Interesting question posed to me during a stunted debate (I wasn't in the mood for another fight.)
The question was, "If you aren't a scientist why are you so convinced that they are telling you the truth?"
This of course was in reference to my atheism, so many things said to me these days touch upon the subject and really this is quickly becoming the place where I vent. I should start a countdown as to the moments left before I stop respecting their right to be religious and go all Christopher Hitchens on them.
The misconception seems to be that I am an atheist because of science. That I, a once devout Catholic, was led astray by some lofty explanation of the cosmos. Perhaps someone chanted the words "Big Bang" over and over again until I was under the spell of atheism.
I like this accusation better than the one where I simply didn't want right and wrong anymore. It implies that I can glean some sort of information from the amazing stars above me, and that those lovely suns that touch my eyes with their old light unfold secrets for me.
But I am not a scientist, so the stars remain distant in their splendor.
Still I'm an atheist, because you don't need to be a scientist to be an atheist. You just need to not believe in a god, which is a pretty easy thing for me.
It was hard and miserable being Xtian. That was apparently a sign I was doing it right, living in constant guilt and begging some deity to wash my brain free of sexual thoughts. Praying that I could just get another hit of faith (yes like a drug) to get me through the week. Faith enough to help me overlook the glaring inconsistencies between the message of the bible and the mercy that the followers claimed it preached. I thought that certainly god would speak to me if I kept reaching out to him, and as my mental health deteriorated I hung on still trying to revive that faith so god would pull me out of my inadequacies.
So I talked with my brother one day because my parents told me he was struggling with his faith. I hoped to set him straight, struggling was no excuse for faltering in your religion. He told me it wasn't a struggle, he just didn't believe in god.
I was shocked and when we got off the phone 10 seconds later I felt like a door had opened up before me. I wrote the word "god" over and over and chanted it as a prayer for a sleepless night, and by the end of it the word meant nothing to me, and I was an atheist.
Now I feel like I can breathe. My turmoil is at an all time low and I still know jack-shit about the cosmos but I am godless at last.
But I didn't say all that to my friend.
I said "If you aren't a preacher, how are you so convinced they are telling you the truth?"