Friday, November 1, 2013

Isn't 'Atheist' Just Another Way of Saying 'Egotist'?

People have never been able to figure out 'where I am coming from.'  Most of that has to do with the fact that I don't know where I am coming from.  I have always avoided 'having an agenda' and it has certainly cost me having what one might call 'an accomplished life.'  Nevertheless it allows me to have an honest one.  Top of the list the list is why atheists define themselves as 'non-believers' rather than what they really are - believers in themselves.

You see this in Brad Pitt's latest comments about 'coming out' as an atheist:

When I got untethered from the comfort of religion, it wasn't a loss of faith for me, it was a discovery of self. I had faith that I'm capable enough to handle any situation. There's peace in understanding that I have only one life, here and now, and I'm responsible.

Of course if I was Brad Pitt I would find it very difficult not to extremely satisfied with that journey to self-discovery.  I don't begrudge him that.  Who wouldn't want to be perfect?  But at the same time, it does make you wonder - is atheism less about not believing in God but uncontrolled egoism?

There are of course many types of atheists in the same way that there are many types of 'winners,' 'losers' or any other broadly defined category of people.  I am not atheist - not only because I don't look like Brad Pitt - but because I know certain things because I don't have a big ego.  That doesn't mean I know for a fact that there is a god.  It just doesn't mean that I am equally certain that there isn't one.  It's the certainty - any kind of certainty - that I have a problem with.

In Brad Pitt's case I am sure he is 'certain' that he is amazingly good looking.  God, I can't even imagine how my life would have been different if I had his natural beauty.  Nevertheless, the next question that develops before our eyes is - how can a beautiful resist the temptation of egoism?  The short answer is that they can't.  You simply can't judge people harshly for falling victim to the gifts that nature - or God for that matter - gave them.  I guess that's another way of saying that I have always considered myself blessed for not being very ugly and not being very beautiful either. 

Above all else, objectivity develops from disinterest which is - quite seriously - the principle by which a good marriage works.  You see the person for what they really are and you don't idolize them or demonize them - what you see is what you get.  To this end, I don't think there is any compelling evidence either way on the subject of the existence of God but I think religion serves an important role in the forming of the character of young people.  In short, the existence of God may be a lie but the fear of God is necessary to maintain civilization.  I firmly believe this. 

All of which leads me to be less harsh against Simcha Jacobovici and Joe Atwill.  Without myth civilization would never have endured.  These men may of course be bad myth-makers.  Their myths may suck.  But I can never condemn someone for merely engaging in storytelling.  At the very least it might divert our eyes from something far more dangerous - narcissism. 

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