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Beauty is Only Sin Deep September 29, 2008

Posted by sociallyacceptableinsanity in Atheism.

I spent this weekend outdoors, doing all of the myriad chores that fall under the heading of “winter preparation.”  I harvested the rest of the root vegetables in the garden, put away tools, covered four-wheelers, drained hoses, filled tires, stowed paint, organized sheds…you name it, I did it.  When you live on a homestead that encompasses several hundred acres, there is no end to that kind of work, but the tedium is ameliorated by the beauty of the setting.  I live on a high bluff overlooking the Tanana River, with a panoramic view that stretches for hundreds of miles.  Weather boils over the Alaska Range and sweeps acroos the Tanana Flats, birch and spruce are lit by the melancholy golden rays of a dying summer, and sunsets flame with an intensity that sears your nerve endings, leaving them raw and aching and yearning for more..  It is truly, awe-inspiringly lovely.

As I worked and took in this splendor, I was struck by the thought that the wild beauty I was surrounded by means something different to me than it does to most of the people that I share the earth with.  It saddens me to think that the vast majority of humans, experiencing the world and all of its riches, see only the hand of god.  The sillhouette of a mountain against an eggshell sky, the power and fragility of a leaf falling to the forest floor, the endless pageant of clouds marching across the horizon…all of these things are heart-wrenchingly mysterious, gloriously real.

To view the world through the filter of religion seems a horrible thing to me.   To take all of the majesty, the darkness, the mind-bending wonder that is nature and chalk it all up to the workings of a supreme being is to cheat yourself, to deny the incredible. 

It takes a thing of beauty and renders it flat.  It turns truth into lie.

It takes all of the fun out of it.



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