Thursday, February 3, 2011

The challenge of those who don't believe in God. (invited post)

What I believe in

I believe in doubt and I don’t believe in God. I believe doubt is the basis of knowledge, and thus the basis of humankind. Whatever is not doubted may eventually be misused. This isn’t a declaration of principles. The first time I met a believer, I doubted whether to use the scientific method –I still doubt it. I’m a bit of a spiritual person and I often go with the flow. I’m also a scientist. Relaxing my thought patterns and pursuing different motivations become essential in my personal life. Eventually, I’ll always be willing to go for a theory based in reasoning and doubt. I don’t want to judge here people in terms of whether they believe, in non-reasonable things, or not.

Those who believe divide the world into believers and non-believers, those who smoke, into smokers and non-smokers, and so, those who study aliens. They seek common features among people with the aim of “being part of” or “belonging to” a group. Other activities like eating peanuts or playing squash don’t create community. Users know that nothing but the activity creates bounds amongst them.

I hate labeling people and beliefs; I both love and dislike many communities at the same time –my feelings vary depending on who describes the community and what the context is. Labeling informs you about something we don’t need and something it may not be true. It’s different to be physicist among artists than among engineers; or to be a New Yorker in Paris than in Texas. Labeling depends too much on the context. I prefer to use more precise adjectives like happy, nervous, stubborn, or coward rather than physicist, New Yorker or atheist.

I consider religion both a label and a community where disagreement is hostile. I consider religion harmful for rational thought and for creativity. I’d invite everyone to give up their beliefs.  Take whatever is good from religion or whatever you’ve learned and get out of the closet; should you like communities, seek one that accepts doubt. We have too much to understand and too much to discover (as human beings and as part of the universe) to do it with restrictions and credos. 

Once I talked with a friend about people who undeniably did good wherever they went. He said that undeniably those people were guided by God. It could be. It could be though there were other reasons. In science, sometimes a similar thing happens to me; to understand an experiment I use a theory (an existing explanation) and I focus so strongly in the theory that I lose sight of the original objective, the experiment –this is one of the first lessons of a scientist.

written by Ferran Macià

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