Let's replace the 2nd Amendment with something more comprehensive.
This picture inspired me to write about the following:
These are my thoughts, opinions, and/or stance on the above topic(s). Do NOT accept my words as fact without doing your own fact-checking. That being said, I do hope that these words will inspire you to think about the topic at hand. I also hope that you maintain an open mind and consider all perspectives.
Now let’s get started…
I was born into the Christian faith and still identify as Christian. Some of my earliest memories were of my mother reading simplified picture versions of the bible to me and my siblings before bed. As I have grown older, my belief in a higher power has hardened, but become more nuanced. As I scientist, I am faced with questions on how I can be both a man of faith and a man of science. My counter to that is “how can I NOT be a man of faith if I am a man of science?”. Here is one scientist’s take on religion and spirituality.
Our world is complex, and it is difficult for me to believe that it all happened by chance.
How can I be both a man of God and a man of science? As a scientist, don’t I have all the answers?
The truth is that scientists are aware of how much we don’t know. The farther we go down the proverbial rabbit hole, the deeper we find the hole to be. Every answer we find reveals ten more questions to be answered.
Take us for example. Each human being has roughly 37.2 trillion cells in their body. There are suggestions that there is at least that many atoms in every cell within the body. Each cell contains its own machinery (illustrated here) to keep it running. This machinery is complex. It has several redundancies and methods for recovering from catastrophic damages. Our understanding of how many of this machinery functions is still limited. We do, however, the basics of how it works.
There is a possibility that all this complex machinery arose naturally. That it is the result of nature’s trial and error and the laws of physics. That the big bang that created our universe was a natural physical occurrence. That there were no powers beyond that.
It is difficult to fathom and explain the vastness and complexity of our universe. Science does an excellent job developing theories and making sure that we support those theories. It can only go so far and explain so much. I have always used science to explain what it can explain, and use God to explain what science can’t.
I can believe in evolution while also believing the biblical story of creation.
I believe God created the laws that allowed for the big bang to happen. I generally subscribe to the notion that our world has or had some divine influence to set it in motion.
I don’t even get all that bent out of shape about the book of Genesis. Man wrote the bible thousands of years ago when we did not have any concept of the big bang, dinosaurs, how the solar system formed, or how we came to be. Our ancestors took their best guess on how we came to be with the information that they had. This is my main argument for why the bible should not be taken as a literal document. It was written by men for men, and men are fallible.
In fact, the creationist theory lines up very well with how science believes the world came to be. First, there was darkness. Then the Sun and planets were formed. Land appeared on planet Earth after the oceans, as is also depicted in the bible. Vegetation on this land would also appear after the creation of this land, as depicted in the bible. Even the idea that there were creatures before mankind is spelled out in Genesis 1:24-26. There are many intersections of science and faith, and there is no need to dismiss one to accept the other. As I said earlier, science is great for explaining what we know. Faith is great for explaining what we don’t.
Gnostic atheism is a flawed stance, and so is gnostic theism.
Several articles, such as this one, describe theism, atheism, gnosticism, and agnosticism. Too take a gnostic stance is to claim that one knows. With our current knowledge, no one can know God exists. No one can know that God does notexist, either. We can only believe one way or the other. Neither stance is wrong and neither stance is unassailable. I am annoyed by atheists that believe science has proven that God does not exist. I am also annoyed by theists that believe that their belief in God proves that God exists.
With our current knowledge, no one can prove God exists. No one can prove that God does not exist, either. I am annoyed by atheists that believe science has proven that God does not exist. I am also annoyed by theists that believe that their belief in God proves that God exists.
I identify as agnostic, as I believe this is the only way to go. Specifically, I am an agnostic theist with VERY strong beliefs. These are beliefs and I cannot pass them off as facts. I cannot say for certain that God exists. To me, I find the world too complex for it to lack a divine influence. Others will choose to believe that there is no higher power. There is compelling scientific evidence for that as well. As long as we are not espousing our beliefs as fact, both sides have their merits. Choose the one that appeals most to you.
Religion and Spirituality are related, but separate, concepts.
Many people define themselves as “spiritual” these days. I cannot speak for others, but I say that I am spiritual because I mostly reject organized religion. I also maintain a very strong foundation in my faith that is independent of the church. I do this because, although I believe in God, I have conflicting opinions on religion itself. On one hand, religion offers a set of guiding principles. These principles can help produce a person of high moral character and fortitude. Faith can get us through the darkest of times.
On the other hand, I despise the judgment that is so rampant in organized religion. Religion teaches us that our way of belief, and our God, is the only way to a good life and a greater afterlife. That adherence to a certain moral dogma is the only way to be a good person. We are taught that those who are different are, at best, misguided souls. At its worst, we are taught that these people are damned to hell for all eternity when their life ends. When religion becomes exclusionary instead of inclusive, I check out.
Love conquers all.
I can remain a Christian because the core principle of Christianity is compassion. The idea that you don’t have to agree with someone or even like them to humanize them is a powerful one for me. Yet, I have seen so many Christians use their faith as an excuse to hate or demonize another person or group of people. That’s why I tend to avoid many other Christians. I don’t need that in my life.
Instead, I am going to leave you with this quote from one, particularly notable, Christian.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.
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Myron Keith Gibert Jr