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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“And remember, this is for posterity so be honest.”

About a month ago I joined ExChristian.Net and have enjoyed reading people’s stories.  Some of them have been out of Christianity for years and years, and some have only recently left in the last few weeks or months.  Most seem to leave because of the same unsatisfying answers given to their questions regarding discrepancies in the Bible, the suspect goodness and love of God, the arrogance of religion

I don’t HATE Christianity, although I do get pretty heated sometimes when talking about church and the control that goes on there.  Perhaps I should be angry or something.  But I’m not.  At least, I don’t think I am.

Most of the ExChristian members seem to be atheists, with a smattering of agnostics and various kinds of theists.  This trend towards atheism interests me.    Why atheism instead of just switching to some other religion?  Sometimes it feels like “the thing to do”, and sometimes atheism seems like the smart/logical conclusion.  A few weeks ago I caught myself trying to talk myself into being an atheist for both those reasons.  It’s kind of odd that “the thing to do” would be one of my reasons considering how many times I’ve done or not done something just because nobody else was doing it or everyone was doing it.  Just to be different.

When I realized I was trying to talk myself into it, I discovered that is not who I am.  At least, not yet.  If I were, I wouldn’t have to persuade myself.  Maybe this is just  my periodic desire for a label.

Becoming an atheist or a theist or an agnostic or whatever is not my goal.  I just want to be honest with myself.  Live honestly.

I am not an atheist.