It’s a strange place, living somewhere between atheism and religion. To the religious and traditionally spiritual, I have no faith and no spiritual life. To the atheists, I’m misinterpreting what atheism means.
In reality, I think the line between the two sides is far blurrier than is generally understood.
I am, absolutely, an atheist. I believe that, without any doubt, there does not and cannot exist any form of supernatural being, especially one with the kind of abilities which would allow it to monitor and control our existence. Everything which exists does so within the bounds of the laws of science, came into being according to the laws of science, and produces life because that is part of scientific reality. Now, I do believe that our scientific understanding is exceedingly limited and, therefore, leaves much room for the future discovery that some of the phenomena we dismiss today do exist and can be quite well explained. However, none of these potential discoveries will ever violate the science of reality. There is no such thing as “supernatural” beings or phenomena. Everything exists within the laws of nature.
On the other hand, I am also, absolutely, a person of spiritual faith. I believe that there is far more to our existence than the physical and mundane, that dealing with the intangible is essentially spirituality. I believe that there is greater truth and meaning to be found in the intangible part of existence, that our ability to imagine and create and wonder connects us to form a larger consciousness. I have faith in the future of life, the future of mankind, the ability of all of us (individually but more so as a species) to become more as time goes by. I don’t think this comes from god or some higher power the way many imagine it to be, but from the course of our evolution and the nature of life itself.
But, again, it’s a strange place to stand, philosophically and spiritually. Many have tried to build and maintain a bridge between the theists and atheists, the spiritual and the logical. Increasingly, many are realizing that confrontation doesn’t help create connection. However, when we talk about ways to bridge the gap, most are coming to the negotiation with a desire to convert the other side. Atheists mock and seek to discredit religion. Those of religion vilify and condemn atheism. The internet is chock full of atheists who were raised to be religious as well as converts from atheism.
I just refuse to believe that I’m alone in the middle.Tags: atheism, personal essay, religion, spirituality
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