Not too long ago we human species had still believed that by being able to think that we are greater than The Animal. By actually having the capacity to imagine a Human/Animal binary in itself had somehow made us mistakenly believe We greater than Them. Along the way, we have gradually come to realise we are but another animal and have also began to suspect that God may not exist at all.
All this is very well, of course. The Faithful find it incredulous that The Atheist believe they are crazy. But at the same time The Faithful will hold the exact same incredulous view of The Atheist. ‘Why would anyone want to believe they are godless animals’, The Faithful would ask.
I would go as far to say that not only are we Animal but that we are also Natural with full positive connotations. And I would also say that being able to imagine God, denounce Him, and to be able to hold on to a Us&Them viewpoint is completely natural. The Human Animal (or ‘Humanimal’) for being self-perceptivably so different to the other animals is really quite the improbability. Or perhaps eventually every life-system has its equivalent human species which goes through a patch of arrogance then humility to realise it is just another Natural Animal in exactly the same way we have.
I love looking at the moon. I love watching it slowly change from a full moon to a new moon. I love half and crescent moons also. But they are all the same moon in different light.
By observing the moon and watching it change I can confirm that it is indeed a sphere. By looking at the shadows I can point to the direction of the sun, and infer its location relative to us.
But why should the moon be spherical? The more we look out there the more we realise that the other planets are spherical as well. So maybe the planet we live on is as well.
That thought probably prompted man to sail away from the coasts and literally venture out into open waters. The evidence increasingly pointed to the world as being round, or at least not being flat.
This also prompted us to think about how and why things do not fall off a round-edged world into whatever is beyond the horizon. Perhaps everything is falling into the centre – gravity. Eureka! All problems solved.
The fact is we have observed, with our own eyes, the planets and planetary satellites out there, and they are not flat but round. Things don’t fall off the planets because they are round. And the Earth is not special. It is not flat. And we, human beings, are not special. The world neither figuratively nor literally revolve around us, just as the Sun does not revolve around the Earth. It is only ignorance and arrogance that makes us think the planet and us are special. And sometimes people are kept ignorant for reasons of maintaining this power and control over them. This is not unlike the flat-earthers’ narrative that the Sun revolves around the flat Earth, all the while telling you that you are their Sun.
In the beginning was a “big bang”. No one is sure how it happened but it happened about 14 billion years ago (in Earth time, that is). All the material in the universe came from this event. The material in the form of dust slowly gathered to form galaxies, suns, planets and satellites through attraction. The planet we call Earth was formed about 4 billion years ago, a little after the formation of the Sun, the star which gives us the energy for our survival, around which we revolve. Life on Earth began around 1 billion years ago in the form of simple cells. Our species – Homo – is perhaps one to two million years old. Civilisation in the form of societies and writing came about perhaps 20,000 years ago. Recognisable society is perhaps 7,000 years old. We know these things because we are smart.
Modernist movements believed their own movement could replace all others, that there was no question of their perfection, and no question of their progress.
Postmodernism, on the other hand, believed they owed their existence to Modernism, that perfection was impossible, and they were no better than or worse than the Modernism that came before them.
While Modernism believed it was internally consistent and readily self-definable, Postmodernism saw itself as play and a system of difference.
There is always an anthropocentric view with being human. Yet if we take Darwin’s conclusion seriously then we are just another animal on this planet.
This being so we are not “unnatural” but truly just part of the entire animal kingdom and should be treated as such.
The way we consume resources is as natural as that of other animals. We are genetically programmed to take as much as we do. If natural selection is to work on us as it does on other animals then some kind of balance will come about.
Apparently some lobsters and eels form a symbiosis for survival. From the point of view of natural selection it would make sense that lobsters or eels who do not form this symbiosis may have a power chance of survival thus such animals being “weeded out” naturally. Perhaps just in the same way humans are weeded out by the system.
I am a Buddhist. But I do not believe in the existence of gods. I do, however, believe in the existence of their concepts. They are the stories in our minds to help us understand and make sense of the world we live in, to relate to things and each other as people and animals.
All concepts help us to communicate and think. We are good at making concepts (though we are not the only creatures to be able to do so).
Given our time, our knowledge and our understanding I think it is time we had moved on, after being held back for so long by the insistence of existence.
Can I reject a god if there was not a god to reject in the first place?
What I am rejecting then is not a god but the notion or the concept of a god. Theists want to know how you can reject a god or God by positing its (or His) existence first by naming it then asking you to how you can reject it when it exists. What the theists mistake for a god is its name.
There is no proof of existence of a god other than by its name and the actions based on the belief of its existence, not on actual proof of its existence.
I do not believe in God, a god or gods but I do see the concept of God, a god and gods all around me in the form of human behaviour and nothing more.
An atheist, then, should not be a rejection of the existence of a deity, anymore than I should not reject the existence of, say, Donald Trump. By rejecting existence of Donald Trump I would be considered a lunatic. This kind of thinking is what theists uses against an atheist’s rejection (the “how can you not believe in the existence of God?! That’s absurd!” argument).
The very term atheist relies on (or presumes) a positive term of (or a presence of a god) to reject in the first place. The terminology dupes us into a double take on whether there is a god to reject or not. Agnostics, in return, tried to play the same game, being drawn into a competition of verbal trickery. This will no longer do.
Undoubtedly, I believe in the existence of the concepts of deity and deities. This is what we like to do as humans. It is natural for us to broadly paraphrase Mary Midgley to want to be given a reason to live. We are scared to live in a meaningless world as Jean-Paul Sartre might have said.