Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A freethinker, yes. An atheist? Not necessarily

Freethinkers are people who apply their own individual judgement in deciding what is true and strive to build their opinions on fact and knowledge, independently of authority, prejudice, group think and dogma.

Freethinkers are usually assumed to be atheist. I think this is not quite in line with the definition above. Since we don't really know how this universe came about, the existence of some creative power cannot be proven or disproven. Therefore wouldn't it make more sense that freethinkers should be assumed by default to be agnostics?

As far as I am concerned, keeping the question open does not in any way stop me from experiencing the sense of awe and wander at the miracle this world is.
This universe – billions of galaxies, stars dying, stars being born, atoms being forged – isn’t it just mind-blowing? Life on earth – how inanimate matter one day turned into a living thing – that is a miracle. We might one day figure out how it could have happened. That will not make it any less of a wonder. Each of us is a miracle of atomic engineering. We have billions of years of evolution behind us, enabling us to feel at home on this planet. If these are not blessings then I don't know what is. Even with no guarantees about our future, which a father-figure sort of God might grant, there is a lot to be grateful for.

However abstract and un-knowable the force that made this world possible, I think it could still be celebrated and – why not? – even worshipped.
In the same way that an optimistic or pessimistic outlook colours one's view of reality, we can also see the world and the universe as sacred or mundane. The question is: which one do you choose?

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