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There must be a reason

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Recently, another devout Christian insisted that, "You can't believe the way you do without a reason."  This one was not at all confrontational.  Just trying to understand.

I think My religious background post covers it pretty well.  There was no single event nor series of events that turned me off of religion.  I was never heavily indoctrinated nor immersed with the stuff as a kid.  And I feel no internal urge nor emptiness to draw me to it now.

But a common theme I overlooked earlier in my They *need* it post is that many people do experience one or more events that convince them that divine intervention is common enough to touch their lives.

As an extreme (fictitious) example, the scene in Pulp Fiction where Jules and Vincent are shot at by another character from a distance of six feet and the guy misses every shot.  Jules saw that as a sign from God.  That He stepped in and guided those bullets away from the two protagonists.  Vincent, OTOH, saw it as a freak occurrence.  Just a wildly random chance event.  An inexperienced gunman, under extreme stress, with two dangerous targets to wave his overly-large and unwieldy gun between.

The same event, with two diametrically opposed interpretations.

Jules sees it as a pivotal moment in his life.  A crossroads.  Vincent sees it as life as usual.  Interesting, even fascinating.  But not as an event that would "cause" agnosticism/atheism.

For normal people who never are compelled to dodge bullets in their life, the theistic-supporting events are usually more along the lines of surviving a nasty car wreck.  Witnessing a medical miracle.  Or knowing/feeling when a loved one dies.  The person insists that a natural, mechanistic explanation is impossible.  They convince themselves that they've witnessed proof of God.

I suppose a skeptic can have a life-changing event that triggers an epiphany.  Maybe a very pious friend or family member violates a deep trust.  Maybe the now-atheist studies the diagnoses and treatment of an ailment enough to understand that a steady application of science produced a predicted result.  Maybe he/she reacts negatively to the death of a loved one.

But I've never experienced anything like that.  For me, the universe just clicks along today pretty much as it did yesterday, and the day before that, etc.  So, rather than having some event that caused agnosticism, it's more that my life is lacking in events that could have caused theism.

I guess you could say that I was never forced to pick a god when I was young.

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Last modified: July 10, 2006
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