To answer it all

I want to know all the answers. It’s maddening really, the quest for knowing trumps the quest into being time and time again.

I seem to have a desire to understand so much to make sure I am either believing things that are correct or seeing where I am wrong and move onto a ground that seems more correct over the place I currently reside.

Say I believe in God (which right now I do not), before even finding a firm footing in theism I would want to believe the New Testament is valid and correct and then jump straight back into Christianity.

I don’t even believe in God, but my desire seems to be to put the cart before the horse and believe in it all once again.

This desire to believe in God feels like a forest fire raging within me, from the spark the brought the challenge in being able to ground things like rationality and morality outside of God.

I think I need to be very clear here. I want to believe in God because these arguments have given me an ’opt-out’ from my agnostic atheism, into the known comfort of Christianity, but this desire seems to come from a deeper desire to relinquish my depression born from what I actually do currently believe.

Here’s the rub: My agnostic atheism isn’t a belief, it’s the place I find myself in as I am searching and questioning everything, not just religion, but also purpose, reason, morality, pleasure and consciousness. This agnostic atheism although not a belief results in naturalism, or materialism, which once again answer so much less than a religious framework can.

The arguments of C. S. Lewis and other theists are fascinating, but the reality has dawned on me over the last few days that they only answer certain questions and in certain ways and don’t seem to get to the heart of my confusion and doubt on the topic of God.

Philosophical arguments are incredible. But philosophy is only a tool and like logic, reason, and metaphor, it can break down and push one into a corner that one simply doesn’t agree with, in their heart of hearts.

So here is what I currently think on a few of the big topics I have been mulling over in recent months on the blog:

Rationality seems based on our evolutionary make-up, I am realising more and more how irrational I really am upon reflection, even in my thinking and desire for confirmation of beliefs depending on how I am feeling. Confusion, circular reasoning, and distraction stop reason in its tracks without me even realising so often.

Morality also seems to be very subjective. I can’t see how it could be objective, as I have explained before, and until those questions are answered in a coherent manner, I can’t help but feel that my mind won’t be shifted from this place easily.

The following video-based conversations between Cosmic Skeptic & Rationality Rules helped me understand these things more as well. Watch them in this order:

Freewill seems to be an illusion. This doesn’t mean that the whole world breaks down, but really it means that we have an illusion that we think we make conscious decisions in each moment.

The above is what I currently think, but I don’t know if I am right.

People push back on these thoughts to varying degrees. Which is fine. People don’t like to be told that the love they feel for their spouse isn’t ‘their’ love at all, they have no control over the love they feel. I don’t think this should diminish the love they feel, rather I think it should fill them with awe, which once again they have no control over.

People also express horror at the thought that rapists, paedophiles and murders aren’t actually ‘guilty’ of the crimes they have committed, as they had no control over all the factors that led them into the place, they needed to be in to perform the crime.

I would simply say that all of these individuals acted on untrue assumptions of happiness and wellbeing. Much like the guards at Auschwitz, these people were acting on incorrect information, which if corrected then they couldn’t help but not rape, molest, murder individuals or guard Auschwitz.

The reality seems to be that if you manage to have a conversation between the victim and the perpetrator, at some level (however far down) they would both agree on wellbeing, and from this place, you can rebuild one’s belief about right and wrong based on the evolution desire for wellbeing that seems to be within us. This to me seems to be why we think morality is objective when in reality it is subjective, and this explains why people are able to go so far off the rails.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts based on videos (some above), books, podcasts and blog posts. I have a brain that desires to learn. But I also realise now that my brain wants to know the answers to all these questions and move on. I don’t think I will ever be able to do this. I don’t think we will ever know the ‘complete’ answer to things, because there are questions that we, in all likelihood, won’t be able to answer. Though this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

From the world I interact with around me, from the conscious experiences I have and the reality that these experiences derive, God doesn’t seem to be in the picture. But this doesn’t mean I can’t ponder the answers I think He could give, and see what my beliefs allow me to hold as I explore and investigate the incredible world that I seem to be consciously aware of.

My mental health has been fairly bad recently, and this has given me a glimpse into the surprising reality that because I don’t fit into my parents or friends perceptions, I am lesser than I could be, at least this is what it seems like to me. As I go out and read, search and ponder I have become more and more sceptical of so much that others from a Christian worldview believe.

My thoughts grant me the ability to work things through with what seems such clarity one moment, just to become confusion, mist and doubt in the next. My mind seems so fragile, so human, so natural that I can’t see how I must depend upon it to be convinced of specific doctrines to be able to live in a relationship with a God.

Meditation and the exploration of consciousness is beginning to allow me to ‘be’ once again. Like I could when I was younger like I see in my children as they explore, fight, laugh and love each day. The freedom to be without judgement, condemnation, and hell.

To answer it all, I don’t think I know very much, and the pursuit of knowledge is a good pursuit to push on with, but if it requires one to give up the ability to be and sit with the world one experiences in each moment, well then, the pursuit of knowledge has diminished the joy that right now could also bring.

It’s interesting really, the desire to ‘know’ is pointless within an agnostic atheist framework, yet it drives me on from my very core.

_End of Blog Blurb_

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.

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Podcast: If you like what you read then you could always check out the podcast ‘When Belief Dies’, it is available on all major podcasting platforms or you can listen/watch via YouTube. I upload and publish via Anchor FM each Wednesday at 7 am. For early access, support me on Patreon.

Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better and ask you, reader, to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.

Time Frame: This blog is roughly twelve to twenty-four months behind where I currently am in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting.

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I’ll see you back here at the same time next week 🙂

-Sam

https://anchor.fm/s/21f87494/podcast/rss

4 thoughts on “To answer it all

  1. Hi. Have you come across a book by Jonathan Haidt – “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion”. He’s an experimental psychologist, an American Jewish atheist, and a Democrat who is frustrated by the inability of other Democrats to understand why Republicans think as they do, but instead can only see them as people who hate blacks, gays, poor people etc etc. It’s all about how people make moral choices and why they come to different conclusions and is a fascinating read.

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    1. Yep, both The Righteous Mind & The Happiness Hypothesis are on my Kindle and I plan to get to them in the next few years 🙂

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  2. Hi Sam,

    It looks like you’re engaged in a search for “the truth” through observation and reason, and your deepest desire is to arrive at that destination. It’s an impossible quest, my friend. We are far too limited in our capabilities to attain that. That objective produces either endless frustration and discontent, or settling for the illusion of having attained it. It’s one of those quests where the satisfaction has to come from the journey, not from arriving at the destination. Those who live by faith operate from the perspective that they already have the answer. Instead of trying to understand life to find reality, they start with reality and use that to understand life. The believers no longer let the world tell them about God, they let God tell them about the world.

    Regards,
    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this Michael, really well said and such honest reflections.

    I’ve definitely come on a long way from when I wrote these posts (about 18 months ago now), and find it interesting reading them back in prep to put them live.

    I think you are spot on when you say, ‘The believers no longer let the world tell them about God, they let God tell them about the world.’. Thanks for the reminder!

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