I have the Kanji word “kami” tattooed on my belly. It looks like this:
The word means “spirits” and is often mistranslated as “god”. I love this symbol. I love this concept. The distance between spirits and god. Like stories, I think the universe is filled with wonder, with things unknown and difficult to explain. I believe in science. I believe in humanism. But more than these things, I believe in wonder.
On the internet, I’ve watched theists and atheists battle over the last several weeks, and I’ve found the sneering to be pretty tragic. What difference does it make what you believe, so long as you’re kind? I find atomic particles to be intensely comforting. And you love Jesus. Swell. You believe there is no benevolent force at work in the universe. She believes in Allah. That’s cool. Be kind.
All this sneering at the stupidity of the faithful is gross and intolerant. I know a Satanist who’s one of the most moral people I’ve ever encountered. I’ve met joyful, kindhearted Christians just like I’ve met wicked Atheists. And I’ve met the opposite as well. Atheists filled with compassion who are out there fighting for everyone’s rights, and mean little fuckers who want to destroy the world and claim they’re following the tenets of the New Testament.
There’s space in the world for all of us. There’s space in the world for wonder. For science. For reason. For faith. Our enemies aren’t gods. We are biology and we are conscience. We are intelligence and we are art. We are mysterious, sometimes awful, deeply fallible, miraculous creatures. And we are happier when we are asking questions and leaving space for things we don’t understand.