The first from an author I miss:
- “About once or twice every month I engage in public debates with those whose pressing need it is to woo and to win the approval of supernatural beings. Very often, when I give my view that there is no supernatural dimension, and certainly not one that is only or especially available to the faithful, and that the natural world is wonderful enough—and even miraculous enough if you insist—I attract pitying looks and anxious questions. How, in that case, I am asked, do I find meaning and purpose in life? How does a mere and gross materialist, with no expectation of a life to come, decide what, if anything, is worth caring about?
Depending on my mood, I sometimes but not always refrain from pointing out what a breathtakingly insulting and patronizing question this is. (It is on a par with the equally subtle inquiry: Since you don't believe in our god, what stops you from stealing and lying and raping and killing to your heart's content?) Just as the answer to the latter question is: self-respect and the desire for the respect of others—while in the meantime it is precisely those who think they have divine permission who are truly capable of any atrocity—so the answer to the first question falls into two parts. A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called 'meaningless' except if the person living it is also an existentialist and elects to call it so. It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one's everyday life as if this were so. Whereas if one sought to define meaninglessness and futility, the idea that a human life should be expended in the guilty, fearful, self-obsessed propitiation of supernatural nonentities… but there, there. Enough.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22
The second from a musician I love:
- I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me -John Lennon
Like you, I don't like to call myself an atheist. Not because of the reddit atheism community, I am not familiar with them, but because to me atheists seem too certain that God does not exist. I cannot prove nor disprove the existence of a creator. I'm also not a fan of ascribing myself to any "group". For this same reason, I've never referred to myself as a Democrat or a Liberal even though my politics put me squarely in either camp. I just don't want to be labeled.
My father in law is a very Christian man and it's hard for me to be around him sometimes because I know that he desires more than anything for me to be a christian. For years I tried to accommodate this and studied the bible and even went to church weekly. I can't pretend anymore though. I find no value in religion. I find a great deal of value in the teachings of Jesus Christ but religion is just not in the cards for me. I suppose I'm an agnostic if I must be labeled. I think that Christ's message is wonderful, I just don't believe the whole "son of god" part.
But I love my father in law and I think he's a good man. I just look in his eyes sometimes and see Theoden King's glassy stare while being controlled by Saruman. -Too nerdy a reference?
Are you familiar with the Jeffersonian bible? -Thomas Jefferson was amazing.
But as for atheism vs. religion, most of it on either side has to do with wanting to "belong" to a group that can define "you". I'm a ___blank___ is an important thing for most people to have the ability to say.
Only recently have I found what I can use to fill in the ___blank___
-I now say, "I'm a hubskier".
- Like you, I don't like to call myself an atheist. Not because of the reddit atheism community, I am not familiar with them, but because to me atheists seem too certain that God does not exist.
Most that identify themselves as Atheists do not claim to be certain that a God by any meaningful definition does not exist. They instead say that it has the same probability as faeries or santa clause existing. The distinction between exceedingly improbable and impossible is inconsequential and not worth considering.
That said, I have no proof of either the santa version or otherwise. But still, I can't unabashedly claim there is no "creator".
In summary, Unless your definition of God is so loose as to be indistinguishable from chance or physics then it's likelihood approaches zero.
It's interesting for me to look back at the path my life has taken and how my perception of myself has changed. Equally interesting is what hasn't changed. The constants in my self "identity".
I'm a musician.