There was a discussion at work recently about religion- between an agnostic (me), a Jew, a non-practicing Catholic, and a Wiccan- and, believe it or not, it didn't devolve into violence. We were just sharing what it was we all believed, what it was we were taught to believe growing up, and how that had, for the most part, changed.
I'm a religious mutt and revolutionist, I guess you could say. My dad was raised Catholic, my mom Shiite Muslim (although really lax- she, and my whole Iranian family, drinks alcohol, eats whatever, doesn't pray five times a day, etc.). My dad later got tired of the Catholicism, and became a Lutheran. When my mom married him, she converted, since for her, it was always really about worshipping God (mostly by thanking him for all the good she had); the other details weren't important.
So, my sister and I were raised Lutheran- but, again, pretty lax. We went to church on a semi-regular basis, but we rarely went to Sunday school. Still, I believed all that stuff and took it pretty seriously- to the point that I'd do things like refuse to sing along with certain song lyrics if they weren't respectful of God, even. I was just freaked about what might happen if I was in any way blasphemous. And that didn't change until I got to college. My best friend there, lordjosh2004, introduced me to Dark Ages: Vampire, which talks a lot about how your character is among the damned, and anyone who's read stuff I've written or role-played with me knows that all my characters are pretty much attached to my psyche by an umbilical cord, heh. So, that was kind of freaky. And I was crossing myself as I read the rules of the game, all the while thinking, "Um, this is kind of stupid of me, isn't it?" I mean, just how petty can a supposedly all-powerful, all-knowing, all-benevolent god be to get mad at me for reading words on paper?
The summer following that, I rediscovered the library, and got into borrowing a ton of Carl Sagan. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark really struck a chord with me, and started casting even more of a shadow of doubt on my Christian beliefs. A quote in that book from Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason prompted me to read that book- and that's what sent the whole religious thing crashing down. Lutherans believe what comes out of the Bible. But what's in the Bible has been translated, re-translated, and voted on by a bunch of guys, along with numerous other books you won't find in there, as to whether it was Bible-worthy or not. It's not the word of God, it's a bunch of fables and stories recorded by men hundreds of years after the fact: contradictions, numerous erroneous translations, disgusting stories of murder, rape, genocide, cruelty, you name it. That's what I'm supposed to base my morality on?
So, I quit that and became Deist. Deists simply believe that God created all things, then sat back. He's around, he just doesn't care all that much about us; we're just another cog in the machine. That didn't last terribly long, though. 'Cause, think about it: if God created all things, then who or what created God?
I couldn't really come up with any religious answer that made sense to me- so, after looking at a couple of other faiths and not finding any that I could really jive with (Daoism, Wicca), agnostic I became. I don't know if there is a god or not- but, I lean toward saying there isn't. And I'm convinced that if there is a god, he's not the Judeo-Christian god. You can't be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-beneficent with the existence of evil in the world, as was argued by a philosopher whose name eludes me (if you know about the evil and can stop it but won't, you're not all-beneficent. If you don't know about the evil, you're not all-knowing. And if you can't stop the evil, you're not all-powerful). Plus, there's the awesome question that completely fubars the omnipotence bit: Can God make a rock so big that God can't lift it?
So yes, I lean toward atheism- but a certain kind of atheism. As Penn Jillette argued on his awesome radio show, there are two kinds of atheism- the kind where you have faith that there isn't a god (which, he freely acknowledges, requires just as much faith as theism), and those who simply don't believe in any particular god. The latter one pertains to me- and is temporary, contingent upon conclusive, uncontrovertible evidence of a god's existence. Which we don't have. And frankly, I'm not holding my breath.
So, there we go. I've been thinking about it, so I threw it all down. If you like it, great- if you disagree, that's also great. I'm absolutely happy with other people believing anything they like- but I have that nasty Libertarian limitation that your belief is fine only so long as it doesn't hurt someone, anyone, else. ;)
In other news, I had a very nasty bout of depression on Friday, so I "forgot" to take my medicine Saturday morning, and the day went much better for it. Remy's birthday is coming up, so for his present, I took him clothes shopping for schnazzy shirts (he posted about it, hehe). And while we were at the mall, I saw the newest Tomb Raider game for sale... and the minimum requirements to play it would kick my poor Windows box's ass. Game's only $40, but it'd be like $400 easy to get my computer to the point where I could play it. I wanted to cry.
But you know what makes me happy? The new season of Dr. Who finally started across the pond, and the first episode rocked. =D Do yourself a favor and go