Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"This I Believe" -Penn Jillette

...This I also believe:

I believe that there is no god. I'm beyond Atheism. Atheism is not believing in god. Not believing in god is easy, you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love, and a spare tire?

So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself, has to start with no belief in god and then look for evidence of god. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write emails to often, are still stuck at this searching stage. The Atheism part is easy.

But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life's big picture, some rules to live by. So, I'm saying, "This I believe - I believe there is no god."

Having taken that step, it informs every moment of my life. I'm not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I?m raising now is enough that I don't need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.

Believing there's no god, means I can't be really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.

Believing there's no god stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without god, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But, all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no god lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.

Believing there is no god means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn?t bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No god means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

Believing there is no god gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have."

~Penn Frasier Jillette, November 21, 2005

1 comment:

Draco said...

I've recently (read: within the past few years) realized I'm in the searching stage, too; my difference being that I'm starting with an intact belief in God. Why is this belief in place? To be perfectly honest, because that's how I was raised. That's why it's there. But why has it -stayed-? It's stayed because there are still things we cannot explain. The apparent presence of a totally unique "soul" in every single person who has ever lived, the ultimate t=0 - the beginning of the universe, how mankind got to where we are from wherever we came from... Yes, science offers lots of -theories-, but nothing has been proven concerning these so-called mysteries of life. I choose to fill in those mysteries with divine intelligence. It's the most sensible and natural explanation I can generate, given our lack of scientific proof.

Concerning "On God: Part 1," one of your assumptions about God is that "There are no limits to his power. Any and all laws of physics or generalized rules of nature that humanity has discovered within its entire history do not apply to God." If that's the case, then God very well could create a boulder heavier than He could lift AND still be omnipotent and not vanished in a puff of logic. If that's the definition of God's omnipotence that you subscribe to for debate, it renders any point you make totally invalid. :P Just thought I'd put that out there.

Honestly, not sure what I set out to accomplish here. I've been mulling over the things you write for some time, and I'll be damned if they don't challenge me to pieces. I know what you have to say on the subject, but I simply cannot discount the existence of a supreme being whose ways are mysterious to us. Remember, too, that everything you use against the idea of God is taken on faith. You believe, blindly (that is, without having seen for yourself), that scientists have proven the things you are taught. I know you can extrapolate that point to distrusting everything, everywhere. I'm not taking it to that extreme. I've never seen an atom, but the chemistry I perform on water systems produces the expected effects and keeps the plant running the way it's supposed to. You keep believing in science, etc. because the way the world works around you gives you no reason to stop. I do the same.


Did that degenerate to an unintelligible degree? I'll trust you to let me know if it did and will look forward to your reply. :)