Monday, August 30, 2010

Giving in to disbelief

Freedom can be a double-edged sword.  Moving out of your parents house means more privacy, perhaps more partying, but less money, and an introduction to adult problems (bill collectors, for example).  Opening your own business means never answering to a boss again, but now you have to keep records religiously, worry about taxes, and worry about customers.  Making an independent film means the ability to film pretty much what you want without a studio breathing down your neck, but your resources are limited, and you may need to hire actors that will work for lunch and an Xbox game.

I think skepticism is the same way.  Living without certain beliefs can be very freeing.  But is it worth it?

I went to church as a child, and I still occasionally go with my dad, just to spend time with him.  Some skeptics retain religion, just like some vegetarians eat fish, but I'm not one of them.  My earliest doubts regarded the story of Noah's Ark, and they continued to stack up on that foundation until I was walking around with a constant tension in my mind.  To believe something, without believing it fully, is a burden, and it's a burden I eventually had to get rid of. .  

So, what is it like?  To give in to skepticism?  To look around, and know that nobody is watching you, nobody is judging you, or recording your actions*?  To understand that your life isn't pre-determined, and that, if your'e not hurting anyone or breaking the law, you can do what you want, can be very empowering indeed.  To give up the idea that your opinions have to match those of an authority figure, whether they be a preacher, a rabbi, or God itself, is a breath of fresh air.

But it's not all peaches and cream.  That spot in your mind, that spot where you held God, or the conscious universe, that is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, isn't ever going to be properly filled, except for by the laws of physics, which are neither forgiving nor loving.  To get rid of that last vestige of parental authority can be a lot like running away from home.  Feeling cut off from something protective, and comfortable.

But, to those that do sit in church, carrying a stack of doubts on their back, and who decide that maybe they don't believe like they once did, you should realize that a life without religion is not a meaningless life.  You still have love, but it's from the people around you.  You still have responsibility, but it's to the people around you.  You can be a good person without feeling like you're being watched.

So maybe it is time to move out of Dad's house, and see for yourself just how well you can do on your own.  If you're ready to trust your own moral compass, I think you'll find that it's worth it.

Thanks for reading.

*Unless you're on the internet.  Then you're SOL.

No comments:

Post a Comment