I am agnostic. I also have a healthy disrespect for religion, believing it to be a socially acceptable form of mass delusion. I think a person who claims to have “a personal relationship with the creator of the universe” is the poster child for narcissism.
From time to time I talk about my view of religion publicly so I thought you should know where I stand, and why.
There seems to be a bit of confusion, even within the atheist community, as to where the exact contours are that define or distinguish the atheist or agnostic. Though I am not an atheist, let me briefly address Atheism because they are by far the larger and more well recognized group considered to be “anti-theist”.
The renown atheist, Christopher Hitchens, said that Atheism isn’t so much the denial of the existence of a god as it is the understanding that there is no factual reason to think one exists. My experience is that Hitchens was a minority in the Atheist community.
Most atheists are quite strident that there is no god. Their defining attribute is that they KNOW there is no god! Hitchens’ perspective is far more my cup of tea. Most atheists I know also cast their position in a very “us against them” paradigm. The ‘us’ being atheists, and ‘them’ being (primarily) Christians. There is more than enough hostility on both sides.
I consider myself an agnostic because I admit I cannot know things that are, in reality, unknowable (at least in my lifetime). While the agnostic ideal of “I likely won’t know that at any time while I’m alive” can obviously span more than just religion. But we’ll stick to religion today.
As an agnostic – and thus not pretending to know what the ultimate truths of the universe may be – I am also unwilling to buy a load of horseshit. Phrased another way, acknowledging I don’t have all the answers isn’t a self-permission slip to be intellectually lazy and accept things that are clearly nonsensical.
Because I reject horseshit, I am crystal clear that every religion on this planet is full of exactly that. There is not one religion that has anything credible to offer. That is not to say one can’t find a pithy verse now and again, or religious writings might not occasionally mumble something we would all consider a ‘truth’. But you can find pithiness and statements of truth in all manner of writings, the vast majority of which have nothing to do with claiming a connection to some all-knowing, all-seeing, creator of the universe.
I live in America where the predominant religion is Christianity. Consequently, Christians often falsely believe I am anti-Christian. When I speak – in America – about the nonsense of religion, of what other religion would I speak? Hinduism?
Am I anti-religion? No! And yes!
My view is that if people want to believe in the tooth fairy, or any other mythical character, that is their right in a free country. So, in that regard, no, I am not anti-religion. But sadly, religion doesn’t stop at just the delusions commonly referred to as “beliefs”. It goes much farther.
A whole lot of religious adherents want their delusions enshrined in law. How can I say this tactfully? FUCK NO!!!! This is where we get into problems.
In my opinion, a certain percentage of religious folks are psychotic, and the psychotic ones are those most inclined toward “political activism for the Lord God Almighty”.
Their delusions are so thoroughly engrained they cannot distinguish between their delusions and reality. They say things such as “God’s law is above man’s law” or “Man’s law must be subordinate to God’s law”. When someone like me says, “That’s all well and good buddy-boy, but this is a free country and I won’t have your beliefs enshrined in law so that if I don’t live the way you demand I get locked in a government cage”, they are unable to wrap their heads around the idea. They simply cannot accept there is a difference of opinion concerning the existence of some invisible master, or that rational people should not be forced to live in accordance with the delusions of psychotics. The entire point I just expressed in this paragraph is an anathema to them. It doesn’t compute. It’s like asking a blind man to describe the color vermilion.
That sort of thinking has real-world consequences. From the roughly 2005 through 2015, Christians lost their minds over same-sex marriage. The only thing that kept it from being funny as hell was that they were deadly earnest. When I heard their arguments I wanted to burst out laughing; they were that asinine. What made it not one little bit funny was that they felt free – because of their delusions – to deny a minority equal rights before the law. That is the point where I become seriously anti-religion. I will not stand idly by and watch delusional asswipes harm the innocent. That is the point where I say, “FUCK YOU, AND FUCK YOUR RELIGION.”
Did I mention I have a lot of Christian friends? I do! They don’t do that fucked up shit I just described. And one more thing: A long time ago I was a dedicated Christian for 12 years. Then I stepped out of the darkness and into the light of reason.
So…as an agnostic I can’t tell you who/what created the universe. I wouldn’t even try. (And those who say they know are full of shit.) But I know right from wrong. I know liberty. And I know not to deny others the full measure of liberty that I enjoy, or desire to enjoy. That’s MY religion!