This post may test your views on religious freedom. I’m not saying that ANYONE should agree with my views. I’m only posting this because, while not exactly the way I would say things, it is very close and I think performing a valuable service.
In case anyone thinks that I am a Godless savage. The Godless part is wrong. The savage part, well I am what I am. I think Popeye said that.
I completely agree with many of the quotes that they have chosen on their site. Not limited to these:
Cherish Your Doubts – Robert T. Weston
Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the handmaiden of truth.
Doubt is the key to the door of knowledge; it is the servant of discovery.
A belief which may not be questioned binds us to error,
for there is incompleteness and imperfection in every belief.
Doubt is the touchstone of truth; it is an acid which eats away the false.
Let no man fear for the truth, that doubt may consume it;
for doubt is a testing of belief.
The truth stands boldly and unafraid; it is not shaken by the testing;
For truth, if it be truth, arises from each testing stronger, more secure.
He that would silence doubt is filled with fear;
the house of his spirit is built on shifting sands.
But he that fears no doubt, and knows its use, is founded on a rock.
He shall walk in the light of growing knowledge;
the work of his hands shall endure.
Therefore let us not fear doubt, but let us rejoice in its help:
It is to the wise as a staff to the blind; doubt is the handmaiden of truth.
Responsive Reading 413 from Hymns for the Celebration of Live – Beacon Press
Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
“If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.”
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
And actually I think Carl Sagan had several important things wrong. But he was clearly doing the best he knew how, and he definitely help spread an appreciation of science.
And I commonly say, when people ask if I believe in God (funny how they always mean THEIR God). I say that, "Believe seems to me to imply a lack of belief and a reliance upon faith. Would you not see anything odd about someone saying that, they "believe" in gravity, or water, or electricity? I would rather say that I’m certain of the existence of gravity, or water, or electricity, or God, but probably not YOUR concept of what that means. My God likes Love and dislikes killing and hate, just as an example.
But, I also believe in religious freedom. And I certainly hope that you do to. Let me have my ideas and I will be happy to let you have yours. If one of us is wrong in some important way, then God will explain it to us later."
And, if you explore the following website (spoiler alert) you’ll discover a long letter written by a very intelligent and thoughtful man in 1890. And he is far harder on all organized religions than I would be. Even though I do think that they have been used by evil people, as one of the main excuses for people killing each other for many thousands of years.
I support religious freedom. But, I have a short tolerance towards killing each other. Enough of that. Here’s the website. Think of it is an ethnic experience. Just like if you went to some strange and unusual land, where they do even the most common thing, in a strange and unusual manner. Don’t be threatened by it. Don’t worry about my soul.