I’ve seen quite a few things lately* along the lines of this article, which describes how the author believes in god because of the glory of the night sky and the infinity of space (although the concept of a midnight cappuccino traumatised me and I had to have a lie down before finishing the article). He speaks to why he believes in god, and how looking out into space is, he believes, beautiful and amazing proof.
I love astronomy and one of my happiest memories is looking through a little telescope at Saturn when I was very young. I can still remember that sight so vividly, and the feel and the smell of that night. I have very few memories of my childhood, but many that I’ve held onto involve being outside at night, on my own, looking into space.
But you know what? Looking at the night sky doesn’t increase my belief in god in anyway at all. I find wonderful and majestic and still spend a lot of time outside at night but there’s nothing that I see that makes me think ‘this proves god’. But I would indignantly say (if anyone questioned me) that my appreciation isn’t limited at all by that fact. I feel the same way now that I’m a kind-of-believer than I did when I was a very-much-convinced atheist. Inexplicably moved and a little emotional and amazed.
The basis of my belief lies in other areas completely (I discussed that here so I won’t bore you again) but it seems to me that how we fall into belief varies enormously. Some people are brought up with it and don’t question (similar to the basis of my deep love of Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, I suppose. Indoctrination) and others find their way there by other means. I’m getting much better at accepting (truly accepting, rather than just saying it) that everyone experiences things differently and their experience is valid even if I don’t understand it. Or like it.
That said, the circular logic of ‘I believe in god because the bible tells me so and god inspired the bible’ leaves me cold and perplexed but it works for some people so… OK, maybe I’m not that great and accepting everything.
*Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, anyone?