Ardent atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris aren’t shy about touting the ridiculousness of mainstream religion. I can hardly disagree with them there. Dogma can be a dangerous game, or in the least a hindrance to personal growth. It’s understandable why a growing number of individuals identify with atheism over traditional religions given the hypocrisy, scandal, and violent behavior associated with certain faiths. Though, we should distinguish between those who use their religion to better themselves (yes these people do exist and some of them do make the world better for others), and those unfortunately fearful individuals/groups who would use their religion to support bigotry, ignorance, and down right hatred. We should learn to see something for what it is, to separate the actions from the language, and not pigeonhole entire belief systems because of the actions of certain adherents of this or that belief.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Most of us use terms like Christian, Muslim, atheist, or agnostic as self-identifiers. None of these terms represent anything more then an adopted perception of what’s going on in our reality. Though, agnosticism can at least be respected for being associated with a lack of certainty about anything, most other belief systems error in their certainty about what reality is. Here is where my beef with the hardcore scientific materialists lies. It is in their certainty in which they are similar to many fundamentalist religious practitioners. Such certitude becomes nothing more then its own dogmatic belief system.
The greatest contradiction that lies with the hardcore scientific materialists is in most mainstream scientists concession that we do not fully understand the workings of our own consciousness. True, we have gained much in our knowledge of consciousness due to imaging techniques such as MRIs and in learning more about the chemical pathways that affect our shifts in mood etc., but there is much more information to be attained in understanding the complexity that is the human brain. So, if our perception is how we gauge the reality within which we find ourselves immersed, and our understanding of this perception is incomplete, then how can we be certain of anything? It is the notion of having faith rather then certainty in ideas that makes more sense in the end. Faith may be unwavering, but it allows for doubt. That is why it is faith. If there wasn’t a chance it might not be true, it would be a known. True when some people talk of faith, what they really mean is dangerous certainty, but we must consider the statement “I believe in God,” to be one of faith, where as a statement such as “I know there is/isn’t a God,” to be a statement of certainty.
Another issue to consider is in declaring yourself right, you give yourself the moral high ground over others. This is a dangerous place to be. Such egoic perceptions can eventually lead to the rationalization of harmful behaviors. So, let it be known that I am not countering scientific materialists by saying my ideas are right and theirs’ are wrong (though there’s always a bit of ego in these arguments). I am just saying none of us should feel to “right” about anything. For in the end, what’s right and wrong can be observed to be an issue of relativism in our daily experience. Every up has a down, every left a right, and so on and so forth.