This has been a rough journey and even writing this I have learned a lot about myself. If I had committed to non-theism 15 years ago when I first fully doubted my faith, and come out as an agnostic I likely would not have struggled so much. I have been able to "believe" for a sort time by rationalizing what I am doing, and talking myself into it, but soon the cognitive dissonance becomes too strong and I retreat back towards a lack of belief.
This ends now. I will not try so hard to believe in things without evidence that I hurt myself or others anymore. I must be myself. This is why I've published these blog posts, however crudely written. To let myself out of my head.
I have a religion. It is a love of nature and of the mystery of existence. I have a life philosophy, Stoicism. And I have a way of knowing the world, Science. I think this holy trinity will see me through. No more backsliding, no more equivocation, just simple honesty. But as a scientist I am always open to new evidence! And to anyone who feels hurt or slighted by my changes of mind, or my flakiness of leaving organizations that I tried so hard to fit into... I am truly sorry. This has been a hard journey for me and I mean no harm.
I am now on the right course, I am pursuing reality and finally feeling a deep peace that I have been craving for so long.
The Cosmos, (God, Nature, the Ultimate, the One) is the source of all, and therefore worthy of reverence and study. From this study, humanity has learned that it is a conscious extension of the Cosmos. We are the consequence of, as well as component of, a web of cause and effect. From the Cosmos we briefly emerge, with a sliver of thoughtful independence, and to the Cosmos we eventually fully return.
Via this cosmic connection and our own influence on the web of cause and effect, lie our immortality. We are the products of the laws of nature and as such are eternally bound by these laws. More specifically, we are beings of the Earth, related to every other known being, and yet set apart by the refinement of our ability to communicate, investigate, learn, and change.
To live well in this world, I need to learn from it, this is the cultivation of Wisdom. From this knowledge it is clear that our species survives due to our ability to cooperate, we are social beings, we must live in cooperation, therefore Justice is my primary aim. To live well I need to not only to share and work with others, but also to control myself if I am to become the best example of humanity that I can; for this Temperance is needed. To be wise, just, and temperate in the face of hedonistic passions and clashing worldviews, Courage is needed. If these virtues are pursued and progress is made, then my eternal contribution will be a good one, I will, upon the end of this journey, be worthy to return to the Cosmos.
Where am I to gain this wisdom? Humanity has been seeking it for centuries. In science I can learn our most well supported understanding of the functioning of nature. From philosophy, how best to live as a member of a diverse society and pursue truth, beauty, and wisdom. From religion, the breadth and beauty of humanity’s contemplation of its place in the universe, as well as thanksgiving, community, culture, and charity. This pursuit is worthy so far as it does not contradict our best understanding of reality. Contradiction reveals either an incomplete understanding or an incorrect assumption. A belief in that which contradicts the laws of nature is tantamount to idolatry. When in doubt in any of these matters, it is best to hold no opinion!
It is my goal to align my life wholly to these principles. Contradictions and wrong paths are inevitable, but with effort and time, willingness to change and grow, the journey will have been worth the effort.