I’ll open by saying that I have a lot of Christian friends both here and in the “real world” and so the purpose of this post is not to put anyone’s religion down or be a proposal for what the absolute truth is. This is an examination of my own religion and moral traditions. I don’t think I’ll be offending anyone here but just in case, I wanted to state that up front.
Picture my belief system as a triangle. Each point of the triangle is labelled Catholicism, agnosticism, and atheism. My belief system is almost smack in the center, although it has drifted further from atheism and closer to agnosticism in more recent years. I was a hard-core atheist in my teens and early twenties which isn’t at all surprising if you know that I was also an anti-social misanthrope and occasional extreme-left fascist. My politics are still a topic that will have to be addressed later because we’d have to get into the neo-Nazi movement I joined as a teen and my subsequent years as an anarchist and that just doesn’t fit in this post.
Most White (and probably black) Americans, whether they like it or not, live under a Christian moral code. Freedom of religion is a great ideal but in practice it isn’t a real thing, in my view. America was founded by people who were raised under a Christian ethical system and based on the principles of Christian empires that came before. As such, most of our laws and moral values come from Christianity. I rather enjoy having Christian values; I find them to be enlightening and a true challenge to live by, and we require challenge to thrive.
Morality is the extent of my Christian beliefs. I don’t believe in the Christian idea of God nor do I believe that anyone in the history of mankind could perform miracles. I don’t believe that people once lived to be several hundred years old or that snakes had legs before the Eden Incident. I’m agnostic in that way. I have found, through simply living, that there might be some sort of force out there that can be tapped into to guide us on life’s path. I don’t know if this force has intelligence or if it’s simply how the universe works.
My a-theist beliefs stem from my loose Christianity. I don’t believe that any one religion is superior to any other. We live in a Christian society so we see everything through a Christian lens but if we lived in India or Tibet it might be different. Not worse or better: different. At their core, most religions are designed to give people guiding moral principles by which to live an ethical life which benefits themselves, their families, and their community. In that way, I think that most religions say the same things in different words. I’m not an expert, of course. I’ve only studied Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. It’s a working theory.
I have rather closed minded friends who ask “what about all the homophobic and racist things in the Bible” and I’m really the wrong person to ask that to. When you’re as loose with your religion as I am, you’re more free to admit that you’re cherry picking the good things from the Bible and throwing the rest in the bin. It’s also an adolescent and unwise argument, in my view. Sure, there are Christians who use the Bible to discriminate against people but they are a minority of illiterate morons who don’t need to be feared.