In a discussion with one of my readers [people read this?!], we came to talking about what I actually believe.
I was raised semi-Catholic by my family and even made it all the way through to confirmation when I was twelve. My parents (who were raised by my significantly more religious grandparents) were Christmas/Easter/wedding/funeral-type Catholics even before I stopped believing.
I am an atheist, but I’m certainly not among those who believe that there’s nothing at all beyond our corporal forms on Earth. I just think humanity never had the capability to accurately perceive or describe the Great Unknown, so we have all of these disparate and ridiculous philosophies that have tried and failed to make sense of it throughout history.
My personal belief is much simpler and based on science. Namely quantum physics, and Einstein’s law of conservation of energy…i.e. energy cannot be created or destroyed.
In quantum physics, scientists have documented that the data from our observations has as much to do with who or what is making the observation as the system we’re observing. It’s not humanity’s fault that religions are stupid. It’s just that all this time we’ve been trying the equivalent of taking something’s temperature with a microscope, and when the results didn’t make sense, we filled in the gaps with bullshit. Our tools, chiefly the human brain and our senses, are inadequate for this purpose.
Think of it this way. The foundation of everything we know about animate and inanimate objects at the subatomic level are charged particles: protons, electrons, and neutrons. Firing neurons in a brain, a cell dividing and growing into an organism, the heart maintaining a heartbeat, or a plant using photosynthesis to convert sunlight to chemical energy for growth are all examples of this energy at work. We may not know where this energy comes from, or where it goes after death, but through physics we DO know that it can’t just disappear.
My best guess based on this data is that when we die, the energy powering our bodily functions just rejoins the underlying, imperceptible current that creates and sustains everything. Recent experiments with that large hadron collider in Switzerland to find the Higgs boson (or “God Particle”) are basically trying to peer into this system.
So, maybe it means that the Hindus and others who believe in reincarnation are closest to the truth. Nobody knows for sure.
All I’m saying is, believing in what we can observe via the scientific method is better than blindly believing in millenia-old supernatural folk tales.
Vaya con neutrinos, friends.