Thursday, May 5, 2011

How I see the universe as an atheist

This universe is truly, randomly amazing. Pick any mundane object in your home, literally anything. I'll use a pencil simply because there is one sitting on my desk at this moment. If you don't have one in front of you, go get one. Don't worry I'll wait. No, seriously go get the damned pencil. There is a point to this I promise. Ok, now I'm starting to get a little impatient........finally.

So, now you've got your pencil (if you don't I can't help you). Look at it; and I mean really look at it. This simple piece of wood with graphite in the center represents so much more than your amazing ability to write or draw with it. It represents man's rise from bipedal primates to our current form. It all started with our ancestors desire to communicate in the written word. First we had to develop verbal language. Think about this, really, really think about this. Way back when we still lived in caves, someone drew a picture on a wall. Century passed and Roman scribes used a thin metal rod to make marks on papyrus (think of the wonder that allowed humans to develop into Romans!!). From there someone had to use their immense brain to realize that graphite made darker marks. Then they had to realize the graphite was brittle and needed something to stabilize it. Oh I don't know, how about wood? Pure genius. Then someone discovered other materials that you could put in wood and it would leave colors on paper!!

I mean we developed language! Paper! Civilizations! Art! How utterly and mind blowingly AMAZING is that!!!! Hey, it's my blog, I can make up whatever words I want to. Seriously, I can't use enough exclamation points. Are you astounded yet? Well, there's more.

Human curiosity has gotten us to a point where we can actually see the molecular structure of wood, graphite, paper, you. And you know what? Molecules are beautiful.

See. Do you see that?! That's a carbon molecule. The pencil has carbon molecules. You have carbon molecules. You are beautiful! Amazing!! Think of the way atoms and molecules come together to create you. That is where the true beauty lies.

Now, go pick another random object. Think of it in the same way we just did the pencil. This is how I view the universe as an atheist. I don't need a god to make my life amazing or wonderful. I don't need a god to feel connected to something bigger than myself. I'm part of a family, part of a community, part of a country, part of a continent, part of a planet, part of a solar system, part of a galaxy, part of a universe. As Carl Sagan once said "We are all made of star stuff". What could possibly be more awe inspiring than knowing that you are made from the same thing as a ball of burning gasses billions of light years away that possibly gives light and life to another planet? Well, everything! There is nothing that isn't mind boggling in it's seer awesomeness if you take the time to really look at it. My universe is filled with wonder.

None of this would be possible if humans had not followed the evolutionary path that we chanced upon. It wasn't written about in some holy text because when they where written, humans hadn't learned about molecules. They still believed diseases where caused by demons and angry gods. It is only through science that we've come to a point where we can communicate not only through words face to face or words on paper, but we can write words on paper or in cyberspace. Science and human curiosity brought us here. Hell, while the inventors may not have know it at the time, they used the scientific method to bring us the wheel and fire. Think of where we'd be without those two under valued discoveries.

So to anyone who looks on me with pity because I lack belief in a deity, don't. Save your sympathy for humans who really need it. Like the tsunami survivors, people facing genocide, starvation, discrimination and other real tragedies. Do it because they are human and not because they believed in the your deity or because they didn't believe in your deity. Not to over use Mr. Sagan, but he also said "For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love." So after all that, I'll leave you with this:

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