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I am a new parent. My interests are secularism, learning, parenting, religion, career planning, and adult education.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Things Strangers Say

So I've been able to get out with the baby a couple of times now and one thing I wasn't prepared for was all the people who stop me to admire my little Bebo. She is adorable, if I say so myself, and so far everyone who sees her confirms my opinion (or they are being polite).

Anyway, I was in Zellers the other day and a old lady stopped by my cart to admire little Bebo. I have to admit that I totally didn't know how to respond when she said, "I don't know how anyone couldn't believe in God, when babies are such a miracle."

For a moment, I wanted to say, "Well, I don't believe in God, but that doesn't mean that I don't marvel at the life of my little daughter."

But that seemed a little snarky and I didn't have time for a debate. So I just said, "Well, everyone is entitled to their beliefs."

I do believe that, it's just that I don't like it when people assume atheists do not experience awe and wonder in the same way that religious people do.

Having been both a believer and now a non-believer, I can honestly say that awe and wonder has always been a powerful perk of being human and has nothing whatsoever to do with whether I believe in a supernatural power. Instead of attributing the miracle of life to a God I`m not sure exists, I can marvel at the complexity and rareness of evolution and our genetic closeness to all living things - very apparent in the inborn reflexes of newborn humans.

In fact, I am even more amazed at the "miracles" of life than I was when I believed everything was designed by God - because it appears all this beauty happened by chance.


  1. As someone who does believe in a 'God' I can't say I subscribe to the belief that all "miracles" are of God's making. I think that is illogical from the perspective of someone who does believe in divinity. That's a long one to explain, so I won't do it on your comments! Bebo IS beautiful though and i can see why people are stopping you left, right and center. HUGS!

  2. Thanks for your comments - of course, not everyone who believes in God can be painted with the same brush - and that is a pitfall I need to avoid! Thanks for the hugs, the comments, and the compliments to Bebo!

  3. oh, my turn ...

    as a gal back in the midst of deciding what i believe, i think about some phrases we use that (i think) mean the same thing, but are expressed differently.

    1. thank god! - for people who believe, they mean it literally. for people who don't, it can mean "i'm grateful for whatever brought this wonderfulness to pass"

    2. anything along the lines of what that lady said to you - for people who believe, it is a way of expressing the awe you referred to. for people who don't (of which i once was, and may once again be), it can be heard as "i can't believe something so amazing happened by chance and it makes me feel all gooey inside, so i have to label it something".

    3. you are in my prayers - for people who believe, this is (again) literal. for those who don't, it can mean i am thinking about you and sending positive thoughts your way.

    okay. getting off the lecturn.

  4. I don't know Cath - when someone comes out and says "I can't believe people don't believe in God, because babies are so awesome" I can't interpret that ant other way but "atheists are nuts because they don't believe what I do". I'm pretty sure that's what she meant.


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