Mister Pterodactyl
Friday, June 11, 2004
Well, it happened again. Somebody asked me about my religion.

I suppose it doesn't really happen that often. It seems like it does though. Somebody asks me, so I say I'm an atheist.

[By the way, I don't really think 'atheist,' but having no belief in supernatural entities that are responsible for the creation of the universe and expect me to behave in certain ways, it's the only word people understand. Agnostic, maybe, but that’s for another post.]

Often, the person then comments, "what made you choose that?" Or something similar. I never could answer that to my own satisfaction until the other day.

One does not choose beliefs. One comes to them. I don't remember ever deciding to become atheist; that is a result of experience and reflection. Likewise, I didn't choose my political views.
I do choose what books I read, what movies I watch, what foods I eat, based on what I like or prefer, but I never consciously chose what books, movies, foods to like.

So where do these things come from? I cited ‘experience and reflection,’ but that’s not completely satisfactory either. What experiences can I credit with having formed my religious/political views? Or my food preferences, for that matter? I can’t turn to the influence of others; I was raised in a (more or less) Christian atmosphere, the people around me have had widely varying political opinions, I just can’t get enough kimchi (most Americans can’t stand the stuff). I can’t assert superior intelligence, much as I’d like to; there are many perfectly intelligent people who I disagree with on any issue you care to name. I can’t claim some special knowledge that others lack; how would I even know I had it?

Mister Pterodactyl will be considering this issue. More later.

BTW, any ideas?

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