“If there’s nothing out there, then what was that noise?”
One of my atheist friends waxed to me one day, “I guess I just find it funny that you’re so quick to explain all of this mundane stuff as a ‘miracle of God’ when it’s so clearly the work of science.”
I looked around and saw nothing mundane. I guess I stopped being an atheist because personally I found it kind of boring. Yes, this is going to be one of those writings. The one where I actually talk about stuff. That’s actually stuff to talk about. Oh groan. Oh well.
My claim of atheism is a little broad. Truth be told, I just stopped thinking about God for a bit. As I ignored the guy who apparently to Abraham to kill his own son and got Moses to part the sea, no lightning bolts came down and smote me while the words “jezebel… harlot… non believer…” filled the air. No snarky face in the clouds like a Monty Python movie, no Lucifer raised and laughing in victory, no feeling like a character in my own, ahem, series of unfortunate events. For a year or two, this seemed like all the proof I needed that there was indeed no God.
Now I see I got it all wrong; I cannot think of a better example of God. Mercy is not casually found in nature. This certainly is not proof for everyone, or even anyone, but moments that are special cannot always be poured into some fevered blog rant. I type this hesitantly; generally when I go this far people get eager to dismiss me as a fevered follower and logic hater. This is why I would like to set up a general disclaimer about my life.
-I don’t knock on your door and ask you if you know random deities. I swear. I do however send these people to your door to get them off my back. Look, I’m sorry, but honestly, Tyra reruns are on, I do not have ten minutes to talk to these people about some guy I have already heard of. (Jesus is pretty famous actually… most people know who he is. Maybe you guys want to try a new approach.)
-I like science. Like, I have a crush on science. This is not to say I’m any good at it. Insert “because you’re a woman” joke here. Laugh. You inserted it, not me. Anyways, moving on, science class allows me to randomly slice up brains and stare at the insides while yelling “Cool!” and “Gross!” Apparently there are laws against doing that in Church though. That is one of many victories for science.
-Evolution and climate change yes yes yes yes... really people? You do not believe we affect our planet because it snows in the winter?
- I am smart enough to get that not all atheists are the same and have the same views... other than the one maybe about the whole not believing in a higher power. Atheists are pretty cool with agreeing to that, from my experience. I’m sure there is one God loving self professed atheist out there though, attempting to launch "The New Atheism" through homemade magazines, offended by what I am typing, and to you I say do not worry. You may hate me now but your unique disregard for basic logic will surely get an indie documentary film crew at your house in no time. You might even win an award! People love to give awards to films about individuals who “are unique.” Just keep passing it off as “unique” and not “idiot who does not own a dictionary” or “self important person with a sense of entitlement from the universe.” Society does not like to give those kinds of people awards, unless you are well off, stare at people in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, and have facial hair.
Oh wait now…
Anyways, I struggled for a while to come up with some nice logical reason to explain my new re-belief. Or perhaps I never even didn’t believe. I was as appalled with my commitment to Christianity as my high school English teacher would be at the last two sentences, but I didn’t change either. It was very confusing for me at first, having this faith in what I admitted to be a powerful guy who watches me all the time. Because don’t mistake my belief in God for puritan values; according to this mentality God watches me yell at inanimate objects from drinking too much beer (to be fair, this hasn’t happened in like, a week), eat in bed while watching gratuitous movies passed off as art (the French can find any reason to show two people getting it on), and having premarital sex with my boyfriend (including what might be the biggest sin of all for a woman: enjoying it.) Yes, I am a STRONG, FIERCE, LIBERATED individual RAHRAHRAH GO GO FEMINISM. You don’t like it? Eat my BIRTH CONTROL because it’s covered by my INSURANCE.
So how could I do something as ‘old fashioned’ as pray? If I was in control of myself, why was I ‘naive’ enough to throw myself into the universe’s hands? One day it hit me. Just as I bitch about the Canadian government but appreciate the Canadian government for letting me legally bitch about them, the fact that I did not get smote for all my ‘deviance’ is to me proof of God, not against. By coming to terms with God as a powerful but fairly democratic guy, I started to notice the noise.
Noise is a term stolen from The Boyfriend when he has a headache. Noise is the other people talking in a restaurant that he can’t help but overhear, the clatter of spoons being picked up and forks being put down, and the person murmuring into a cell phone that keeps him from always focusing in on the conversation we’re having. Noise is an indistinguishable jumble we frequently ignore, but sometimes should not. For some people, noise is always there.
My noise is different. My noise is visual, and my noise has multiple scents. My noise can be when I’m lying in bed next to the Boyfriend and I get the weirdest, happiest feeling in my stomach or when I’m standing in the middle of a rain storm. I saw noise in the plumes of ash that erupted from the volcano that shut down the airlines and said “You guys honestly think you’re in control of this planet?” to everyone.
I understand that my God is not your god. All of the excitement and happiness I get from praying is probably seen as some ridiculous attempt to try to sound pure and persuade you, but it is not. My noise is dismissed as trite on paper, but to me, my noise is what is powerful and great about life. Great in the truest sense of the word, not in the 1980s high fived accompanied slang it’s become. My noise may have led me to God, but it is not necessarily religious. Once again, I do not try to convert, but I do hope that everyone, no matter how committed to the marvels of research, logic, and academia, can stop and see that just because there is an explanation does not mean it is mundane. Belief should not be taboo; this does not make society more fair. I am all for secular laws, but does this have to mean we have unquestioning souls? It is worth remembering that there is also something mysterious and ‘noisy’ behind science as well. People frequently look over it because it is ‘the way things are.’ I think that’s a shame.
I guess I resent the fact that so many people feel religion and science are mutually exclusive, and tend to side with what feels more modern. Science may have created the wonders of laptops, electricity, and stem cell research, all of which I embrace, but I support my moral is that it was science, not God, who created noise canceling headphones.
Do you frequently think about where we come from? Do you feel comfortable talking about beliefs with friends, regardless of what they are? Did your parents ever try to force beliefs on you? If so, how well do you think they have fared? Have you ever tried to pinpoint why you believe what you believe?
More? Pretty biased writing, but interesting study idea / Interesting discussion in the comments, including this gem: " they get hit with questions from every direction: atheist professors, student clubs that have the muslim society [...?!...], the buddhists, the Ayn Rand student group, and hundred others." Hahaha. Oh dear. This is why.../ 4%?! / Why is the Vatican going after Nuns? / John Keats/ This
pictures of James Cameron and volcano are from imdb and Reutgers