Tuesday, September 11, 2007

reposted from:

The Epistemology of an Atheist

September 11th, 2007 by Dane Andrade

Despair, like the smoky avoirdupois of this turbid grey and dismal morning, hangs apposite to the integrity of this specific day. This day, as if the news would let us forget, is the six year anniversary of religion announcing her flagrant and holy right to destroy life. It is also the six year anniversary of the moment faith was unmasked for me. To explain to someone what it was like for me, staring dolorously at the large screen TV in the tenebrous confines of the Notre Dame student center, would be doing the ineffable experience an injustice. The potency of the event would come to fruition later, but as the world seemed on fire, the sudden realization that the thousands of people who die annually in equal brutal fashion around the globe were no different then my own countrymen, thousands having died that day. I was 20 years old, and I was introduced to the world. Everything was simultaneously closer and farther away. My brain, ripe with its’ developmental apex, seemed unable to filter the abattoir of thoughts and feelings.

I was there, standing, among my peers, yet I was alone. I watched the President’s devotional prayer, to the supposed creator of all life, me a skeptic, agnostic, only recently liberated slowly and painfully from indoctrination, watching the prayers of my school and the leaders of the country. It was then, at some moment between invocation and realization, that I vomited. On my knees in a men’s bathroom in a school dedicated the Our Lady, mother of the personal god of the Christians, I lost god completely.

Watching them, these people, praying to the same bloody creator who was invoked in the very destruction of life… the word irony was insufficient. My humility was gone, and my correspondence to my weakness was gone. I was no longer a skeptic. There was hard proof, and real life experiences that pointed to the most obvious fact in all of human existence: There is no personal god; there is no watcher, safe keeper, protector, or creator.

Years later and the facts would conclude this without a doubt. None of the manifestations of the personal deities of cultures made any sense… none of the ancient arguments held any modern philosophical weight, nothing was left of this god except the faith of the majority. The same faith across the globe, in its’ diverse representations. It was after this that I started reading the philosophies. In Alvin Plantinga’s class, I was introduced to what would later become the strongest argument for the existence of god to apologists, and needless to say, I left the class armed with certainty of the failure of the god hypothesis. I started reading different literature, from C.S. Lewis and then to Russell, and in 2004, picked up End of Faith, by Sam Harris, which led to pre-ordering of his second work, Letter to a Christian Nation, and Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion.

This is the modern epistemology of an atheist. It started many, many years ago, with my Catholic family background, my first encounter with evangelicalism, southern Baptism, going to school in the deep south, becoming “born-again”, and finally being brought by a close friend to a Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames production during the revival of the world’s worst youth movement. I was forged in the most religious parts of this once secular country, and I was introduced to what my life would be, what I would become, six years ago today.

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