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I am an atheist… February 13, 2011

Posted by aquillam in Philosophy.
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I am an atheist.

If this offends you, too bad. If you’re so insecure that exposure to a different belief system offends you, you should find another blog to read. Really. Go away.

If you if you do believe in god, or enlightenment, or spirituality, or whatever, I am not going to call you stupid, or foolish, or say you’ve been duped . If you happen to be an atheist and that offends you, please see the second sentence of the post.

I had a whole other post, quite a while ago, about my thoughts on Belief in god, the gist of which is that Belief is about a lot more than a simple belief in the supernatural. It’s about community, connectedness, a sense of control, or a source of comfort. It’s about, well, belief. I’ve known many people had “felt God’s presence” or had a “miraculous” experience (and I mean those quote marks as actual quotations!) I have been awed, felt euphoric, and I have had great things happen to me, but I have never felt the need to ascribe any of those feeling or events to a particular deity. I also don’t feel the need to negate the feelings of someone else  just because I don’t share them.  If you Believe and  you get something out of it, that’s fine with me.

I do have a little trouble with the people who insist their Belief is about Truth and everyone needs to follow the Truth. They’re actually the ones that convinced me that atheism was the way to go.

Group A and B both claim to have the Truth, but their Truths are contradictory. Group A thinks group B is evil and should/will all go to hell. Group B thinks the same thing about group A. A few people in both groups are prepared to take matters into their own hands, since god doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. Therein lies the problem. If one of those groups really is right, shouldn’t god be doing something about it? At the very least, there should be some sort of evidence of god’s will that people OUTSIDE the group will understand. I can understand why group B wouldn’t convert to group A’s belief system: they hate each other, and that always gets in the way. But there’s a whole bunch of people in groups C – ZZZ who aren’t converting in droves either.

(side note,  I do find some irony in ZZZ representing an arbitrarily large label, as well as a common representation for something boring enough to put you to sleep.)

Anyway, I’ve had more than a few arguments with True Believers, and been caught between arguments (My favorite was the time a Mormon and an evangelical got into it over my celestial sphere – I think the evangelical actually claimed the universe was geocentric at one point, though by that time neither one was particularly cogent.) The outcome of these arguments is that I have come to the conclusion that if there is a god, he/she/it/they are right ass-holes. As far as I can tell, if he/she… exists, he’s hiding away and laughing while the various groups destroy themselves in an effort to prove themselves right. That’s not someone I think is worth worshiping.

That does of course leave me with two options. I could actually go with the “god is unknowable” agnostic option. However, that feels like a cop-out to me. It’s like saying I really want to believe, but I can’t find any empirical evidence, so I’m going to say god is real but undetectable.  Like the invisible pink unicorn. That offends my scientific sensibilities, that everything should be testable or explorable, even if it remains unexplained. It also leaves me right back with god is just a big jerk, who would rather let us fight over which one is right than provide any guidance.

So I go with Atheism.

And you know what? I could be wrong.

So could you.

And that may be the only Truth with a capitol T out there.

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Comments»

1. Josh Ruff - February 14, 2011

Hey Shannon,

Being disconnected from you guys out here in CO, I’m not sure I have right to weigh in on this on a personal level, but since you brought up the subject, I hope you’d give what I have to say some consideration. I appreciate your honesty and was interested in your thoughts so I wanted to respond.

I can say this certainly doesn’t offend me. I do happen to fit into group A, however it seems that you have had some tough experiences there from those claiming to represent faith. I’m sorry to hear that. I can only assure you that my point isn’t to simply overpower you with startling logic or insight. Nor is my goal to astound you with an overwhelming guilt trip, or try to prove how wrong you are and how right I am. I’d just like to give you my thoughts and see what you think.

You noted that, “Group A and B both claim to have the Truth, but their Truths are contradictory. Group A thinks group B is evil and should/will all go to hell.”

That point shouldn’t categorize how a Christian views others. A reasonable man might consider dying for someone he thought was really worthy, however Christ on the other hand, choose to die for those who had openly rejected him and had earned no special merit. He did not see those who did not believe as evil, but rather loved them first. He was roundly criticized by the “religious” of his day for keeping company with those considered “evil” by religious standards. He came not in judgement but in compassion and mercy. Should a follower of his not be known to act this way?

I don’t claim to know the will of God entirely. I would say it is safe to say that his will would be for you to live abundantly. I would point out that he has chosen to have his followers and believers do his work for him. It would seem we who believe are an inadequate lot at times, but then a God who choose to send his Son through an unwed teen pregnancy and would select a murderous persecutor of his followers to pen the bulk of the new testament has purpose all his own. No right thinking person would plan this way, but then God seems to delight in making things work his own way.

In any event, that means it is up to those like me to be his face and hands. It is my hope that in responding to you I am hopefully reflecting something that would inspire a worthwhile dialogue.

Hope you and Joe are well, mom had a great time visiting you all,

Josh


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