I am an atheist.
Fitting words to start the blog I think. I was going to have my first post be a rather lengthy introduction to how I came to be where I am now, but decided against it. I will instead summarise. I was brought up in a very actively Pentecostal Christian family. By the age of 16, I was attending church several days a week, and was one of a few worship leaders for the band, singing and playing guitar regularly at either the weekly Friday night youth meeting, or for the Church services each Sunday. The church was, for the most part, my life.
At the age of 17, for a list of reasons to which an entire post need be dedicated, things began to slip with my faith. This prompted me to look at things a little more objectively and consider the other side of the argument. Through careful thought and consideration, based on the evidence provided, I have come to the personal conclusion that there is no 'god'. And while a lot of intelligent people would scoff at that stance, with the obvious point that 'god' is, largely, neither provable nor disprovable, I feel that agnosticism is, well, to quote the book Life of Pi, as stated by the religious character Piscine:
"To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation."
Doubt should exist. It is required. But doubt should be momentary, only there until a decision is made in its place.
Not all of my posts will regard religion, I promise you, but today it could not be helped, thanks to a little near-altercation which happened. Me and my beautiful partner, Fiona (Fi for short), have spent this weekend in a lovely hotel in the Sydney CBD for some much needed time away. On our stroll back from lunch we happened upon a street preacher standing on a corner of George St, who was set up with a rather loud amp and microphone. At the time that we came into hearing range of him, he was shouting on about how Christ is the solution to your sicknesses, sadness', and addictions. Now, before I continue the story, I have to concede that I hold a certain amount of vitriol towards religion, and the religious, which I am not altogether proud of, but at the present time, feel I can't shake. As we got closer to him, I started to feel something swell in the pit of my stomach. I was in such a good mood prior, and the speed with which this hit was ridiculous. By the time I was next to him, I was ropeable. After a call that 'we all need to accept Jesus as lord', and as the light on the crossing turned green, I shouted, though barely loud enough to get over the sound of his amp, that his god was an imaginary figure. Fi at this point grabbed my hand and pulled me across the road. Halfway through crossing, I turned to walk back; intent on kicking over the guy's amp and unplugging his microphone (even now, I was inclined to write something a little less polite than 'the guy'). Had I progressed any further, I don't think it at all unimaginable that I would have swung at him. Fi kept a grip on my hand, and pulled me away from it all. I had something more than a purely emotional reaction, I had had a physiological reaction. A shot of adrenaline had been called and pumped through my veins. My mind felt so threatened or enraged by the whole situation, that it called on my fight or flight response; I would not hesitate to say that it was intent on sending me into fight. When we got into the bookstore which we were headed for, I was shaking in rage. And here I call back on the title of this post.
Only a moment later, I was completely aware that the way that I reacted was entirely wrong and idiotic; and yet, I still felt furious. I was still feeling the affects of the adrenaline for a good 20 minutes after the event.
This is not the first time that a religious situation has had this affect on me, nor do I think it will be the last. And I cannot, for the life of me, properly explain why. I've tried talking it through, tried pinpointing what the hell it is that sets me off. But I cannot come up with an answer. I am in every other situation a very collected guy.
There is some sorting out to be done in my head.