A Grand Rants Op/Ed
Hey… How about that for a concise and laser-beam title? Way to narrow down the subject matter, ay?
Truth be told, the title, “An Agnostic’s View of Society and the World” isn’t all that “universe-encompassing”… (At least not for me, and I’d imagine that there are other agnostics who would sign on to what I’m about to type…)
Does it ever occur to anybody (religious) out there that maybe, just maybe, their “Holy Book” is a crock? Maybe it’s just a 2,000 (+/-) year old urban legend gone horribly righteous and viral? Take your pick… Bible, Koran, scrolls, sayings… Whatever… Kind of reduces the humongous to the minuscule, pronto, doesn’t it?
Here’s the deal… When I was an engineering student, I watched two brilliant teaching assistants (both working on their masters degrees in electrical engineering) battle it out over the nature of gawd… One claimed that proof of gawd was someone rising from the dead, and the other claimed that gawd had something to do with a snake… And both men were damned serious about their views, and each had their “Holy Texts” to back up their claims…
Ummm… Did it ever dawn on anybody that so much of existence, cognition, love, physics, mathematics, self awareness, astronomy, blah, blah, blah are wildly complex and way beyond the machinations of the human gray stuff? It is irony lost when simple under-grad fodder like calculus, differential equations, and thermodynamics challenge (if not vanquish) the vast majority of us, yet we en masse continue to claim that because of our “Immaculate Tomes” we can somehow have insight into the mind and maneuverings of gawd. (Or perhaps better yet “know” that there is no gawd.)
A couple of days ago, a bomb blast in the Pakistani city of Peshawar killed more than 100… All because someone(s) firmly believed that he/they had a direct line to gawd and wallowed in the powers attached.
As an agnostic, I’m of two minds… The first is that of profound sadness – the senselessness of it all. But the second thought falls along the lines of a mix of anger and indignation. How dare you impinge your indoctrinated beliefs on me or others. I don’t care about your, “Well, I just believe…” or, “My<insert your sacred transcript here> says…” Fine. If you want to believe in Jesus, Allah, or even the Most Right Reverend Ultra Salty Potato Chip… Fine… Just keep it to yourself. And no matter what, don’t attack me physically or intellectually because I don’t buy into your brainwashing, and Pollyanna-ish denial of the harsh reality of it all. Sorry… I don’t buy into arks that can hold all gawd’s creatures and I don’t buy into afterlife rivers of honey and virgins… Call me irascible…
Look, I understand the want for religion… probably more than most. I dare say I’ve had more than my fair share of tough times, and it would be nice to be able to lean on a higher power… As just one example, my father’s death rocked my world… but not my logic. To be an agnostic (or atheist) can be damned lonely. Still it’s the intellectual disingenuousness of, and often violent nature of, faith that keeps me away. Simply put, it doesn’t make any more sense to me than does atheism. As if I could be so smart as to grasp the gears of gawd.
Often, I think back to my two teaching assistants and wonder whatever became of them on 9/11. What did they think of the omnipresence of their gawd (or lack thereof) when they watched 3,000 people being incinerated, broken, and crushed to a paste.
Anyway… As an old engineer and an agnostic, about the best I can do is marvel at the whirring of the universe and the gall of those who claim to understand the “Man Behind the Curtain”, or pronounce authoritatively that there is no “Man” at all…