When my skepticism finally reached the point where I no longer considered Christianity to be a valid belief system, I gave up belief through dogma; but not God or at least not the sense of whatever God may turn out to be.
The internet is full of the voices of people who, having realized the farcicality of dogma, equally decide that a belief in God is also meaningless. Blogs, posts and comments all reflect the progressive deconversion from religion to atheism. Skepticism is presented as all black and white. Why then, am I in the grey area?
Perhaps I need the comfort of spirituality. I thrive with the fascination of the unknown, the curious awe of the beauty, sound and vibration of the majestic world around me. As disagreeable as this statement will be to some, when I consider the atheistic worldview, specifically that of new atheism, I envision that for me it would be a depressive state, one that lacks the full pulse of life with all of its intrinsic parts. Atheism to me represents nihilism, nothingness, an abyss devoid of mystery and wonderment. Logic alone is barren; it is like math without art or an instrument without its vibrant tone. I realize that this is not how atheists feel about it, but it is what it represents to me and the impact that I imagine it would have on my life.
Subjective experience also plays a role in my remaining faith. I often hear nonbelievers speak of not “feeling” anything during prayer or religious service. One said, “I may as well pray to a tree or worship a bird.” This has not been the case for me. I do “feel”, and I feel connected to a greater force during meditation and prayer, and when witnessing acts of unselfish bravery and compassion toward others, or during an awareness of the natural world and all that it is. I have had experiences which are difficult to explain that cause me to leave the door open to the supernatural and mystical. Perhaps the “god gene” greatly influences my experiences, but as an explanation of why, it doesn’t change that I feel them, and it is the feeling that produces emotion which beckons me toward spirituality.
The fact that science has not adequately explained self-awareness and consciousness through evolutionary theory, or even that evolution is acceptable theory but not an absolute proof also leaves me considering that the intelligent design of a creator is a more suitable explanation than nothing from nothingness. When scientific documentaries make statements regarding the astronomical odds needed for the existence of our universe and the life it contains to have occurred within the big bang, those words have strong meaning with me. An odd that consists of a one followed by sixteen zeros, for me seems inconceivable. Why would I accept those odds as the only explanation for how life occurred?
My skepticism led me to determine that the bible is not inerrant and that the religion I was brought up in was not the words of Jesus passed through apostles onward to the “chosen” man of God in the pulpit. I see the fingerprints of man throughout religion and still it doesn’t cause me to conclude that an unexplainable, enigmatic force or a supreme consciousness cannot possibly exist. I don’t know what God is; I know what I believe God is not. As such, God could turn out to be an altered state of my own consciousness. But that is ok if that is what it turns out to be. Whatever God represents to me has to be discovered through a search for my personal truth and not dependent on the beliefs of others or family traditions. And if God does turn out to be an altered state of my own mind then I would have been right. God in some form did exist, just not as the deity of religions…which is what I currently believe, that there may be something unknown and unexplained at this time which may turn out to be the summation of what believers express in their defintions of “God”.