven’t researched it yet. I began my journey through life in a religious family, and am well aware of the rhetoric around why there must be a God. I’ve been to several different Christianity sects churches, including lutheran, baptist, evangelical, and heck… I even spent some sessions in a messianic jewish church. What I have learned from this is every different religious club reads the same book differently, and have different translations of the same text. Some rely more on fear of punishment and promise of reward, while others focus more on the love and togetherness of a community. It is near impossible to read every reiteration of the Bible in one’s lifetime, but it all pretty much follows the same storyline. There was nothing at all, then God created light, then the sun and earth, Adam, animals, Eve, they get kicked out of a garden, populate the earth with babies, and other stories follow. I am not going to go over every single story and try to make a point, that’s not the purpose of this post.
No, the purpose of this post is to counter some “proof” that has been used for decades in the existence of a God, and counter why these arguments never, ever work.
1.“I feel God in my life, and He is guiding me.” While this is a nice sentiment, personal experiences and anecdotes do not make valid arguments. If you replace God with any other word/name, the sentence sounds not only ridiculous, but untestable, thus cannot be proven. “I feel Ronnie Milsap in my life, and He is guiding me.” You can’t prove that I do not have personal experiences of Ronnie Milsap guiding my life. Even if you could ask him yourself, I can claim spiritual phenomenon that can’t be countered.
2. “There have been cases of people coming back from death/near death and witnessing God/heaven/Jesus/ect!” Again, personal experiences and anecdotes cannot be reproduced and tested. Now, I am going to explain this one, because this in particular shows just how little people tend to understand about the human psyche. There is a part of the brain called the pineal gland that produces melatonin, pinoline, and dimethyltryptamine (or DMT). The DMT chemical is a psychedelic drug that causes intense hallucinations, and it is what causes us to dream at night. Upon death, however, the brain is still alive/active for several minutes (thus, allowing “miracle” cases of people returning from flatlines), and in this time a massive amount of DMT is released into the brain. Basically everyone’s experience is different, but with the high levels after death the person “sees” what they truly, honestly believe is the afterlife that they are going to. This is how these experiences also “prove” that there are in fact different versions of the afterlife. For more information on DMT and the near death experiences, I encourage you to research yourself as well.
3. “The universe is so big you can’t possibly know what is or is not in it!” Exactly. Therefore, you also cannot claim to know what is in the space that we cannot account for. In that “proof”, you have both proven and disproven your own argument. This is called a self-refuting claim.
4. “What came before the Big Bang?” I don’t know. No one knows, including you. This argument is completely irrelevant because just because I don’t know a thing, doesn’t mean that your answer is correct, either. I also argue that in the grand scheme, it doesn’t really matter. It is here now, and you are here. If the universe was sentient, the lifespan of it is billions of years old and your life is but a spec that it hardly would notice. Instead of wasting your precious energy trying to disprove a theory that most physicists agree on, why not use that time to live your life to its fullest? The question of what came before is a regressive trap to the theologist, but an unsolved equation to a physicist. One of these is already at the dead end, while the other is still waiting for an answer. Unless you are willing to delve into science and dedicate your entire life to this one question, your opinion ultimately doesn’t matter.
You cannot rely completely on supernatural forces and “experiences” to move your life forward. You cannot rely on “feelings” and a hypothetical “unity” to fix the world. Anything worth doing and achieving takes a lot of hard work. On a personal level, a community basis, or a worldwide scale. If you want to live your life completely on chance, then the unfortunate reality of that is you will be forgotten. That thought is scary to most people. No one wants their life to be meaningless, to have had no purpose. This is why so many people are so willing to put all of themselves and their wishes on some grand deity that they believe will forever take care of them. If things don’t “happen”, then they weren’t meant to be, right?
Every single thing of value that we have today was created, conceptualized, achieved by people who didn’t want to leave their life to luck. You are reading this now on a thing called the internet. We are even able to have these discussions because language was invented, and continues to grow and expand. You are sitting comfy and cozy in your home, snuggled up with all of your modern day conveniences. Every single thing that you have ever used, bought, touched, tasted, felt was the result of someone’s hard work and dedication to creation. The power of innovation and critical thinking is the greatest advantage that we have as a species, and most of the entire population, past and present, squander and take it for granted. Chance is the lazy way to live. The truth is we are not born with a purpose. We were born because two people decided to create a life. We are an effect. Cars have a purpose. Cough drops have a purpose. Human beings can, in a sense, give purpose to a thing, but it is not something that we can claim for ourselves. One day you might be a painter, you’re so sure you want to be a painter and live your life creating art. The next day, you decide that maybe you would rather be a carpenter. Does that mean that your purpose of being a painter was wrong? No. Your preferences changed, that is all. There is no need to further complicate a situation with hypotheticals and wishful thinking. If you want your life to have a “purpose”, you must create that yourself. And that doesn’t mean it can’t change.
When people are making decisions with their lives, their decisions are based on facts. Numbers. Logistics. The weight of any choice is based solely within those categories. Even when we are making the choice to be charitable or helpful, we are still basing that choice on the availability of our own practical resources, time, and our subjective ideals. In no aspect of our daily lives do we ever solve problems with wishful thinking. If there is a wall in our way, we do not simply hope that it is not there and try to walk through it. It will not vanish simply because we want it to. The realization that there is a wall there allows us to make intelligent choices versus those who try to imagine otherwise.
Look, I understand. I am a fantasy writer. I love imagining other worlds; what the people would be like, what kind of supernatural feats can be accomplished, how the characters would interact with the world… and most importantly, how good triumphs over evil. The imagination is a vital necessity of our existence. The imagination is what drives humans to create new things, new ideas, new inventions. It is the fuel of the future. But we have to remind ourselves, remind our children, that when we put down the crayons, or step away from the keyboard… we have returned to reality. To create something fantastic within the confines of reality, we must respect the natural laws and what is actually possible. Magic cannot bring the world closer together, regardless of how hard we believe in it. We may share a physical genetic link with an ancient ancestor, we may share similar preferences, and a majority of people may be driven by the same motivations (family, love, power, etc.), but beyond that there are no mystical external links that connect us all. If there are invisible links between people, it’s virtually certain that those “connections” will be based in science and not superstition. Ask yourself this: when was the last time in human history where science was proven wrong beyond a reasonable doubt by religion?
Living in reality is what has been keeping us alive as a species for over two-hundred thousand years. Hopes and dreams do not keep us warm at night, or fed, or clothed. They can provide a beacon towards bigger and brighter things, but they will not pave the road. When her building was on fire, a mother of three in South Korea was trapped to die in her own home. When members of the U.S. Air Force saw the situation, they didn’t rely on hopes and prayers that the woman would somehow be miraculously saved. They collaborated with other people nearby to save the woman and her children themselves because they knew if they did nothing, the four of them would perish in the flames. They got blankets from a nearby store and yelled for the woman to drop her babies for them to catch. She was reluctant at first, of course, but finally she understood that the only way to save her children was to trust in these people. Not a deity. Not a supernatural force. Actual, tangible people who wanted nothing more than to save her and her children. When we rely on our dreams, we stop trying. We stop fighting. When people feel like they don’t have to do anything and everything will turn out okay, they relax and give up because they honestly believe that they will be fine. They will not be fine, because it’s the fight that keeps us alive. It’s the drive to achieve something that keeps us moving.
Be thankful for your dreams, but believe in the possibilities of you.