M took this picture on the subway in the morning. I think this pretty much speaks for itself.
I’m not sure if I’ve every really believed in a personal god. To me Yahweh was as real as Santa Claus (or rather Grandfather Frost) for as long as I can remember. As a kid I certainly prayed – mostly come exam time – but it was never personal, and even then I was a bit embarrassed to actually bargain with god. “Please let me not fail the class, and I’ll do…” what exactly? What did I have that god wanted? My compliance I suppose, but back then I didn’t think in those terms. Back then God, if he existed, was a benevolent figure who was supposed to know better than to damn people for not believing.
Over time what little belief I had turned into a sort of general Pantheism with a little mysticism thrown in. After all it was silly to believe that someone out there was actually listening (if they were, they weren’t hearing much), but on the other hand I’d heard about the yogis and the martial artists of the Orient who were able to tap into some sort of energies to do amazing things. So probably there was something out there, and that sounded nice. It would suck if there wasn’t anything. Where’s the romance in that?
By around mid high-school I heard the term “agnosticism” from a friend. Before this there hadn’t been an option. Now I realized that there was a way to reconcile the fact that I knew religion to be bullshit with my unwillingness to call myself an atheist. Plus it sounded cool. No contest, really.
That lasted until my early twenties when I became really interested in the evolution/creationism debate in the United States. In Russia I was taught that evolution was a fact, and it came as a shock to me to find out that lying Christians were trying to subvert public education to teach their bullshit doctrine. That kind of thing forces you to really reexamine your beliefs. I did a lot more reading, and realized that the line between agnosticism and some forms of atheism is quite thin, and that once you’re forced to take a stand, you’re definitely on firmer ground with qualified type-6 atheism.
So this is where I am now. There’s not much chance of me being “saved”, and I am glad to proselytize for my own point of view (though that’s more due to the fact that I love a good argument). As for the picture that I started this post with – the argument from popularity is an easy way to convince people. However if one does take that path, then it seems to me that the following image makes a stronger point:
-Almost certainly not perpetual