Filling holes with god

I’ve oscillated between deism and atheism for a while now, not sure which way to swing on the god issue. My main reason for leaning towards deism is the whole “how did the universe begin” question. Being just recently out of Christianity, the idea of a deity starting it all is very familiar to me. I no longer believe there is any kind of deity that directs, affects, or intervenes in the affairs of the universe, but I COULD accept that one got things started before walking away and letting things go.

I was reading Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion recently in which he talks about the bad habit some people have of shoving god into any question or problem they don’t have an answer to. Just because the answer is currently unknown doesn’t mean we won’t one day find one. Even to “how did the universe begin?”

“There is another form of temptation, even more fraught with danger. This is the disease of curiosity. It is this which drives us to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which man should not wish to learn.”  -“quote” from St. Augustine’s “Confessions”*

This quote from Augustine really bothered me when I first read it in The God Delusion. It’s that kind of thinking that holds us back from understanding our world. Fortunately I can’t think of anyone of my religious friends, family or acquaintances who would agree with him, but it sounds to me like “the god of the gaps” taken to the extreme. I realize it is extreme and that your average religious person would disagree with his sentiments, but now I see how stunting it is to use “god” as a gap-filler instead of acknowledging there is currently no known answer and searching for one.

I am now an atheist. Not because I “know” there is no god (because I don’t), but because I do not see how a deity fits in my life aside from filling gaps.

*I wanted to read St. Augustine’s quote in its original context to see if its meaning changed, but I discovered it’s less of a quote and more of a summary of the chapter.  Having read the chapter here, I think the “quote” still sums up the general idea.

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20 thoughts on “Filling holes with god

  1. So are you expecting God to explain to you every minute detail of the world he created? What would that then benefit you? You’d surely have a lot of knowledge…..how nice for you! It would be useless knowledge that would still kill you in the end. I find it puzzling that atheists, such as Mr. Dawkins, rely on the same arguments for their disbelief that they make fun of Christians for. There are things that we just can’t explain because God has not revealed it to us, so it’s a guess at best. But aren’t the explanations that atheists come up with also a guess? Let’s be honest, evolution and other such theories that attempt to explain away the cause of everything absent a Creator have been proven over and over again to have very significant “gaps”. They’ve been disproven time and time again. Yet, the Bible has never been successfully disproven. Absolute and solid truth? Or weak disproven hunches? The choice is obvious. If we would but focus on living this life for the next, we would find no time to question Him.

    • No, I’m not expecting him to explain anything to me anymore. Just saying “God must have done it” honestly sounds like a cop-out when, instead, you can say “I don’t have the answer yet. So let’s look into this and see what we can discover.” Run some tests. Do the whole scientific method thing. Find answers without god. It’s been done VERY successfully before. Answers have been found without any kind of divine revelation.

      As to the evolution vs. creation issue…I was raised indoctrinated in creation. As in, literal six 24-hour days just like it said in Genesis. Not passively indoctrinated, either. It’s only in the last year that I have learned about how evolution is believed to work. Not how creationists CLAIM that evolution is believed to work, but how evolutionist scientists believe it works. Very different things. And it is making a lot more sense to me now. Evolution is no kind of “absolute truth”, it is a theory that is currently held that best explains the available evidence at this time. Because it is always getting tweaked when new evidence arises, creationists tend to poke fun and say it’s all just an idea…but I think the strength of evolution is just that. That it looks at what evidence we currently have and tries to explain it. Creationism starts with the “answer” (God did it and here’s how) and tries to fit everything into that. I REALIZE that that makes perfect sense to Christians who believe that the Bible is the holy and inerrant word of god and contains “absolute and solid truth”, but to those of us who can no longer see it that way, it just doesn’t make sense. In fact, it sounds rather foolish.

      If it makes you happier to focus living this life for the next and not questioning him, by all means, do it. I’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole to be able to come back to Christianity/God and remain honest. I am still asking questions and searching for answers, and NOT reading exclusively atheistic books…I’m in the middle of “The Case for the Real Jesus” by Lee Strobel.

      • All I can say is that mankind will never be able to give you any solid answers. Their theories will forever keep changing, so prepare for disappointment. I feel much more comfort knowing the truth and living according to that truth that is unchangeable.

      • When it comes to science and those kinds of theories, I guess I now view it more like a mystery novel. Who in their right mind would be disappointed when a new clue is discovered? Sure it may make you change your mind about what all the evidence appears to be saying, but that’s ok. And that’s how it works for me right now. I’m glad you find your comfort in what you believe and the unchangeableness of it. I’m not trying to change your mind. I believe that so long as it’s not hurting anyone or imposing on anyone, people can believe what they want to believe.

      • Really? Just nothing. Atheism doesn’t preclude things like say reincarnation or ghosts or the like

      • I hadn’t really thought about that but…maybe not. Or maybe. What really IS the soul? I think I know where you’re going with this and the answer would be: If I have a soul, I’ll probably end up in whatever hell is the “correct” one. But since I no longer believe there is a god, I’ve worked past the fear of hell.

      • I am no longer afraid of burning for all eternity in your hell than you are of burning in anyone else’s hell. The fear of hell was a hard one to deal with for a while, but someone shared the following quote with me and it helped a lot:

        “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
        ― Marcus Aurelius

      • Nice thought, but there is no mention of hell in that quote. It assumes there are no consequences for denying God. Certainly makes you feel good about doing whatever you want, which is the intention, but it is utter foolishness. The Bible is clear: God has offered us salvation according to His good counsel, even though we are so undeserving of such a gift. It is not forced on us. We have the choice to return His love, which He makes clear that it is His desire that ALL would be saved. If we choose to deny Him, then He will deny us in return, and we will receive our just reward.

      • You’re right. The quote I shared does not mention hell. Instead, it suggests (as many of us believe) that any god who cares more about whether a person believed in them or not than how a person lived is not a just god and is not worth our attention. I get the whole “free gift of salvation” and “you have to accept it cuz he won’t force it on you” and “he wants us to choose to love him” stuff. Remember, I believed all that completely for twenty-odd years. But now I have begun to see just how evil any being is who offers such a gift and tortures any and all who reject it. If god is real and is the author of morality like a lot of people like to say he is, he should be judged by that morality. None of this “do as I say, not as I do” crap just because he’s in control.

      • first i want to apologize. upon rereading my comment it comes off as an attack and i did not intend it as such. secondly, which bible is the absolute truth? and once we pick one, what does that say about the other versions of the bible?

      • I didn’t take your comment as an attack. From what I understand, the ASV is about as close to the original as it gets. I prefer the NKJV myself. The differences between the translations are often quite minute and would not alter the overall message much. It’s not until you start adding or taking away verses or start switching them around to fit an agenda that you run into a real problem. You need to familiarize yourself with the publisher and compare with other translations. In other words, diligent study.

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