Breaking the first rule of party conversation.
Check out A Gathering of Fools, a very thoughtful blog about atheism, among other things. I will most likely go into my views on religion sometime in the future when it strikes me. For now, I guess you could call me an agnostic in that I don���t profess to have any special knowledge as to what the hell is going on. Because of this, I was about to launch into my assertion that Atheism = Just Another Religion, until I read the Strong/Weak Atheist definition that he provided. Very illuminating, but I still place myself in the agnostic camp.
I also commented on this post regarding another commentor (Jim) who believes in exclusive salvation. For those interested, here is my comment:
To Jim and others like him, I always say that if God is so petty and insecure as to pick and choose only those who agree with Him, then I want no part of Him anyway. I would love to believe in a tolerant and wise Supreme Being who understands how hard it is to be human and live a mindful life; who would entertain and maybe even be amused by all the things we cook up to try to explain our existence; and who ultimately would welcome all of us into a loving and eternal embrace when we die, reassuring each one of us that all of our various struggles and flailing thoughts were a valiant and unique attempt to make sense of our lives. THAT is the kind of Supreme Being I could get behind, because really, what else is there? What would be the point of being born for the sole purpose of having to jump through the right hoops to get the special prize? And as I said, if that IS the point, then I want no part of it.Christ, how boring. I promise not to do too much of this in the future.
I should point out that I also weirdly respect people who truly believe their way is the only way, because for me, that is the very definition of belief. People who are religious, or at least follow a particular religion, yet still accept other beliefs as perfectly valid, don't really believe in much of anything. As an agnostic, I fully support that! The only thing I ask of these people is to acknowledge that agnoticism in themselves. Admit that going to church just makes them feel better, if for no other reason that it gives them an hour to contemplate things. I'm perfectly fine with that, as I still go to church (I was raised Catholic) for the very same reason. I love the smells of a mass, the beautiful iconography, the aesthetics of the whole thing.
But that's just how I feel. Find comfort in whatever way you can. I just think it's sad to think of others as condemned for merely believing differently.
So Jim, I admire your conviction. Conviction gets things done, but in an ���end justifies the means��� way, which I believe to be ultimately destructive, based on all the evidence I have seen.