I was checking my feeds in Google Reader this morning and when viewing my Digg Technology feed I came across this post titled “Why are Geeks Often Atheist“? This title really piqued my interest as I consider myself a geek and have had some recent conflict regarding religion. I’ll get into that later but I digress. I quickly clicked on the link to Digg. I didn’t click through directly to the linked article. My normal modus operandi is to first peruse the comments which are often more entertaining than the what the post is linked to. This topic generated an enormous response. With 3711 Diggs and 913 commenter’s as of this writing, it is by far one of the most popular posts I’ve ever seen. The passioned comments from people about branches and religion in general rivaled those of the evangelistic mac owners I’m used to encountering. Below are some comments I liked from Digg.

Supporting Christianity

I’m a perfectly happy Christian geek. I believe the Universe is however many billions of years old, that evolution happened at that much of the old testament is metaphorical, simplified for the people of that time. I believe the Big Bang happened. I won’t exclude a scientifically proven concept, or refuse to consider one that may not be proven, simply because it isn’t compatible with some part of the OT. I believe all men are equal, I have no prejudice against gay people – such things seem, to me, completely contradictory to most other parts of Christianity. And every so often things happen to me which reaffirm my faith, regardless of what would currently seem logical. But I still haven’t found any geeks who agree with me, but I don’t really have long term contact with many and I never really ask most, so I don’t really know. So yeah, I hope I’ve helped some of you who are tearing your hair out at the very thought of religion understand why I’m like this.

Supporting Atheism

religion (and by religion, I mean religious organizations, such as Catholicism, Judaism, etc) are ruled by faith, and faith by nature is deemed as truth without knowledge, truth by belief, which in logical terms is completely irrational, and I dont think “geeks” are the only ones who are often atheists, but instead I just see atheism (or agnosticism) as a belief in nothing but rationality and truth, and instead of keeping a close mind about what is true and what isn’t, like many if not all religions, atheism is about having an open mind about the world, and accepting it as we discover it.

Many of the smartest people I have ever met, from fellow students to professors, are often atheists, and I think through science and the spread of information (especially through the internet) the numbers of atheists in the world is going to rise tremendously. I mean we already see it in Japan: about 65% of the entire population is atheist. Also in high GDP per capita countries such as Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, etc., and I mean, atheists have been persecuted for their beliefs ever since 400 BC with Socrates because since then, governments have NEEDED religion to control the people.

I am very happy as an atheist to be living in such a great time like now, because personally, I think the world is going to go through a big change. Higher morals, not ruled by religion, but ruled by themselves, no more wars due to beliefs based on irrationality, and my favorite, no more ****ing church.

Supporting Agnosticism

I am an agnostic, and I’ve heard more crap come out of the atheists on this board than any of the christians.

Atheism DOES mean that you do not believe in a god. You aren’t apathetic about it; your position is that a god does not exist. That is why there is an ‘a’ in front of that ‘theism’.

The bright movement is so grossly pretentious, I have to laugh at anybody that associates themselves with it. Why not just call it the “we’re so much fucking smarter than you” movement.

The reason that I chose to consider myself agnostic as opposed to atheist is that atheism is doing the exact same thing that any religion is doing: claiming knowledge about the supernatural. Obviously there is no proof that anything supernatural exists, but that is all, a lack of proof. To claim that god doesn’t exist means that your frame of knowledge extends beyond the natural universe, and is at that point, ironically, a faith based statement.

To say that all Christians are dumb/stupid/whatever is not only intolerant, but ignorant. Now, when we start getting into the realm of fundamentalists, who are blatantly disregarding scientific evidence in order to support their own beliefs, that is a different issue. But most Christians would gladly admit that the way that they live their life is predicated on how they interpret the world around them, and that their religion is simply an articulation of their belief system or moral code. I cannot fault anybody for that.

I plan to go back and read more comment as well as the large thread of comments generated by the actual article. But first a little background about my religious history.

I was born to a Jewish father who married my Catholic mother. This was by no means an easy feat for them to accomplish as my father’s parents were opposed to the marriage. After a few years of marriage, and around when I was four years old, they got divorced. In that time I don’t remember any religious experiences except our hybrid celebration of Christmas and Hannukah. After the divorce my mother brought us up and beyond a brief time when I attended sunday school as a kid and some infrequent visits to church, religion wasn’t really part of my life. That was pretty much it…until I got married.

My wife was brought up Mormon and she was aware of the lack of religion in my life and really hadn’t pushed the issue at all. She did however state that when we had kids that she wanted religion in their lives. She wasn’t specific on the type but conveyed the importance religion played in developing her morals and making her a better person. I agreed and once our kids were old enough, they attended day care at a Lutheran school and continue to do so today.

I had taken a very passive role with regards to attending church and other religious functions more in support of my wife and kids rather than it having any meaning for me. I have always believed in a higher power, but have pretty much felt uncomfortable in organized religious settings always having a skeptical feeling about them. Perhaps it was based on all the negative aspects I had heard and was focusing on. I also seem to have issues with some of the rigid aspects of having someone dictate on how I need to live my life. I never felt I needed to worship with other people to help me be a better person. To my knowledge, I was already living a respectable life as a good husband and father and didn’t need anyone to question or validate that.

I am however a very open minded person and regardless of what I believe, I respect the choices other people make and when it comes to religion, as long as they’re path is based on becoming a better person, the flavor doesn’t matter to me.

Recently a new event has spurred my wife’s encouragement for me to increase my religious involvement. She feels very strongly that our children need to be baptized. She also feels I should as well. This made me think quite a bit and posed a big decision for me. My thoughts are that pursuing a religion can’t be taken lightheartedly. I didn’t feel comfortable continuing my passive status and getting baptized just to appease her. I felt that if I was to do this, it had to be a meaningful commitment to me and to my family. So after giving this much thought we agreed to find a church that we both felt comfortable with. We have since found one and have been pretty happy. So here I am, on the path of learning the principles of Christianity. We currently are attending services and have a weekly class we go to where we read and discuss the bible in a group small group setting. I have supplemented this by also reading “The Case for Faith” and plan to read “The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict Fully Updated To Answer The Questions Challenging Christians Today“, “Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals“, and several more books that address people with views such as myself on religion. For now I have been enjoying what I’ve learned and will continue the process to see if I will be able to truly commit my life to religion.

Interesting Resources