Wednesday, June 4, 2014


To the fanatics filling my Facebook with your personal dogma,

I write to you in a most respectful manner to ask for two simple things. The first favor I will leave for the end of this writing, which I guess makes it the last favor. But I had to write about it first because otherwise the structure of this paragraph would have been ruined. In any case, the second ( which I guess would be the first favor?) is that you take the couple minutes it takes to read why it is I feel the way I feel, and why I have taken the time to type this letter in hopes that we can coexist with each other in an amicable way.

Our earliest ancestors invented casual narratives to explain natural occurring phenomena like thunder and lightning, or the rise and setting of the sun and moon thus, began pagan religions. By assigning a meaning and purpose to the processes being observed in the natural world, instinctive fear was slowly removed and replaced by curiosity. Curiosity led to observation and testing of beliefs in order to gain understanding. The acquisition of knowledge became an actual evolutionary edge and so began science. It was at this point that religion and science had a long talk, decided to break up, and as far as I know haven't spoken to the other one since, except for the occasional courteous nod.

Fast forward to today. Look at the world around you. The screen you are reading this in was made thanks to science. The cell phone in your pocket, the materials for the clothes you wear, the artificial flavors in the processed cheese snack and delicious corn syrup filled carbonated drink you are surely enjoying, the defibrillator paddles they will use to revive you when you have a coronary, all of them brought to you by the advances in the many modern scientific fields. In contrast, one could argue that even if religion has managed to somehow evolve, it is still pretty hard to quantify a material, tangible effect on the world. So science grew up to become Tony Stark and give you toys while religion turned into that hippie aunt that gives good advice and doesn't know there was any music made after 1973.

With that said, let me explain a bit about myself. I grew up in a Catholic household and without getting into too much detail had a falling out with the church around the time I was 16. Teenage rebellion and access to information led me to reject any type of dogma and I came to the conclusion that religion was a form of control and that I didn't want any part of it. I decided to learn on my own about different religions because I make it a point to not reject something I don't understand, and the more I read about religions from an outside point of view, the more I disliked all of them.

How could I apply ancient belief systems to my contemporary life? How could I ignore cold hard scientific data while taking text written thousands of years ago as fact? How could anyone for that matter. It was infuriating and pretty soon I decided that this could not stand. The moment someone tried to talk to me about what they believed I would pull out a shield made out of logic and a sword made out of information and promptly delivered a verbal beat down. You did not want to be an unprepared street preacher if I was walking down your way or trying to get in the theater to the movie you where protesting, much less if I was in the same bus you got in to spread the word (All actual "encounters" I had). Whenever someone tried to push religion in public I made it a point to go and debate with them. I once saw a Jehovah's Witness walking towards my house so I ran in and stripped to my OZZY boxers, drew a pentagram on my chest with red lipstick and picked up my ex-wife's black cat so that I could troll them when I opened the door. I had no fear of confrontation because I was aware of information that was tangible and could be quantified, a force that was real and required no suspension of disbelief, I had facts and logic, the religious way of thinking was foolish and erroneous and I was ready to prove it to the world.......

And that's how I became everything I hated about the blind followers of religion I found so aggravating. I was a pusher of my specific belief system and proceeded to preach to anyone around me what I believed to be the truth without an ounce of respect. I had simply replaced my system of beliefs and proceeded to follow the new one without question. I was a blind follower of a new religion I call Anti-theism. And yes, I call it a "religion" because you have to believe and accept it blindly unless you literally sit in a lab and test every single one of the facts you are choosing to accept. It was at that point I realized that the problem has never been religion, but simply the act of blindly following ANY doctrine. Facts change on a constant basis thanks to new discoveries. What we think we know today is what our kids may laugh about and call us stupid for a few years from now. It is just as dumb to take science as the final word of the universe as to being an extremist with religion.

Don't get me wrong, I love science and logic. It is amazing that we have cured so many diseases and that I can now have a Dorito Cool Ranch Taco whenever I want, but science doesn't have all the tools or all the answers. There are abstract concepts in ourlives that are better satisfied trough spirituality.
Hope, faith, morality, the soul, the existence of the divine.... These are things that science can't quantify or analyze or for that matter concretely prove or disprove and I personally don't think they belong in a lab. If we really simplify things, in the end science and religion end up having a very funny characteristic in common. For either of them to truly serve their purpose, they require FAITH.

So here's that second favor. Whatever your beliefs are, whether scientific or religious, keep in mind that the moment you think you are right and your way is the only way, you will be able to sign your name right between Hitler, Bin Laden and many others who also thought they where 100% right about what they believed. And since I assume you don't want that, then please understand that in the end science and religion have always had the same goal. To help us understand the whole foken universe. They take different paths, but that doesn't mean they aren't trying to reach the same place, and if we allowed them to work on it instead of pitching them against each other, we might get there faster.