I know its been awhile since my last blog, which was about Alf, (that got no likes by the way). So, I thought I’d return with a question I’ve been asked since I was 19 years old.
Now, before I begin, let me lay down the ground rules for anyone out there, cause I know this is a touchy topic.
So here are the things that I would not like to hear:
For one, saying that I’m going to hell according to the bible, therefore I should convert. Circular reasoning that uses the Bible as justification for belief in God, invalid argument.
Also, telling me how great your new life is after your own conversion story. It fails to acknowledge the fact that you could be completely delusional, that you have no certifiable credibility, or that you would have the same experiences if you converted to Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, etc. Therefore, the argument is invalid. Insults are not arguments, while saying that I am close-minded is completely untrue seeing as I will readily accept good evidence for God while a theist will not readily accept good evidence against God. Both arguments are therefore invalid.
Saying atheists have no morals, therefore I shouldn’t be an atheist. This is poorly constructed and implies that a belief in God is necessary for morality to exist, argument invalid. Being ignorant of basic facts, such as evolution and the age of the Earth. This is a fallacy known as invincible ignorance in which the arguer knows little or nothing about a fact and turns a deaf ear to evidence, therefore all arguments from this approach are invalid.
Finally, saying that you will pray for me. Without proof of prayer having any influence on the physical, tangible, observable world, any argument through prayer is invalid. Saying that I will eventually find Christ and He will forgive me. Irrelevant argument that implies I will find the Truth as you see it sometime in the future without giving any supporting evidence of this Truth; therefore, it is invalid.
SO NOW, ON WITH THE BLOG.
Once again, a fair warning to all, this might be offensive as hell to some. Just try and understand that even though I think religion may be crazy or irrational, that doesn’t mean I universally dislike religious people or that I think everything they do outside of religion is worthless.
See, your religion may be inspiring to you. It may have stories that are inspiring to me. It may be rich in tradition and culture, it may encapsulate important events in human history. It may offer hope to people who have no hope left. It may serve as a useful insight into human nature. Humans may indeed have a preexisting facility to acquire belief systems similar to the one for language. It may provide a valuable ethical and behavioral framework. It may spread like a virus and mutate like bird flu. I don’t necessarily think you are weak minded for buying it, I think peer pressure is some powerful gumbo. But this blog isn’t about any of that.
This is about why I am an atheist, not why you should be one. And by atheist I mean that I strongly suspect that the core, underlying, supernatural claims of religion are nonsense. If you want me to not be an atheist and share your particular flavor of supernatural belief, you need to be able to perform the magic or produce the supernatural being you claim exists and subject that creature to a battery of tests under controlled conditions.
So why don’t I believe in god?
I’ll use Santa Claus as an analogy. Why it is you don’t literally believe in Santa and his North Pole factory. I bet for most of you, it’s not because you hate Santa, I mean who would? It’s probably not because you hate Christmas or despise giving or receiving gifts. I doubt it’s because you dislike having days off or eating awesome food with your family and friends. You probably can’t prove there is no Santa and even if you try, I assure you from long experience in dealing with “creationists”, I can offer a simple counter argument:
There is no evidence for “it”.
We’re adults who can get by fine at Christmas time and enjoy ourselves without “it” having to be true.
I believe evidence by far is the key. Something might not make sense, like Quantum Mechanics or something, but we accept it because of the evidence. On the other hand, something might make sense, like the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe, but we don’t accept it as valid, yet, because we have no evidence. The reason for this asymmetry is, as the late Carl Sagan said: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
My primary reason is a fairly common one, Evil. If God is omnipotent, omniscient, and “omnibenevolent”… then why evil? How could evil arise against the wishes of such a being?
I mean, you would think that getting a free ticket to heaven would be a life-changing experience, and you would be right. Just not towards a life of religion and worship. How could you do things that might be considered immoral, or at least wrong in god’s eyes, and still get to the pearly gates by saying you were sorry?
I remember when I was younger, I was pretty “spiritual” and believed in an after life, a higher power, etc. I didn’t affiliate myself with any particular religion. I would take a interest in the main ones, but always being an independent (some would say stubborn) thinker I reveled in figuring things out for myself. Why my starting position was that of a spiritual nature I’m not really sure of. Maybe it was simply the general consensus in the environment I grew up in.
I can admit that atheism is not the most sunny position in contrast to what religion can offer in regards to death, arguments against the ridiculousness and illogical notions of being immortal and in bliss aside, but not as much as religious people might have you think. Instead of seeking help from a big daddy in the sky in times of being distraught, depressed, etc. , I reach out to my fellow man (friends, family, professional help, etc.). If this life is all we have, and I am quite convinced of this, I will not waste my time reaching out to something that doesn’t answer at all, and offers nothing more than what simple introspection can achieve. No, I will reach out to something tangible, my fellow human beings, and I hope that those who surround me will do the same when they need help. I’m here, I’m real, and I may be able to help. Sorry I’m rambling a little now, but anyway…