Monday, June 25, 2007

The Parable of the Deep Dark Well

A few months ago I penned my very mediocre first post and a lot has happened. I have engaged in lots of discussions with lots of people across the belief spectrum. Some of the conversations have been great and some – not so much. It has been a fantastic experience. However, a strange thing has happened and I feel like I have a much better understanding than I did before. No, I’m not accepting Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior (odds on that happening over 1 billion to 1). I understand that I will never change the minds of those who want to believe. For those who don’t believe, I’m merely preaching to the choir. For those in the middle, there are plenty of resources out there to help them question their god and make their own decisions. I don’t have much more to add to the discussion and I feel very much at peace.

I have learned that I don’t have to be anonymous and hide my beliefs. I proudly display a Darwin fish on the back of my truck and have received exactly one response. A nice woman stopped me a few weeks back in a parking lot and asked me a few questions about the truck. She said her husband was interested in one. We had a conversation for a few minutes and she then thanked me for my time and said, “I knew you were a reasonable person when I saw your Darwin fish.” I’ve never been flipped off or yelled at or discriminated in any way. Just one person had something to say about it and it was complimentary.

At work, I always feared discrimination amongst the very vocal Christian group. Who knows, I may be discriminated against in the future, but I don’t think I would work well with a believer. I also believe that although they are very vocal, they are a tiny minority so there is nothing to fear. I am fully out and it’s liberating!

So instead of blogging anonymously, I plan on living by example. I want people to see my relationship with my wife and children (there is a new one on the way!) and understand that it is possible to have a good family and good life without god. If they want to learn more I’ll offer. If they are not interested and want to cling to their beliefs, so be it.

That being said, I would like to close the blog with a story told to me by my dad. If anyone knows the author, I will update this post and give credit where credit is due. Until then, this is just a story told from one generation to another which I plan to share with my son when he is old enough…

There was a man who lived in America and felt that he just couldn’t grasp the meaning of life. He went to the churches and the synagogues and studied, but none of it satisfied his thirst for true knowledge. Through his studies, he learned of a great and wise guru who lived in India.

The man scraped together his savings and sought the guru. Upon arrival in India, the man relentlessly pursued the guru. His quest took him to the peaks of the Himalayas where after several months of asking, climbing, and seeking; he finally found the guru.

The man approached the guru and the guru smiled. “My son, what is it that you seek?”

“Oh wise guru, I have searched for you for so long. Please, please tell me – what is the meaning of life?”

“Life, my son, is like a deep dark well.”

The man was speechless for several moments. “Life is like a deep dark well,” he repeated blankly. For several minutes he just stood there absorbing the knowledge of what the guru told him.

Finally, he yelled back, “Life is like a deep dark well! I spent my life savings coming here; I tracked you down for months, and all you have to say is life is like a deep dark well?”

The guru look surprised as no one had ever questioned his wisdom before. He responded simply with, “You mean it’s not?”

The point of the story is that no one has the answers for us. No priests, preachers, rabbis, imams, or holy books. This life is precious and beautiful and tragically brief. We need to appreciate life for what it is and cherish the time we have here. Making life better for other people is a worthy goal, glorifying a non-existent deity and clinging to dogma and ancient writings is not.

If anyone needs to reach me, I am still at atheistwager@gmail.com.

Cheers!
Evan

14 comments:

Wil said...

Congratulations on the newcoming child, Evan!

Living in example and pure openness hiding nothing is a great accomplishment as not everyone does so because of fear. It is magnificent to see more people do it.

I've been reading this blog since the beginning (actually the first and only one I've been reading) and it's been a very worthwhile time full of interesting discussion. I wush you all the best in the future, good sir!

robustyoungsoul said...

Congrats, and thanks for the wonderful posts. They have always been very well written, entertaining, and sometimes touching.

Cheers, and as Journey said, "Don't start believing."

That's what they said, right?

;-)

Cragar said...

I find a new blog and it ends on the same day I find it.

Ah well, at least I have a few months worth of old posts to read...

Bible student said...

Dear Evan,

“A billion to one means there is still hope,” said the eternal optimist.

It’s been a blast!

Since this is coming out day, my pleasure of exercising my faith, through preparing and presenting scriptural arguments has never been so enjoyable. Jehovah’s Witnesses live for good conversation about God and his word.

I agree “glorifying a non-existent deity” is a bad idea considering how He feels about exclusive devotion. “Clinging to dogma” only works when it is your conviction. The age of “ancient writings” can only be measured by how long it’s been since you’ve taken them out for a spin.

Yesterday evening, we joined two other families, to view PBS/Independent Lens DVD “Knocking”. To our delight, the film makers balanced presentation is something to recommend. An 8 minute trailer and how we do it in Time Square are available online.

I wish you much success with your family. Your revealed concern and hunger for justice should serve you well in the future.

Contact me anytime at Isaiah30.20@gmail.com, I am forever in your debt.

Love,
Steve

Max said...

You're closing down your blog?! :(

This has been one of the best blogs I read in the past few months. I was also here from Day 1 and enjoyed all of your insights and stories.

Please reconsider and keep the blog up and running! Or start another one... =)

zilch said...

All the best to you and your family, Evan! Your posts have been insightful, and the discussions often illuminating.

Let me know if you're ever in Vienna, and the beer's on me. That goes for any of you posters out there.

Cheers, Scott (zilch).

MasterJediDan said...

Best of luck to you Evan, and may the force be with you all. Who knows, we may meet up on some other blog someday. Until then, cheers!

Daniel, aka Master Jedi Dan

kitty said...

Noooooo, don't close the blog! Or if you do, at least point us to your new one ;-) despite the plethora of religious types I've been really enjoying it.

On the uplifting note, I'm currently in America (Minnesota, the land of over 11,000 lakes) and I confess you guys get bad press as to the religiosity of the country - I was worried. In over 2 weeks I haven't yet had an encounter with any overtly religious person - least of all one hell bent on converting me/damning me! My faith in this nation has been restored, and I'm loving imy time here. Maybe we (atheists) are not so persecuted as is reported.

Anyway, please reconsider! But if you don't - I wish you and your family all the best! Take care,

Cat

bravo9 said...

AW -- good luck.

kitty -- where in Minnesota? I'm in St. Paul. I'm glad you're enjoying your time here.

kitty said...

Bravo - Mental! Also st paul! UMN campus here. Do you know if there is a brights group in the vicinity or anything? I work an obsene amount during the week but not much happening at the weekends :-s you can get me at iamkitten_icausemayhem [at] hotmail [dot] [com] (that applies to anyone not set on converting me ;-) )

BEAST said...

Congrats, Evan.

By the way,I have just meme-tagged you. Check out my post at:

http://atheisthaven.blogspot.com/2007/06/atheist-haven-has-been-tagged.html

Regards
Beast

Sailesh said...

Hey Evan! Don't close this blog down! I've been reading since the first post and I seriously love it!

MPalmer said...

God dammit! Don't leave!

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