Thursday, July 12, 2012

Religion Addiction

I made a simple promise to myself three years ago when I realized that I no longer had any religious faith left. I told myself I was an atheist now, with whatever that entailed, but I would not become one of those atheists who spend their lives hung up on religion. Religion, if false, was of no consequence as far as I was concerned. So, upon making peace with my atheism, I decided to close the door on religion.

As my past blogs have shown, this has been a spectacular failure. I simply can not do it. Religion is too interesting to me. Even if it is all nonsense, I have to say that it is the highest form of human nonsense and the kind of nonsense most worth poking, prodding, examining, and testing for anything redeemable. For a time I was able to put religion away and for a few months I had indeed reached the point where it just seemed like an immature state of mind that I had to grow out of. That only lasted a few months, though, before I was back to questions of what is beyond the universe.

To me the question is perfectly pointless. If there is something outside the universe, it would be beyond human comprehension. It would be like trying to get Pac Man to understand three-dimensional motion, artistic desire, and literature. You cannot fit these concepts into “waka waka waka.” Just so, if there is a God, we have to just accept the fact that he is in control, or not in control, or drunk at the wheel. The point being, God will do what God will do and we can not really change that. So the question is pointless to me.

And yet I keep asking the questions. Why? Well, I have one hopeless answer and one hopeful one. The hopeless answer is that I just have a religion addiction. I am addicted to questions pertaining to the concept of the supernatural, the concept that this world is not all that there is. That is not to say ghosts and demons (although those are interesting to me in their own ways), what it is to say is that I am obsessed with the possibility that even if you were to write a book containing all the facts and science in the world, that there would be still more content that was hidden from you and that maybe one day you are going to have a collision with all of that hidden reality.

My more hopeful answer is that I can not really contemplate the unknowable anyway, but I can contemplate the limits of our knowledge. I tend to take a dim view of the limits of our possible knowledge: I exclude religion, ethics, and aesthetics, and in some ways I say that none of our knowledge actually hangs on the world, but actually just hangs onto unknowable axioms thereby making all knowledge hypothetical. So by maintaining my religion addiction, I also provide myself with emotional fuel for an investigation that may actually prove valuable.

If I am to be perfectly honest, I do have another hope. Part of me thinks it is appropriate that my middle name is “Thomas.”

I have noticed over the time I have spent on the religious areas of the internet that I am not alone. I have seen atheists and theists (usually atheists and doubting theists) in various areas say that sometimes they find the whole religion question pointless, but they can not stop asking it. I remember one person asking if some people, regardless of which side of the debate they find themselves on, are just naturally always going to be drawn to religious questions.

I say yes, and I say you will not win in a fight against your own nature. So, hold out some hope that it will do some good, and keep asking the questions you want answers to.

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