It's soooo weird. Y'all know I'm taking this bio class (mostly how I bitch about it, but that's all directed at my prof. the material is actually really cool). Well lately we've been going over stuff that TOTALLY APPLIES TO MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. Except it's not the scriptures! You know how the scriptures are supposed to have all the answers, how the spirit is supposed to--well. Anyway. Apparently my bio book does the same thing.
Here's what I'm picking up on lately and what it's doing to my poor, tortured agnostic self (really, ugh)*
Basic introduction: First, The Theory of Common Descent. That is, not that humans evolved from apes, but that every organism on earth arose from a single cell billions of years ago and eventually evolved into everything you see and know of today.
It's like a big family tree. Kind of. To avoid a lengthier explanation, a relatively recent common ancestor of humans is the ape, chimpanzee, etc. It is not saying that we're just apes. Just that it's our most recent ancestor than, say, cats are. Like you're more similar to your grandmother than your second cousin once removed. We've evolved from apes via the process of natural selection. Also, evolution is not about being better, it is not about an ideal. It is the ever changing result of natural selection which states that an environment selects for certain genes in existing species.
It's akin to a flood--if we had a flood and there was a gene for swimming, the swimmers would survive because they could likely get to land. Those without the swimming gene would, well, drown. Not to say that swimmers are better PERIOD, just better suited in the flooded environment. Those without the swimming gene may be selected for in another environment better suited to them. Which is one reason why not all apes are humans.
Also, this shit doesn't happen overnight. Millions upon millions of years.
It's pretty much fact from what I can tell, but here are the three alternative hypotheses my text offers (and later refutes):
Okay, I had all three hypotheses identified/described, but there's no reason for them. They're debunked. They take up a lot of space. Here's what it comes down to:
Scientists have proven that complex molecules can arise from simple, non-living material. Poof! But even if everyone accepted the Theory of Common Descent, here's where my stubbornness comes in. I asked my husband about it:
"So where'd the simple, non-living material come from?"
"Probably something more basic, like elements," he replied. Calmly. Ugh.
"Where'd the elements come from?!" I add.
And on and on, ad nauseum.
But I'd have to be intellectually honest if I'm going down this road: Where'd God come from? The thing is, I've always been content with the idea that God just always existed. Even the LDS teaching that God was once a man who was then exalted to become a god and create his own people who then are exalted to become gods, etc. always unnerved me.
And so I'm sitting here, taking this class, learning about the world and how scientists figure everything out. I get that they don't have all the answers, but they have a lot of them. And they're totally okay with finding new evidence that proves their theories wrong. And I really love what they do: record what you see, not what you expect to see. Consider possible alternative hypotheses: are there any other reasons for this conclusion?
I know science doesn't deal with god, but god sure as hell tries to deal with science. See aforementioned hypotheses and the apologetics that arise from revealed science. It ain't just for those Mormons.
I've my own inner apologist. She's gotten past the whole Maybe God is just testing us and sending us detour evidence. We need to have faith! That's my dad's church talking. Think "dinosaurs." They're also partly responsible for God can inspire those writers to know exactly who Jesus was, what he did, and the thoughts and actions of those who followed him. Also, I get it. Historically, stories have been passed down orally as well, but have you ever played the telephone game?
While my own inner apologist grows quieter by the day, she's still there. Driving me batshit. I don't dig apologetics anymore. I worry myself about the what-ifs enough all on my own.
I don't know. Lately I'm wondering if I might be atheist. Atheism isn't about claiming to know for sure that God doesn't exist, just a belief that all evidence points to "probably not" so you live your life. It's not as if I'm afraid of losing my salvation, because I'm not. I do believe that if there's a god I want anything to do with, I'll be fine.
There's a part of me that wants to believe in God, but there's no really good reason why. Except maybe because I grew up Christian and god was always a part of my life. "Jesus loves you!' and all that shit. I always had someone to talk to, someone who had my back, someone who did only the best for me whether I knew it or not. Someone to help me find my keys. Now it's a matter of having faith in myself, and I'll tell you: I've never really had that. But I really like the idea. I like what it's doing for me.
What's my belief in god, however small, doing for me? What's the point of it?
In the end, I buy neither the biblical account, nor the Book of Mormon account, and I don't really want to come up with my own account. I know some people just figure there's a god and we're his fishbowl, but that's not something I want to expend any energy on.
I do like the idea of eternity, though.
So am I atheist? I don't know. Saying so would in part be very, very relieving but only because I'll have made a decision. I feel as if I'm forever wavering, unable to make a decision. But a decision of what? To what degree I think it's possible god exists? You know? Because I'm not looking back. There's nothing there for me.
As an agnostic, I often feel like I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too. But it's not as if atheists claim to "know" God doesn't exist. And it might be due to my own recently skyrocketing insecurities WITHOUT reading quotes like the following (for my blog)
"Isn't an agnostic just an atheist without balls?" - Stephen Colbert (yeah i know, satirist. still)
"There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?" - Richard Dawkins
"You happen to be talking to an agnostic. You know what an agnostic is? A cowardly atheist." - Studs Terkel (i know, who?)
In a way, this feels like the very beginning of my disaffection from the LDS church. I couldn't say outright "I don't believe." The thought of saying that petrified me. Atheism doesn't mean I've closed the door completely, just that chances are slim. I'm not entirely sure about that.
See, I still believe in supernatural things. You know, ghosts. Mostly because it's fun, because I've heard some pretty convincing stories from people close to me--not to mention that it drives Eric up the wall. He's got an answer for everything, so I like to bug him.
Me: "Babe! 'Ghost Hunters' is on!"
But you know, I don't believe in god but I do believe in ghosts? Logic fail?
I just figure it's no fun to know everything. But one can make reasonable conclusions.
Besides, I'd like, have to change the title of my blog.
I don't know.