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On Rationalism
Since I've started college, my views on religion have become rather harsher, for a couple of reasons.

Though I was raised Christian, my exposure was mainly to what I call "sane Christianity" - people who believed in God and saw that as a basis for morality, but didn't deny science or use their beliefs as a basis for bigotry. This has given me a relatively relaxed view on religion. I disagree with it because I don't personally find it rational to believe, but I've never had reason to hate theists, or think them irrational or stupid solely because they believed.

My first encounters with real bigotry have been at college. A group of truly terrible fundamentalist preachers came to my school during Pride Week, and the vitriol they shouted was so cartoonishly awful as to be funny (We played Bigot Bingo.) I'd heard about people like that in theory, but the direct realization that people actually believed that bull was stark and deeply off-putting.

I've also been reading a lot more about rationality - about Occam's Razor, and Privileging the Hypothesis - there is little reason to believe a theory without having evidence to bring it to your attention, and Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions - if you answer a question and it is still mysterious, then something is wrong.

I've discovered that "you can't prove me wrong," isn't a valid argument, that there needs to be significant cause to believe in the highly unlikely, and that it really, truly irritates me when someone assumes that the elimination of the supernatural also removes meaning and wonder - yes, I believe that my consciousness is purely a product of neurons, but I'm not "mere meat." Nothing is 'mere." Besides, finding out the actual reasons for existence is much more interesting than closing questions with "God said." There need not be any special mystical significance to my existence or my consciousness for me to exist and to enjoy existing.

I still don't hate religion, and I refuse to become so militant that I must always argue my point - I'd never stop arguing. I still have religious friends and relatives, and I know that they're neither stupid people nor bad ones. I prefer to think of religious belief as a logical error, not a personality flaw or a moral issue. But I do see it as an error.


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