My Atheism

UPDATE: This article is no longer an accurate description of my beliefs.  

Please visit the more current article Evolution of an Atheist.

Many of my friends on Facebook probably get the impression that I don’t believe in God.  Or maybe that I only believe in science and logic, and that is my faith.  Or maybe that I think Christianity (or any other religion) is bad/evil.  Or something like a combination of all of those, or …..who knows?  Remarkably, however, not one of those statements is true about me or what I believe.  Therefore, it seems appropriate to tell what I DO believe, rather than just what I don’t believe.

Faith in the Infinite for All

How Does One Describe the Indescribable?

First of all, I try to avoid the word “God,” for the simple reason that it has become so overused and corrupted by people who believe “they” know what/how/who God is, and that others don’t.  I think the ancient Jews had it right, when they were forbidden to speak the name of God, because it made God into something/someone that can be known.  But how can any finite human being even begin to comprehend the Infinite?  As an extension, how can any limited human book, using limited human words, begin to express the Limitless?

Therein lies one of the keys to “what” I believe…..it is truly inexpressible in human words, because all human words have a definite meaning (or meanings) to them, but if “God” is truly “God,” then words are drastically inadequate.  So how do I begin to describe what I believe in words, when it’s impossible to use words to describe the Indescribable?

Throughout history, mystics searched for ways to describe God without using that word; they sought words that would serve as stepping stones, or pointers, or guides….NOT words that were supposed to make the Divine “definable” in any way.  Some of the words they came up with  were Being, No-Thing, the Abyss, the Unknowable/Unknown, Source of Life, the Infinite, and more.  And so, I choose to think of “god” in terms that lend themselves to the Infinite Mystery of that which is beyond our human comprehension.  Words, names, descriptions should be mere signposts that point us to the Numinous…..they should never be believed to “BE” the Numinous, or one has fallen into idolatry.

Is My Belief in the Infinite Source Scientific & Supportable?

Given that I do believe in science and reason as capable of accurately describing our reality – within the limitations of our current explorations, but accepting that the future will bring newer, greater, broader, and more comprehensive understanding with each breakthrough – one might ask why I believe in the something as ephemeral and intangible as Source, or Being, etc.?  And that’s a very legitimate question, and here’s a key understanding to what I believe: what I believe is subject to change if evidence appears that demands I change my beliefs. 

As pretty much everyone, religious and atheist and agnostic alike, will agree, science as we understand it today is incapable of proving or disproving the existence of the Divine, which is a priori beyond what we understand as “existing.”  So quite clearly, ANY belief in the Divine Indescribable Infinite Source, is essentially unscientific.  At the same time, because science and reason can’t prove or disprove the Divine, there’s nothing saying that a belief in Being isn’t perfectly reasonable.  Faith, by definition, does not require science, or proof, or facts….faith is simply that….FAITH.  And remarkably……I’m completely OK with that.

Is My Faith “All in My Head?”

Given how much I’ve just talked about science, reason, logic, what can or can’t be proven, it would be perfectly understandable for anyone to assume that my belief in the Divine is purely intellectual.  Again, however, nothing could be further from the truth!  But once again, how does one describe an experience that is indescribable, or simply beyond words?

Because I grew up a Roman Catholic, it was difficult for me to escape the language and concepts that became so ingrained.  However, in my adult years, during the time of greatest doubt that eventually lead to my abandoning Christianity (and all religions), I found some books that talked about God in ways that spoke to my heart and spirit in ways that the Bible never did.  One that touched me most deeply was The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle (see the link in the sidebar for a copy on Amazon).  Not that I agree with everything he says, either – it’s not like I replaced one Bible with another – but the words in that book touched me profoundly……deeply…….emotionally.  But more than anything, I experienced the Infinite in the most profound understanding imaginable to me.  Not just that…….Tolle gave me words to finally understand several experiences I’d had of the Infinite during my earlier years.  Those earlier experiences, taking place while I was a Christian, somehow never FELT like experiences of Christ.  NOTHING that I had learned of Christianity made sense during those experiences, but when I learned to STOP THINKING and to simply BE in the most profound and truest sense of the word, suddenly I knew I had been One with the Infinite Source, which we ALL are, if only we would give up our ideas of ourselves as individual, separate beings.  

My Faith and Science Support Each Other

science-yin-yangI find it fascinating that what I understand of physics (no, I’m not a physicist, but I love reading about it) seems to dovetail quite nicely with my belief of the Infinite.   Consider a few crucial concepts:

  1. Since matter/energy can be neither created nor destroyed, quite literally, the atoms of which we are made were made when the Universe itself came into being about 14 billion years ago.  We are all infinite beings!
  2. Atoms are mostly empty space, meaning that WE are mostly empty space – our physical separateness is really an illusion, as the atoms of which we’re made are constantly circulating and sharing with others.
  3. While time as we experience it only moves one direction, the laws of physics indicate that the Arrow of Time can theoretically move backwards just as easily as forwards.  As a concept, time is a primarily human invention.

There are other concepts that I find unbelievably fascinating, exciting, profound, and meaningful in a way that has little to do with the pure laws of physics.

I Left Religion Entirely, Only to Know the Infinite Source More Than Before

If you cut to the chase of most all major religions of the last couple thousand years, there are underlying themes of love, forgiveness, fulfillment, wholeness, growth, strength, peace…….those parts of our humanity that are most good are common to all of them.  Pretty much all the other stuff is crap that divides us and allows us to think we are more, or better, or whatever, when in reality we are ALL human beings of potential to do amazing things.

When I left the confines of Christianity and all organized religions, choosing instead to follow The Way (Tao) that can be Known but Not Described, I found far greater peace, love, forgiveness, humility, and wholeness than I ever did within Christianity.  Humanity doesn’t need “rules” like that any more, but too many people fight over them.  Let go of all those rules, and allow everyone to experience the profound ONENESS that is the Infinite.

red-heartIn Peace and Love

Namaste

Shalom

In the Light of the One

I AM, AS YOU ARE

Let us go forth and love ourselves, our neighbors, and our enemies and heal humanity, for we are all ONE.  I don’t need a religion to tell me that.

  • Two books that changed me forever… Dancing Wu Li Masters and The Tao of Physics.

    • Charles Payet

      They both sound right up my alley – thank you for the suggestions, Cecile!

      • steve schwam

        wow chip, so well states, It is too late for me to think of how to add to your belief, how could I anyway, it is yours.. I will ponder and try to contribute only if it can stimulate all of us to love (even though sometimes love its tough, just ask your kids when you say “NO”)
        One thing we do have in common is our thought’s about Mark M talent . so glad we share photography as a common tread . Dentistry???? its ok. 🙂

        going to bed later steve