Gianluca Fiore



On my Atheism

For many years I've been identified as an atheist. I say "I've been" as in "most people think of me as such". I find this odd and a result of centuries of stratifying of Christian values and Church teachings over the minds of every european, believer or non-believer.

This is shown in the automatic axiom we make today: dislike for the Church = atheism. Anti-clericalism is only an aspect of atheism, not its whole.

It hasn’t to be like this. The Church has engrained an intolerance towards any other faith in the western culture that is hard, very hard to remove. It is indeed very possible to believe in a personal God, who may or may not be the same of Abrahamic religions’, without having to follow the Church rules and precepts. After all, unconsciously or not, it's what many believers do. They believe in God but don't really practice what their local Church tell them to do. More out of a lazyness and general sense of "minding one's business" than a direct opposition to the clergy's preaching. Many instinctively know that one thing is what the Church preach and another God's will.

That’s plain simple to me yet more than once I’ve been told that if I believe in Jesus I am automatically a christian. I believe in the Buddha too but I don’t think that makes me a Buddhist. Not automatically, at least. Besides, there are christian atheists, even among the clergy, which makes the axiom “Jesus = God” much more complicated than the Church would like us to believe. There are many sides to this, you might say.

Whatever it be the reason most people think I’m an atheist, it’s clear that many people become so because of the hate they feel against the Church. Understandable but this undermines your choice of not believing in a personal God. If you just identify yourself with a community because you hate another one, you don’t really believe in what you are preaching. It’s simply a reaction. If the hated community would change its behaviours and preachings, perhaps you’d switch back to it, or not care too much in your current community. Total lack of faith (which as an atheist you are entitled not to have, I concur).

Atheism Is A Religion

I have never identified myself with atheism. I do support many of their battles against religion and its influence over society and I’d go along much better with a “fervent” atheist than with a fervent believer, of any religion. But it’s not because they don’t believe in God or hate the Church, it’s because they don’t take anything for granted, they question every dogma, they don’t accept answers of the kind “it is so because it is so”, without explanation, they believe in the power of the human brain to discover nature’s secrets and laws. Most of them, anyway; there are assholes in every community. But I do like a lot this way of thinking, using your brain to discover life’s truths and not simply accepting what you have been told. We all should question more.

But, still, I’m not really an atheist. Being it would mean that I negate the chance for the existence of a personal God, which I do not. This at least is the common understanding of the word atheist; nonetheless I am aware it does not encompass all the different branches atheism has. Yet I’d hate do be identified with somebody who negates a possibility, I am far from such a person. I am instead a “probabilist” as I believe only in what I can have proof of but also know enough about the human mind and science’s limits to not put any firm “NO!” in front of any theory, no matter how weird it may seems to most. There are a bunch of things that even the finest minds humanity has produced in centuries can’t (yet) explain, who am I to assert that those things exists or not? Perhaps reincarnation is real, perhaps not; perhaps there’s a God that has his mysterious ways to interact with the world or perhaps Stephen Hakwing is right and there’s no reason to believe in a superior entity to explain our existence; perhaps we’ve been created by aliens or perhaps we are just a mishap of the evolution, a hairless monkey with peculiar hands and a bigger than needed brain. What do I know? How can I be absolutely sure who is right and who is wrong? And who are you to say the same about what you believe? Being absolutely certain of any unproven thing is either very idiotic or very arrogant. Often both.

I am a single person of the billions that currently inhabit this planet. I am no better than most nor smarter than the people working at CERN. I have some theories and conceptions in my mind that I believe are more probable than others. Namely, probably there’s no God. But this doesn’t mean, in any way, that I can identify with atheism nor any religion as both don’t fall into the “probabilistic” way of thinking that any person who knows his limits and is humble enough should adopt. I know of not knowing. So I live my life according to what, using my reasoning and the skills that I have been born with and have been developing by experiences and teachings over the years, I think it’s right, for me, for the people who I care about and for the good of the Earth. In some actions I may be right, in many I am surely wrong. I am just doing my best, which may be not enough to be a good citizen of this world. I do promise to improve, as long as I am breathing.

Whether there is a God or not, whether there are extraterrestrial beings visiting our planet right now or not, whether we have been born in a precise moment or are just the result of the evolution of past species, whether this world is going to end any moment by God’s will or will exist for many millions of years still, whether we are being watched by beings that we can’t see or not, does it really matter? Are you so arrogant into believing that you have found the answer to any of these questions with such a certainty that you are willing to live all your life by abiding to that answer? I am not.

And, why life has to have a meaning? What if it hasn’t? What if life itself is the meaning?

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