Thursday, February 22

Poll Dancers

I have to agree with Mark Evanier's response to this poll. It is interesting but useless in that it is devoid of personality. While I believe that an Atheist has very little chance of ever getting elected president, I would like to think that it could happen if the right one came along and was qualified and personable enough to win the vote. Any of these results could change dramatically given an actual name and face to the generic lable.

One can hope.

1 comment:

MJ Norton said...

I haven't looked at Mark E.'s piece on it, so apologies if I retread the same earth.

Yeah, much of it is a matter of personality and timing. There'll always be a group that'll treat an atheist's candidacy as an invitation from God to smite the nation, but many of those people would feel the same way or worst about a Jew of Muslim.

Much of the borderline mainstream's problem with atheists seems to arise from their sense that without God and His Big Book that there's nothing for us to derive a code of morals from. Educating people that empathy, compassion and a sense of the reciprocity (what goes around comes around) can take care of the matter handily. Provided one can communicate that message and at no time gives the impression that he has The Right Answer that anyone who believes in God is a fool, I believe this is something that can be overcome.

Part of the problem also comes from many having too narrow a definition of Atheism, believing that - as the most extreme and vocal core does - that it means an absolute denial of the existence of God. That has never been my stance. I simply do not, upon examining what's known and the nature of the unknown, see that God is a necessary component. For me, God is more of a placeholder in the realm of what's known -- very much as Philosophy was and is.

Once upon a time all human knowledge was under the heading of Philosophy, only emerging from those mists as we were able to measure, to quantify and predict. That is to say, as items and aspects emerged as the sciences.

Philosophy, to any understanding I have ever had, will never completely vanish. So it is that the concept of God is unlikely to ever, truly vanish in the light of knowledge. He will always be a possibility, and I understand how sustaining that belief can be for the human spirit. At times I'm envious of the faithful.

However, it doesn't quite mesh for me, and I gave up politely feigning believe many years ago. Replacing "I don't know" with "God" strikes me as a cheat. "I don't know" is a placeholder, and hopefully a spur to try one's light against the darkness. "God" is too often an answer, and so too often the end of any need to search for something more. Certainly not always -- the best, brightest and most secure among the believers have the healthy view that striving to understand Creation is the greatest praise human beings can offer God, and perhaps the very challenge God set before the sentient in his creation. (Unfortunately, folksy crap such as the story of Adam & Eve lead people away from this enlightening path.)

I have problems with accepting a Creator God in the context of the universe as it exists as it casts God as scientist and/or parent, neither of which is an acceptable role for a being that is the alpha, omega and substance of reality and eternity. A scientist seeks to understand, to predict and confirm. Surely this is not the way of an Omniscient. A parent strives to nurture and guide his children, including allowing them the painful path of finding their way in an often unforgiving universe. Surely, though, this becomes something more like a mad cruelty when we're discussing not a parent, who has had to make his own accommodations with an unsympathetic universe, but the very being responsible for Everything.

However, I heartily endorse the embrace of that path by those who do so with truly open hearts and minds.

There's room enough for everyone so long as we let each other find their own way, or at least don't insist they follow the path we've chosen.