Are We Really Freethinkers as Atheists?

Imagine the following scenario: A team of researches at a well known university sequence obscure segments of human DNA. These ones in particular are thought to have remained unchanged throughout the history of life.  We share them in common with all lifeforms, they’re present in the most primitive of microorganisms.   One night someone was tasked with sorting raw data files using specialized software. Normally, this person just places them on the PC’s desktop and drags them into an application icon.  Because of late night exhaustion, one was put into a text editor by accident.  Normally, this would yield a bunch of garbled nonsense,  However, in this occasion there was the following message: “Greetings, I am God, creator of the universe, this component of life that you are analyzing is a testament to my work.”

The message seemed to repeat in what looked like other languages, at least those that used the Latin alphabet.   Changing the character encoding to Cyrillic revealed the message in Russian, Ukrainian, etc.  Switching to Chinese showed the message in Mandarin, Cantonese, and so on.  The researcher thought that this was a joke, a prank by a colleague.  Most of them where more skeptical than dumbfounded the next day but decided to resequence the DNA segment.  The message persisted so other scientists at different universities were contacted.  They repeated the procedure and got the same outcome.  Different methods were used but again, the text persisted.  The chances of this being a coincidence is so infinitesimal that the fraction is cumbersome to represent even in scientific notation.  The evidence was clear, not only did God exist but that God was omniscient.  This entity encoded this information into the building blocks of life billions of years ago.  It knew that someday we would evolve, use computers, be able to decode DNA, and speak the current set of world languages.  Eventually this revelation was made public and world belief systems reacted accordingly.

This thought experiment is one that I’ve repeated in my mind many sleepless nights.  The fallout from this event is predictable for those of different religions.  It would just be used as confirmation for their specific god.  However, it gets hazy when you consider what those that lack faith would do.  I started to ponder how I would react to hearing such news myself.  Would I remain skeptical despite overwhelming evidence or would my mind receive such a possibility?  If I’m honest then the answer is the former and I can speak for many of my fellow non believers as well.  I fear that we’d become luddites akin to flat Earthers, rejecting any proof regardless.  The reason is simple, emotion is the most potent means of closing the mind.  I don’t blame anyone as some have had horrible abuses inflicted on them by those claiming to operate under the Lord’s name.  Even if they did leave religion based on intellectual reasoning, that baggage will always be there.  Perhaps it’s some deeply ingrained defense mechanism akin to avoiding hot stoves after being burned.  If you bring up the possibility of god in an atheist forum, even if you do so in a non aggressive manner, you’ll be mocked mercilessly.  This lends credence to this theory.  It is worth noting that some will be exempt from this as they left the faith without having a troubled history.

It’s time that I eliminate this mental holdout.  I must be open to the possibility of a god if it exists.  I cannot consider myself a free thinker if I don’t do so.  I call on my fellow atheists to do the same, set aside your emotions and evaluate what you claim to be.  Take the position of uncertainty because neither nor I possess the absolute truth.  This is by no means an altar call and I still have yet to see evidence pointing to a deity.  This is a call to rationality, to openness.

 

1 thought on “Are We Really Freethinkers as Atheists?

  1. Throughout my life, I’ve been dumbfounded by the reasons people come to our leave the faith. Like the death of your grandma to cancer has anything to do with the question of the existence of God. Did you not know that cancer kills people before it happened to your grandma? Didn’t you know the bible promises hardship? Didn’t you read about the life story of Paul? In what universe does cancer => no God?
    The more someone has been abused by Christians, the less rational they tend to be on matters of faith. We’re simply not rational beings.

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