I’m going to try something a little different this morning, and this post is intended in my own clumsy way to address the broader masses of those who adhere to religious, supernatural, paranormal, and fringe-scientific claims, no matter the degree or variety of adherence.
This is an open letter to those who still believe, from a former believer turned modern rational empiricist and religious nonbeliever, in as non-inflammatory a way of expressing myself as I may in my halting fashion.
My intent is not to compel, convince, convert, brainwash, or deconvert anyone, or any other of the various straw persons of skepticism or nontheism often promoted by media personalities with more money and air-time than integrity.
Those to whom this letter is addressed are free to continue believing what they wish, what they want, and whatever it is that they feel a need to believe.
I am quite opposed to imposing on the ideological freedoms of others, since the same experience of the way the world appears to work that led to my skepticism and unbeliefs also shows me the utter futility of trying to force belief or nonbelief on anyone.
It doesn’t, can’t, won’t, and never has worked. Carry on believing as you wish. Or not. Your choice. I’m not concerned by what you believe, as long as no wrongdoing nor harm results from the consequences of the claims you hold to be true.
To paraphrase some awesome Wiccans I know and greatly respect, Do as thou wilt, but wrong none.
I do not feel that I’m in any real way exceptional in this as a skeptic, and if you can convince me otherwise, show me proof and I’ll credit you for it, and use your proof in future posts.
For those new to the site, I do not believe in any sort of supernatural component of reality, no claims purporting to be scientific but which ignore the values, findings, purpose, or methods of science, and I don’t mean just orthodox science, but all of it that truly abides by its criteria, standards of evidence, and rules of sound academic conduct, in and out of a physical academy.
I refer to anything that really is science, not just any sort of doctrine or belief system with pretensions to it.
By this I mean any area of research that gains us a real understanding of the natural and human worlds, that truly does add to our store of knowledge, not what merely makes us feel good, but what’s actually true as far as we have any genuine reasons to say we know.
Not those claims that ride science’s coattails without truly doing its work, and which thus disqualify themselves from playing the game.
This is not an ‘oops, I made a mistake,’ or an ‘I’m sorry’ post…Those are lame, pathetic, and it would be dishonest to apologize for statements I’ve made before on this site, even those I no longer agree with, and there are a few of those, I know.
Any statements I’ve made on this site of a derogatory nature toward certain parties are not aimed at the vast bulk of mentally sound, sincere, and sober believers, nor to the genuinely mentally ill with whom I empathize, but to the extremists, the trolls, the willfully ignorant and bigoted, the propagandists, the cynical, ironically closed-minded and sanctimonious people who promote for personal gain the sorts of claims criticized by we skeptics, on this site and others.
My view is that ideological and moral diversity is a good thing — we need it to have a functioning free society — so as I respect the rights of others to believe as they will, so too do I claim the right of unbelief, the right to doubt, to question, to inquire, most importantly, to find out and not just blindly accept what sounds good or what I need to be so, for myself.
As you freely promote your views via the right to free speech, I claim that same right of free speech to criticize those views by any legally permissible means available to me.
I allow you your right to believe. Kindly allow me my right not to, and the right to inform you as to why.
After all, how uncomfortable is it really to allow people to disagree, and to express that disagreement as you do your beliefs? Though I know well the annoyance people often have with being told their cherished beliefs are wrong. You don’t have to like being wrong, but you should be grown enough to accept it when it happens.
It’s part of the price of living in an imperfect real world were not everyone thinks the same way and not everything is true.
It keeps life interesting.
You don’t have to like it, but if you just can’t accept it, go live in a storybook place and time where and when everybody agrees with you, and have fun living a boring, empty, colorless life.
So as long as no one gets hurt, believe what you like, permit me the same rights you claim for yourself, and have a nice day and a terrific life.
Sincerely – Troythulu