Allow me to explain this graph (click on it to see a legible version). A long, long time ago, I was a very devout Catholic. Then sometime while I was in college (isn’t it always that way) I started having some strange and disturbing thoughts. I’d been told for years that god would speak to me if I listened. And I’d gone to church and prayed the prayers, sung the songs, done the meditations, read and thought deeply about religion. But suddenly I came to the realization that while I really wanted to have god speak to me, there simply wasn’t a dialog happening. I was praying and listening but nothing was coming back the other way.
In the bible god was talking to folks all the time. Sometimes from burning bushes, sometimes through angels, and there was no question that people were really hearing him. And he made his presence known in other ways, too. There were miracles happening right and left. People were seeing the active presence of god right in front of their faces. As I thought about it more, it seemed that the world’s ability to record events as well as science’s ability to explain strange happenings through strictly natural means kept improving over time. And as science’s explanations improved, the records of god’s miracles dropped off proportionately.
That led me to the graph. The graph itself is conceptual, actual data points on the graph aren't exact and the definitions are deliberately vague. It reflects my thought that there’s a very close correlation between religion’s dropping ability to explain world events and science’s increasing ability to explain those events. There aren’t too many burning bushes these days. Nor loaves and fishes feeding multitudes, nor Red Seas parting. Ditto for unexplained thunder and lightning, if you go in for Norse or Greek theology. That correlation is mighty suspicious in my opinion. If the god explanation isn’t just a fancy way to say, “We don’t know what’s causing that,” there should still be some miracles happening.
I finally decided, if god wants to let me know he’s around and wants to talk to me, he can make it crystal clear. No vague feelings inside, no speaking through preachers, no attempts to interpret thousand year old texts. I want a burning bush or a band of angels if I’m to accept god again. Otherwise, I’m going forward without him.
I’ve usually called myself an agnostic because I leave the option open for that burning bush to show up sometime. But if I’m truly honest with myself, I’ve got to admit that I don’t put much chance in those things happening. I hesitate to say I’m an atheist because I can’t say for sure that god doesn’t exist. But if I had to bet, I’d certainly put a bundle on the “no god” side..