YOU are the only person who can decide what you will believe about things that cannot and never have been disproved nor proved empirically.
It cannot be taken away from you by anyone. Some individuals at Auschwitz found that out. Way down in the very core of your being, if your assessment of all you have experienced directly, heard, read, thought about is that there is no higher intelligence and no higher power than humans, that is your right. And if everything you have experienced directly, heard, read,thought about is that there is some higher intelligence and power, and that whatever or whoever it is cares about you personally, that is your right.
Also, if books are banned, if prayer is banned, if you are not allowed to speak freely anywhere and say what makes sense to you, or if anyone tries to intimidate you or make you feel stupid, or small, or confused for thinking anything other than what THEY have arrived at in THEIR inner core, you are the master of your innermost choice.
As a lifetime student of many subject, including political philosophy, philosophy of science, and dozens of others, I can tell you that science has NEVER disproved that you have a rational choice. Some of the greatest thinkers in history have had religious beliefs, and some of the greatest thinkers in history have been atheists. I encourage you to read the ideas of BOTH. I encourage you to then think FOR YOURSELF.
I began searching for answers as a child and still search to this very day. And my choice is to choose for myself, and for YOU to be free to choose for YOUR self.
My parents were happily married over seventy years. My wife and I have been married over fifty years. We raised out children to believe that THEY HAVE A CHOICE as to whom and what they would believe until and unless someone proves it wrong.
I have a handful of friends who are atheists, each of whom is highly, highly intelligent, and each of whom, like me, may read as many as a hundred books a year. We have enormous tolerance for each other's ideas. I have far more friends who are Christians, and only one friend who is a Muslim. They are most of them highly, highly intelligent.
And the fact that so many of them are has more to do with the fact that I am drawn to highly intelligent people who are TOLERANT of opinions other than their own.
Among my Christian friends and family members are several PhDs, two of them PhDs in bio-sciences, a PhD in chemistry, a brother who literally before retirement worked on outer space research and development. One of my siblings was a great thoracic surgeon and worked under one of the greatest of all in heart surgery research. One Christian friend of my is a gynecologist and another, who lives just two doors down is a neurosurgeon.
Let me be abundantly clear in divulging that I know people who CLAIM to be Christians and do not practice what they avow. I know at least one atheist who has done time in a federal penitentiary for criminal fraud, but I know another who lives an exemplary life and, in fact, loves music and sings in a choir in an Episcopal Church. He is not a bigot.
Some self-proclaimed religious persons ARE bigots, and some atheists are bigots. They are not content for you child to hear ALL SIDES of all the arguments both empirical and arguments as to how different individuals perceive what lies BEYOND the yet empirically ascertained facts.
I would not ban EITHER the teaching of evolutionary theory in public schools NOR exposure of kids to atheistic stances. The very classics portray multiple deities. And we encouraged our sons when they were growing up to read the classics. And, yes, we were open to their discussing where they were in their own searches for meaning. My wife and I raised our sons to study all sides of things, to think deeply and much, and to know that their mother and I NO CONFLICT between those things that are science's and those things science has never been able to answer.
Here is my offer, dear reader. Let anyone tell me the person, the experiment, the collection of experiments that rules out God, without a bunch of OPINION OR SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETATION presented under color of facts certain, and I will personally congratulate, support and spread that message. The same goes for any empirical evidence that RULES IN the existence of a loving God, and I will do likewise.
I am FREE. You are FREE. I would not take your FREEDOM away from you or your child.
It is a part of my personal political philosophy that if there are two or three or ten students in a public school who are atheists, or whose parents would BAN any book, or practice of a religion in a school, then let some arrangements be made to free those kids from whatever they or their parents are unwilling for their children to be exposed to.
It would be tyrannical to force the children who do not want to know what other children or their parents believe to listen. As for me, I wanted my children, and now my grandchildren to hear it ALL. Let it all hang out.
And if, at a football game, ten thousand people want to hear, or have nothing against hearing, a prayer, and ten do not, then let the ten bring sound-cancelling earphones with them. Ten thousand should not be forced to roll over and play dead for ten... even if I am one of those ten. Yes, if an atheist wants equal time, let him have equal time. And if the crowd wants to drown out the prayer, and listen in silence to the atheist, let them
do the one or the other.
If something is so, then it is so, and all the opining in the world will not make it otherwise. If something is not so, then it is not so, and all the opining in the world will not make it otherwise.
I will be attacked by bigots for this message and for talking AGAINST censorship of anyone. I will be accused of being the bigot and the bad guy. But you are FREE to choose. I would not take it from you. And science has NEVER established that it should be taken from you.
Exercise your freedom. Read and think on any and every subject by any and every author you can find. But you cheat yourself if you read ONLY ONE SIDE. And you cheat others if you strive to deprive THEM of opportunity to get both sides, rather than only one side.
I wish you freedom, and hope that you will wish others freedom to learn ALL the arguments, and choose each for himself/herself.
P. S. This very day I am reading a book titled "The Beak of the Finch." It supports evolutionary theory in a way that is captivating, compelling, reasonable, rational.
It is excellently and beautifully written.
I am a Christian not by empirical certainty but because I have listened to all sides, and have found none to establish that I cannot choose for myself, and be as scientifically literate and rational and intelligent as another who chooses the other side.
Anyone who tells you you cannot believe in God and be in accordance with science is
either suffering under the delusion that his opinion is the only correct opinion, or he is a deliberate liar. I try to give the benefit of the doubt to ignorance, until established otherwise. But many, many highly intelligent Christians are in the sciences. And if you think that some of them are not under pressure from atheists who have clustered in certain academic circles, check it out. There IS pressure in some areas to shut them up, sandbag them, or run them off? Yes, there is. I know first hand of specific instances. I know some of the individuals involved. And I would NOT encourage a child from a Christian family to go where he or she cannot speak freely without having cause to regret it.
But do not believe me. Check it out for yourself. Get all the facts and then believe whomever you wish. Do whatever your conscience dictates. Be a bigot if it suits you. But if you are not, then my hope is that there are enough non-bigots in the world to keep us FREE from the few who are.
Dear reader, I believe in YOU. Most of you will find your way, no matter what I say and no matter what anyone else says.
I would die for you to be free to make any choice you chose for yourself, but not for me or for others... just for yourself.