Over the past couple of weeks, there's been quite the exchange of letters in the National Post from atheists and believers.
I don't know if the agnostic set has weighed in yet but it's always been interesting to me that most people either wholeheartedly accept or reject the notion of God or some superior intellect/form/being.
To this day, my father still tells the story of when I was in Grade One and we were asked to cut out a turkey and then write something about Thanksgiving on it. I wrote, "Thanksgiving is the day you give thanks to God, if you believe in him." My outlook hasn't much changed in all the years since.
I'd like to say I have faith that there is a God but I don't. I know some religious people who are truly at peace with themselves and practise their faith with all the grace and goodness that God, if there is one, would surely have wanted. I think they are able to take great comfort in their faith because for them life isn't some fruitless, hedonistic pursuit that ends in an equally meaningless death.
If not faith, then it would probably be nice to reject God altogether. After all, if you have nothing to fear from an afterlife because there is no afterlife, then you might as well just go for the best ride you can find during this life.
Atheists primarily point to science and reason as their basis for rejecting God, saying that the God story is built on myths and the better humans get at scientific research and discovery, the more of those myths we dispel. They are partially right but science can't explain everything. For instance: the Big Bang Theory explains how the Universe became what it is but it can't explain where the stuff that was in the Big Bang came from (at least not to any degree that I understand).
Two things I really do despise are zealots of all religions along with those who try to pass religion off as science. I don't know that I've ever heard a "theory" as stupid as intelligent design which is just a bogus way of trying to introduce creationism into the classroom.
I've got news for the ID putzes: if there is intelligent design than Earth was one of the early failures because even its most advanced species (us) is an inefficient machine requiring one-third down time (sleep) and massive amounts of fuel (food and drink). On top of that, we can't survive outside of a very tiny band of temperatures and chemical compositions and are prone to any number of breakdowns. We're the fucking Ladas of the ID chain and in any real universe would have long been sent to the junkyard in favour of a Cadillac, a used Honda or even a Segway.
Anyway, my theory is that if there is a God, then God would probably want us to live as decent people who try not to screw anyone else around too much. I don't think there's a lot of mystery about that: almost all of us are imbued with a sense of right and wrong and the bottom line is if you're doing something that is negatively impacting others for no reason than your own personal gain, you're doing wrong.
If there is no God, we should nevertheless keep to the same standard of leading our lives. It can't hurt.