The journey towards agnosticism and atheism is a personal and lonely one. It has been said elsewhere, we cannot control the things we believe in. As we gain experience and learn, our mind goes through a process of evolution. With this process our sets of beliefs change. Being a person who can read and has access to modern technology (…you are reading this blog on your computer, your tablet or smartphone), you by no means have the same beliefs as someone who does not have that privilege for example lets say the Mascho Piro tribe of amazonian Peru, who still cling to ancient ways.
As mentioned in another post, your heritage has a lot to do with your initial beliefs. Where you were born, the religion of your parents or lack of; start you off on this road. But at first the road is short and your horizons are very narrow. Once you start to acquire knowledge, the road will get longer and the extent will broaden you horizons. Many of the things you once did not know and had irrational answers to explain them become everyday common knowledge. Some of these doubts had been explained by religion. Or had they? Could it be that religion is only another way of naming ignorance? Humans in some parts of the world, long long ago used to believe that lighting flashed whenever Thor threw his hammer, and thunder crashed as his hammer tumbled against the clouds. That was the religious explanation. We now know that thunder is caused by the rapid expansion and contraction of the air that surrounds a bolt of lightning. This causes the air around the bolt to become very hot. It occurs in less than a fraction of a second. But, air cannot stay extremely heated for too long. The heat is lost quickly through the air, causing waves of compressed air that make the sound of what we know as thunder. That is the scientific explanation in a nutshell. So, what we once took for granted as dogma, through the increase of scientific awareness has become common knowledge…Goodbye Thor. The more you learn the less you have need of fallacious explanations for natural events that happen around you.
As you cannot learn for me and I cannot learn for you, we have to do this on our own. And we each have a different speed for learning and coming to conclusions based on the newfound information. Of course we can share knowledge in form of books, magazines, videos, oral presentations or what not, but in the end learning from them is an individual process. We also have the chains of irrational restraints shoved upon us by religion. The eagerness with which we break them depends entirely on each person. Sad to say I took a very long time to come to this point and have seen youngsters arrive at the same point at an early age.
And, speaking of youngsters…
When is the proper time to talk to kids about agnosticism and atheism? When should we talk to our kids about our lack of belief in a deity? I for one have not been direct on the mater with my kids and have preferred to let them learn through example and not by direct counsel. I do not go to or take them to any church. They here me talk about religion and how I don’t believe in it. Surely they have heard me say I don’t think the existence of God is probable. I just have not asked them about what they think. Maybe I am just chicken.
Should agnostics/atheists be proactive proselytizers? I think not. At least not in the sense of going door to door and asking “Have you heard the good news?” Many of you have heard this before and been unfortunate enough to open the door and suffer to get rid of these people. However, I do believe that we should not be silent. We can no longer feel intimidated by a majority of religious people. It could be that their majority is not that big. The problem is that we are not as outspoken and others like us do not know that it is ok to be a non-believer. So we should express our opinions, insist on respect for our right to not believe in any deity and show others who have fears and doubts about coming out that there are many others just like them.
See you next time.