From the Archives: Dancing Molecules: An Atheist Moment of Transcendence

Since I moved to the Freethought Blogs network, I have a bunch of new readers who aren’t familiar with my greatest hits from my old, pre-FTB blog. So I’m linking to some of them, about one a day, to introduce them to the new folks.

Today’s archive treasure: Dancing Molecules: An Atheist Moment of Transcendence. The tl;dr: Atheist writers, including me, often spend a lot of time talking about what we don’t believe in. In this piece, I talk about something I do believe in: a sense of transcendent joy and wonder and awe I sometimes get from the fact that the universe exists and that I get to be alive in it. And I talk about a specific experience of this that I had when I was dancing at a friends’ wedding.

A nifty pull quote:

To me, the idea that consciousness and emotion and experiences like ecstasy and joy are physical, biological phenomena — it doesn’t diminish these experiences. On the contrary. It makes them more amazing, more awe-inspiring. We are made up of essentially the same stuff as rocks and water and dirt and stars… and yet, out of this stuff, out of these atoms and molecules, we can be aware of ourselves, and of one another, and of the world around us. And we can shape that awareness, and create experiences that bring joy and delight to ourselves and one another. We can make vows to stick together for better or for worse… and we can dance for hours celebrating those vows, using our bones and nerves and muscles to generate connection and meaning, transcendence and joy.

That is just fucking awesome.

Enjoy!

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From the Archives: Dancing Molecules: An Atheist Moment of Transcendence
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