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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why I'm an Atheist and Why Perhaps You Shouldn't Be...

In the brief discussions I've had with two fellow Atheists at work, I've devoted a little more thought on the topic than I usually do... I started thinking about how or why I became one. One of said friends mentioned how his girlfriend had dabbled with the idea of becoming one when some horrendous traumas had barged rudely into her life, but she remains a Catholic today.

It occurred to me just how wrong that turns of events was. If you embrace an ideology, it's because you believe wholeheartedly that it is true, and not because the alternative is too horrible or painful to accept. Also, the entire basis of Atheism is on logic, and science (bear with me, religious people. I don't mean to imply your religion does not embrace those two concepts, but that they are not high on the list of descriptors when it comes to other priorities such as "love", "forgiveness", etc.) and so to run to it out of passion seems entirely contradictory.

People have so many misconceptions about Atheists too. I do have a set of moral beliefs, I just gathered them from various cultures and individuals and made them my own, and frequently question them or examine them through the eyes of a devil's advocate (no pun intended). My moral compass lies in me and not in a book. I am also not to be confused with a nihilist or a depressed person. Just because I believe your life ends with your last breath does not mean that I believe you should live your life with any less joy, hope, or compassion for the rest of the world. It also doesn't mean that I view the existence of the universe as something mundane and lacking true beauty. On the contrary, I think the complexity of evolution and the perseverance of life to simply be and progress is awe-inspiring to an extreme. I find that to be far more impressive than the idea of some bloke with a white beard "poofing" everything into being with a simple click of his fingers. That's far too easy and it over-simplifies the complex balance of life's industriousness and sheer serendipity of each organism to survive to reproduce the next.

On the other hand, I may be entirely wrong and this may be what's in store for me:


The Dean of Cincinnati said...

You are being far too friendly to our friends suffering hallucinations.



Haitham Seelawi said...

Logic and science have their limits. In all honesty science is a mere endeavor of bringing order to a chaotic world that we observe, order that only exists in our brains more often than not. Scientists do leaps of faith (i.e. accept axioms) as long as they lead to effective frameworks through which they can see life more predictable, even though, again, they understand that theories do not necessarily correspond to the true universe that exists outside their brains.

However, one can still see inconsistency in religion regardless of logic and science, and that is the most disturbing part about religion. For instance the omniscience of a God, and freewill of humans, are not compatible at all (I am writing a post about this these days). And it seems to me that God is not as merciful as pacifists; he seems to me to be taking this whole issue too personal (i.e. if you do not believe in him you are going to be burned in hell!)

It does not stop here, but I think I made my point clear. I thought I should present and agnostic point of view as you completely forgot to mention that option in life :)

TeacherLady said...

I classed myself as an agnostic not so long ago, so it was rude of me to leave that out, sorry!
I agree that even science has its limits, especially since it has yet to really explain anything prior to the Big Bang to my satisfaction. I'll just accept its limited capacity to explain the universe over religion.

Thanks for drawing me to that point. It is humbling to not always have the answers and it's definitely part of the fun seeking them out!

I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

magpie said...

"I just gathered them from various cultures and individuals and made them my own... That's the essence of it. Too much choice these days.

Darwin's theory gets stronger every year, it's the only scientific theory that has been so consistent.

Chris said...

I became an atheist when our church made the mistake of giving us a bible and I actually read it from cover to cover. Not just the parts that they taught us in catholic school but the whole goddamn thing.

Reading the infallible word of god in the cold light of reason makes you wonder how an omnipotent being can't get a simple story straight.