Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why I'm a Dreamer

Why I’m a Dreamer
By: Radiance
I have never really seen myself as a single entity, more of a rough collection of a great many things.  A son, a brother, a friend, a lover, a knight, a hero, a warm hug after a bad day, a stupid joke when you’re feeling down, sometimes just a random smile from a stranger. I could go on and on, however I will focus upon the things that define my (seemingly) crazy and mixed up beliefs.  The first of which being, technically I am an atheist.
                Like most “why I am ­­­____" explanations, mine starts with stories as it my historical reasons for rejecting my family’s faith which was the first step on the journey to where I stand now.  As a child born into a family of heavy, heavy, Christian beliefs religion was the explanation of/for many things including how we should act and why nature was the way it is.  I was a child with insatiable curiosity and never ending questions.  Either just to shut me up or out of real belief it was offered to as many explanations, they were answers that were unfulfilling  and usually led to more questions.  Like most children who question Christianity I came upon that one truly damning question “If God created the everything, who created him?” and while whatever answer I was given appeased me for the moment that question stuck with me and was the base of my disbelief even as a child. As I grew older this beginning grew into what seems to me as a huge lack of evidence, the base of my disbelief as an adult.
                Next was the love of logic that grew as I did, I was especially fond of logic puzzles or games that involved a lot of problem solving.  This led me to question the contradictions in the bible, facing my old doubt with a new sense of logic.  For example  Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 6:5-6, the first says god was pleased with his creation of the garden, the second said it displeased him, which also brings up the question of why he would create anything that displeases him. Since he is supposedly omnipotent why not create everything in a pleasing manner, it seems pretty silly to stop a creation while you are displeased with it but being omnipotent and omniscient should make you able to create anything just the way you want it. Spotting contradictions in the words, led me to look towards the people.  Why do people who show up on a certain day of the week in a certain building and teach love and tolerance, go out into the world and spread fear and hatred. Even if they do not mean to, when they ostracize others for their beliefs that they cause animosity even hatred towards themselves and their religion. 
The final step in this process was a recent one, one I had not been willing to see.
                I had always been taught that Christians were kind and loving, it caused me to commit the fallacy that we discussed in class under the name “respect creep” and that while I had been very good at respecting other regardless of their beliefs, they did not do the same for me.  My eyes were opened to the idea that even when most christians claim to accept a person,  they usually follow with something to the effect of “its not my place to judge” or “God will be judging them, not me” portraying that they will still be judged.  An idea I have discovered that I am not ok with. 
                This concept was slammed in my face with the recent fiasco of my wedding plans.
I  told the class of what was happening, how my family freaked out about a boy wearing a dress, well the story has had time to play out and its time to catch up to its current resting place for the good of understanding the most current evolution of my beliefs.
The interrogating of my family that I could actually speak to, and with the aid of some reconnaissance and honestly quite a bit of damage control by my brother (Daniel Murphy) I discovered a horrifying truth.
It was not that he would be wearing a dress, it was that he is homosexual.
My wedding was upturned because my family has a religious problem with homosexuals.
                The family member who had offered a place to have the wedding backed out and asked that we not have it there, I heard that people might approach him about his faith and ending up in hell, and I was even told that both my grandmothers and my father would not be able to attend because of their beliefs. I realized that I have no reason to respect these people’s beliefs if they would not even show me the courtesy I showed them for close to 23 years, they wont see me even bow my head in respect when they pray any longer… they’ll be lucky if I stay quiet…
At this point a need to pause, both to calm myself and to thank every member of this class.  If not for this class I likely would have made quite a few rash and rage fueled decisions that include not speaking to any of my family for the foresee-able  future and becoming a Dawkins-esk atheist who is extremely open and blunt about my own beliefs and disbelief in the common local religions. 
So thank you for being supportive and reminding me that there are logical theologians out there still.
However that does conclude my story as to why I reject the Christian faith.
I began some years ago researching other religions.  Quickly ruling out all of three of the Christian, jewish, islam triad and all their assorted flavors, I turned to less locally common  views.   I found some things I liked about many, particularly Buddhism. But nothing felt quite right, I figured out somewhere along the line  that I reject the whole idea of a single deity completely and naturally. Whatever whole I have in me is not god shaped.
Therefore I am an atheist, but taking this class has shown me something else.
I don’t fit the typical mold of the word ‘atheist,’ more specifically that of a naturalist which seems to be what most people assume when they hear the word atheist.
I don’t know why, maybe its from a child who’s always had his head in the clouds or is nose in some sort of fantasy world (be it a book or otherwise) but I cannot reject the mystic or super natural.
I stand before an entire unfathomly huge universe that is itself a testimate and evidence of the laws of the natural world, while I do look in awe at its beauty, and deep down I long for something more.  Be it karma, non-scientific energy (emotional, will based), magic, or even a world of dreams I feel that there is more to this world than meets the eye.  But before you rule my thoughts out as completely illogical I have a few instances that I can cling to as examples that there may be more to this world.
The first is the simple almost artistic beauty of nature, from the modern interpretation of what the universe looks like, to the fact that the molecules in our bodies were produced in stars out in the cosmos, or even the interesting connection to a good song that you can relate to. This is mostly an appreciation of natural beauty that appeals to my sense of wonder.
The next I shall use the example of my fiancé, Panda.  She possesses two abilities that I have tested repeatedly and she has never failed, one science can mimic and the other it can only guess at.  Mind you that these are not unique abilities, many other people possess them she is merely a good example.
The first is her ability to somehow sense the ‘feelings’ of others, while some level of this is common among many people she possesses a high level of this ability commonly referred to as empathy.  Upon first meeting someone new she almost flawlessly can tell what kind of person they are,  and can identify people through solid objects without auditory cue.  I commonly tested this by having her announce who was about to come in the door when I lived at an apartment with two other people. She was never wrong, and could usually even tell if they had guests.  There are many psychologists who can do who she does when meeting new people, by actively observing the person’s movements, speech patterns, and other bodily signs. I have never met one, however, that could mimic the door test.  Her explanation was simply that she could feel the person at the door and could identify from memory what my roommates and their typical guests felt like.
The second ability she has, that is also not unique just uncommon, is actually an unexplainable condition of the brain called Synesthesia. Sometime common in description of certain hallucinogenic drugs, synesthesia is the involuntary union of two senses. Current science has no clue as to how, when, or why synesthesia happens, but they have concluded after some testing that it is a real condition.  For Panda those senses are sound (specifically music) and color, when she hears music she sees something to the effect of fireworks or a laser light show.  The two senses are permanently bound together, to her music without color has no meaning and is not enjoyable (taking very special circumstances to produce normally) or occurring in spoken word based song with little accompaniment, prompting her claims that such things are not music. 
My last example is something much more common, everyone has heard of it and almost everyone has some sort of faith in it, science has no hope of ever explaining it, and religion often disagrees with it.
It can make the most logical people do stupid things, it can turn misery to happiness, it can cause bliss and elation and even holds a twisted flipside that can destroy a person from the inside out and can strip all color and pleasure from the world.
Amor Omnia Vincit
Love conquers all
This is one of the few things I truly believe and have faith in.
I don’t know what else to say about Love, it is a mote of magic that gives me hope in the cold and unforgiving presence of science. 
I know it is sort of a weird place to stop, but this is kind of where I stand at the end of this class.  I have renewed my search into who I am, at least this part of me that had been repressed by religion up until now. But I still have my inability to reject mysticism and the super natural even though I reject the idea of a deity. 

I have had a wonderful time and found support in a time of need in this class and want to thank all of you for making it such an experience. Thank You.

Good Luck in all you do, may your worlds always have more Light than Dark, and never stop Smiling
~The Shining Radiance


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  2. Shine on, Radiance. I'm sure there's more in heaven and earth than's dreamt of in our philosophy, too. I'm just holding out for it's being natural as well!

    Anyway: happy nuptials, good luck, be well. Don't stop asking those questions. Don't let family bring you down. (Look at the bright side: you probably won't be spending eternity with them.)

  3. Yo Radiance, let's get your girlfriend in the lab with James Randi and claim your million dollars. What have you got to lose?

    1. I had to laugh, yeah it is comforting to know there are many people i wont have to suffer an eternity with.

      David i had to go look that up. I wish! The empathy would definitely be interesting to see a scientific test against.
      As I was typing this I have actually become interested in this...As you said, what do we have to lose, I may actually talk to her about this. If people can test on being psychic why would they reject her... I keep laughing that I'm actually considering this, but she sounds far more reasonable than quite a few applicants I've read.

    2. I'm sure your girlfriend is very good at intuitively assembling lots of subconscious data in such a way that it seems uncanny. But talents of this sort have an unfailing way of disappearing under controlled conditions. Take away the sound of arriving vehicles, the faint footsteps, the shadows on the blinds, the vaguely overheard conversations, the strength of the door knock, etc, and what you have left is not as impressive. None of which is to say that she isn't very good at putting all of those contextual clues together, or that it isn't fun to watch :-)

  4. David spoils it for everybody. :)

    Radiance, you have a truly applicable appellation. I wish you and your family the best. Here's to peace, love and tolerance.

    I, too, would be willing to bet your girlfriend is constructing empirical evidence (see David and Phil's posts) and forming conclusions from that rather than simply out of thin air. That being said, there's always a first but I won't be holding my breath.

    Carry on!


  5. Dean: Thank you and the best to you and your family as well.

    David and dean: I do admit that her "ability" is very likely a subconscious gathering of knowledge, and very often may be. But me or the few other people who have witnessed it have been surprised. However, i am also aware at such "abilities" and their tendency to dissapear under rigorous trial. I do think she is far more qualified than every single trial i read about, but more importantly would just find it extremely entertaining to try.
    Like even going into it knowing she would likely fail, it would be fun to try. The only stumbling block is thinking a way to properly test her 'ability.'
    Like I said, I want to try and talk her into it just cause i think it would be fun...ohh and on the off chance she could stump a few scientists we could win a bunch O' moneys. Thats the kicker, it does not have to be forever unexplainable, just right up until the point to are tested. If they explain it even just a few days down the line you get to keeps the moneys.

    TL:DR it may be very explainable, but it would be fun to try!