Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!

Upon reading a piece by Carol Hoenig in the Huffington Report, I found myself considering the task of venturing into the belly of the beast once more.

As the Bard said in Henry V
"Once more unto the Breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood."

I tread lightly into that debate of utter futility, yes, the fight between Atheists and Believers. Might as well argue windmills with Don Quiote. However, today I cast my lot with the religious versus those who choose to not believe in God. Heaven help us all. - well, not all I guess.

The article was quite nice. Not as complete as I would have written but a damn sight better. It was in the comments that I found my voice. Ms. Hoenig's prose was good and it made some valid points, but the non-believers in her audience took her to task for claiming that the Atheists had faith.

Her statement was "Like it or not, fundamentalists must acknowledge the basic truth that we are all walking in faith, even if some do not adhere to any religious doctrine. The atheists' faith is that there is no Supreme Being awaiting them on the other side."

There were sounds of great catterwallering from the non-believers. How dare she say that Atheists had faith? They are of the No Faith. They can see beyond the cloud of mystery and through the haze that is religion to see us all for the fools we are. The comments were indignant that such a statement could be made. Such is the condescension of the Atheist.

I find her premise correct. Atheists do have faith. They do believe in something. They have faith in their precious logic, faith in their friends and family, faith in their convictions, and according to one individual, faith in the scientific method. Which I find interesting considering the scientific method is only as accurate as the science that defines it.

Personally, I sense a bit of overplay here. How better to conceal a secret desire that the Believers maybe correct than to bristle at the very mention of faith or belief?

Being an Atheist is not a bad thing. I cannot find anything wrong with rejecting the current hit parade of religions and beliefs that seem to be tossed about like hand grenades lately. I won't debate the validity of my faith with them, they have as much right to their 'beliefs' as I have. Each of us accept the 'truths' that conform to our standards, our inner ethos. Our history, our education and our considerations build upon these 'truths' until we find ways to cement them to our being. This 'cement' is our proof, our validation. It works whether you are finding God in church or finding a new axiom in logic. It all comes out the same.

The real crime is claiming to have the ultimate 'truth', that your way is the only way and the rest of humanity be damned if they do not follow this path. That isn't religion as I see it, that's politics. Religious faith isn't the great boogieman the Atheists make it out to be. Faith did not start the wars or shed the blood of innocents. It was the politics of religion that drew the sword; fanaticism fed by demogogues more interested in power than salvation.

The man called Jesus Christ didn't start the Inquisition, but the men who came after him did - and in his name. People weren't put to the torch because they were witches, they were burned because they were in the way. The passage of time hasn't dulled or diluted this evil, for it holds true today. The same forces that gave birth to the Inquistion, the Holocaust, and every other great dogmatic cleansing are thriving today in places like Jerusalem, Baghdad, Tehran, and Lynchburg, Va. Atheists see this and pigeon-hole all people of faith because of it.

There are times when I can see their point. But if we are ever going to do something about it we first must face it without fear. Those forces have great numbers behind them; frightened, cowed and easily lead. To counter this we must douse the flames of fear and allow some of these sheep to come around. Throwing rocks at each other while this is being attempted isn't helping the situation much.

Faith is something hard-wired into us. We cannot deny it, only modify it so that no one will know how important it really is. Faith propels us into the unknown, gives us the ability to see outside of our boundaries. We may not find the reality that we thought was there but at least we had the courage to push on the door.

That's all for me tonight. Bright Blessings or Happy Logic or something like that...

So Mote it Be
David A.

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