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Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I am not an atheist. Quantum physics has given me a notion of God so large and so small that it works for me, as long as I don’t try to give that entity any particular attributes or humanize it for my own convenience.

I worship this God through my interest in the world around me. The structure of life, the mechanics of waves and particles and all the weird things electrons can do that they shouldn’t be able to do, all these things and more make up my bible. I believe that God’s nature can be understood only through understanding the nature of his universe.

I make no assumption that God created man, through evolution or otherwise, but we have come to pass in his universe and we thrive in the passing of his time, whatever time itself may be made of. We find ourselves surrounded by puzzles and toys and interesting things to see and do and discover, and in seeing and doing and discovering these things we pay homage to their creator.

So why, oh why, do the people who most claim to love god least seem to worship the universe he created? Why do they bury their heads in the sand and refuse to use the reason with which they were endowed? Why?

Why Texas? Why?

I cannot understand. Is the problem that evolution makes you feel humbler than you’d like? Aren’t you supposed to be humble? Did your god not specifically instruct you to view pride as a sin?

Is it so impossible that we, who must be to God as a pebble is to a mountain, might share a common ancestor with an ape? The new testament has freed you from the bonds of your infancy. Your bond with God is now a spiritual one, instead of a physical one, and your punishments do not come in the form of lost sheep and slain children. You wear what you like and come home whenever you so choose, because your father has said “you are an adult now, you can live as you like, and I will approve and disapprove from a greater distance.” Why is it so difficult for you to conceptualize that God might also have meant that you were free to give up childhood stories like the Stork and Santa?

When we are young, our parents lie to us because we cannot understand the truth, are unprepared for the truth, or the truth would hurt us. They tell us that the stork brings babies so they can avoid teaching us about sex until we are old enough to learn about it safely. They tell us that Santa brings toys so that we’ll go to bed early on Christmas Eve and let them lie down together on the sofa and hold each other like they did before we were born. They tell us not to touch the wall socket “because I said so” and not to climb that tree “because you’ll hurt yourself.”

Why should your experience with God the father be different? You are free to explore the universe in which you have been born. You are big enough now, and smart enough now, to know the risks behind the things you do. Wall sockets will hurt you because electricity will travel from them through your body and cause your brain to be unable to communicate with your muscles. With surprising slowness, you might die. Babies happen when a boy and a girl have sex, and in addition to this risk there are associated other risks of which you should be made aware. Both kinds of risks can be mitigated through the proper use of a condom. Leave some air at the tip to ensure it doesn’t break when you finish. Santa doesn’t bring toys, we do, and this year we’re very low on money so the toys are going to be simpler... it doesn’t mean you’ve been bad, it just means we’re on rough times at the moment.

The garden of Eden is your stork story. Evolution is your sex-education and the petri-dish antibiotics experiment (the one that shows you why it’s so important to finish all the medicine the doctor gives you) is your explanation of the proper uses of a condom.

It’s time to grow up.

And I’m not just talking to Texas when I say that.


Marcus Tullius Tiro said...

In the interests of completeness, where are the rest of the countries? What about South America? The rest of Asia? China and Russia seem to be conspicuously absent, in my humble opinion.

Of course, I agree with you completely. Well, perhaps not completely, in that I suppose I would consider myself more of an 'atheist' than you, Maxwell -- though the term certainly isn't the right one.

- Tiro

Maxwell Evans said...

eh, the graph is a visual aid. Completeness makes for a longer visual aid than I wanted. The cited university is U. Michigan though, so if I had to bet money I'd say they probably included all the data the survey generated, and selected countries more or less randomly.

Marcus Tullius Tiro said...

That would be a pretty surprising random sample, as it excludes all the strongly Catholic Latin American countries. I think it's probably more likely an attempt to compare 'comparable populations,' in that Western Europe and the US are generally much more similar to each other than they are to, say, Africa. Actually, it would be interesting to see Africa included.

Anyway, the point is that the information includes nations which, by and large, have strongly secular societies and populations.

- Tiro

Maxwell Evans said...

Fair enough.

However, you should also take into account the ease of surveying fair percentages of the population in various locations. Argentina might have been possible, but to sample Ecuador or Columbia (or China) with any degree of accuracy is damn near impossible. The urban population is easy enough to reach, but reaching the rural areas (where much of the population resides) for the purposes of a survey would be difficult enough that you'd basically have to spend your entire grant on one country and take a three month vacation.

In Ecuador, specifically, you would have been doing a lot of hitch-hiking, climbing, and linguistics work just to be able to get an answer from a local outside of a tourist trap.

I don't think the selection was malicious, I suppose is what I'm getting at. Practicalities were probably involved.

Stacy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maxwell Evans said...

Thank you Stacy, but I assure you we have no need of that particular product, and no need for spam. Our posting might have become erratic, but we're still moderating this site.