January 21, 2011

The Contented Atheist: On Leaps of Faith

One of the biggest problems I have with monotheistic religions is the way God wants you to put your trust in him unconditionally. A wise friend once told me never to trust anyone that says trust me. I can't really get my head around the idea of believing in something there is no evidence of just because some book said I should. Am I less gullible than everyone else or just less trusting? Is it even conceivable, given the makeup of my personality, that I could ever really make the proverbial leap of faith?

Are cynics destined to be atheists? Are we the comical curmudgeons that are afraid to dive in head first and get a little wet? I'm a naturally rational person. When I want to do something wild, as I'm known to do from time to time, I have to first rationalize letting go of common sense for the night. My brain and I have a little discussion that goes something like this:

Me: It's been a tough week and I'm stressed as hell.
Brain: Tell me about it, I can't wait to relax and recharge.
Me: We do that every weekend. It's that time of the month Brain. We need beer and loose women!
Brain: Fine, have a beer, but you realize you're slowly killing me right?
Me: A beer? I was thinking more like 12.
Brain: You cruel fuck.
Me: Stop being a diva, you know you like the feeling too. If you let me have my fun when we get back at 6 AM I'll let you write one of those random (expletive deleted) posts you write when we're sauced.
Brain: Well... that was fun.
Me: So, what are we going to do today, Brain?
Brain: The same thing we do everyday, try to take over the world! Err, I mean I'll turn off the common sense nodes now and we'll go have some fun.

Once I convince myself that I'm allowed to do irrational stuff for the night my inhibitions and rational nature run for cover and I allow myself to live a little. I know I have the ability to be pretty irrational. It's inside me, but it's fleeting. Once I wake up I'm back to being rational. I immediately map out the most efficient way to get Mexican food.

I could take that leap of faith for a night (as my liver would testify). I could go all-in right now and convert to Islam, Catholicism or Judaism and fully believe in what I was doing at the time if I really felt like it. When I woke up the next day though I'd just shake my head, dust myself off and go get a torta.
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For previous editions of The Contented Atheist click here.

Image taken from here: http://thundafunda.com/33/animals-pictures-nature/leap-of-faith-adelie-penguin-pictures.php

21 comments:

  1. I think you and my husband would get along very well!

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  2. Nice. The first line of the Quran – at least the translation I use – says this: “This book is not to be doubted.”

    Now, obviously, the Quran wasn’t even written down for a while after Muhammad received it, so it’s unclear what the Angel Gabriel actually said to the prophet that got translated as this sentence, but I like it anyway.

    I like it because it demands that you accept the authority of the book as proof of the book’s authority.

    Brilliant!

    Someday, maybe I’ll take that leap and place my trust in a political party or religion or other system of thought that will save me the trouble of thinking for myself. It could happen…

    But waking up and seeking out Mexican food… That’s just a survival skill. Your autonomic nervous system ought to be able to handle that without your conscious mind or what good is an autonomic nervous system for?

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  3. lol I'm sorry. I didn't read your article because the picture was one of the funniest things I have seen in a while.

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  4. Just don't ever try Scientology, because honestly, once you go batshit crazy like that, you never can fully go back.

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  5. Oooof, Mexican makes my stomach cry. :) Interesting internal conversation.

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  6. oh you should try one a week or something, and just see what you think.

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  7. Talli: Well from reading your post earlier he does seem like a good guy.

    Katy: I agree with you completely. Also, I think the automatic nervous system stuff could take me to food. Not sure it would know that I need Mexican food when hungover to feel happy again. Perhaps.

    watchmen: Yea, that cracked me up too. Had to use it.

    Kev: My brother and I were actually thinking of going to one of those places just to see the kind of crazy s*** they tell us but maybe we won't now. Thanks for the warning.

    Janet: I'm glad you enjoyed it. I personally have a stomach made of iron, it can handle mostly anything

    helen: I actually was raised a lutheran and went to church every week like a good boy but it just didn't work for me. Not even back then.

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  8. Love the pic, love the post. I was smiling all the way through. Thanks, Chris.

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  9. Another great piece, I think you will find you are much more "together" than all these supposedly faithful ... I really think you personally just don't need it ....
    Loved your "conversation" ....

    Oh and that bike poster you liked on my "Friday Favorites" I liked it enough to steal one when we were walking home from a restaurant !!!

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  10. We all have our irrational moments. At least you don't make it a permanent state.

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  11. Lol, students here are likely to plot the most efficient paths to obtain flammable lounge suites.

    Lol, I only wish I had bondage equipment that beautiful and complex. No, you poor deprived person. They are bouncy stilts. Observe masters at work:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq7g-pDZTng
    Except I'll be dressing as a harlequin or faun and scaring the normals :p

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  12. Hi Christopher :) I just jumped over from Rach's blog (already starting on the crusade!)

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  13. Hi,

    :)

    First off before I actually comment on this post, I love Pink and the Brain!!!

    Moving on, see I am Jewish ( which you know because you read my blog and we are interweb friends) but that is not the point. I have trouble sometimes believing in something so mystical and it seems weird that I don't believe in magic but I would believe in a supernatural being.

    But sometimes I have this feeling that maybe that is the way the world is supposed to work. Instead of rationalizing it, just say well this is how the world was created. It was created in a way that it is home to this supernatural idea and that is it, there is such thing as a supernatural being. It is normal, not out of the ordinary. Understand ?

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  14. It seems we see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.

    Due to a tragedy, I actually became very religious back in high school and got rebaptized. But then I started to see the ugly side of Christians and it changed me. I'm no longer religious because seeing the ugly religious views behind some of the most "devout" people opened my eyes. It made me rethink my entire life and beliefs. I started studying other religions. It's a long story and I don't want to bore you with it, but I do understand what you mean. I hate when people use religion as a weapon or a brick wall. :S

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  15. Good post, I'm going to read the previous editions.

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  16. Good to see you are using those critical thinking tools Chris. They are extremely important in fashioning a logical and evidence based view of the world.
    Questioning your own thoughts is a difficult one as meta-bias can be an ornery critter. Keep plugging away my man!

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  17. Mandy: I find theft incredibly sexy. Great work!

    K. Syrah: Very well said!

    Peridot: I think my idea sounded much more fun.

    Tessa: Hello! And come back anytime.

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  18. Penny: Sort of, but I'd have to respectfully disagree. I don't think there is anything to really support the claim of some sort of supernatural creator. Just because that's the only thing people have been able to come up with as an answer doesn't mean I think it has any validity.

    Jennifer: Me too, and I'd love to hear about your views sometime! Discussing religion never bores me.

    Squirrel: Thanks, hope you enjoy.

    Dan: Thanks for the support my friend.

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  19. I think the penguin is thinking, "I have faith that that isn't actually the open mouth of an orca I'm jumping into."

    Nice post!

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  20. I don't understand that if you don't believe in God you put so much effort into trying to prove his non existence?
    I think that you must just be sceard to put your trust and faith in something that you cannot see.
    But let me tell you if you dear to trust in the unknown then you will be changed got life. Not everything has to be seen and heard to be believed. And the stupid thing is that in the bible God actually speaks to you!! He not just saying to you 'trust in me' he goes you so many examples of why you should trust on him and if you try and listen instead of trying to do what you thinks better. You could have such a better life!!
    I'm telling you this because I think you could be so much more than what you are now you could be amazing. If only you listened and had little bit of faith.
    When I see the picture of that penguin I see that he trusts that God will catch him.
    It says in Psalm 46 vs 5 'GOD is with her she will Not fall GOD will help her at the break of day''
    Don't you see God will never let you down he will always be there for you all it takes is a little but of your time just to listen to him and trust him.
    Hope you have read this and I really do hope that you would read into why he says Trust in me and from my experience God is the ONLY person who dosnt let you down xx

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