Atheism: Believe it or Not!
An atheist is a person who does not believe gods exist. Simply stated they find no evidence to believe in one. There are many reasons given by atheists for this. One stated firmly God was more than welcome to have an honest conversation with him, but until then he had no reason to trust in him.
Most atheists don’t believe a heaven or hell exists either. To them, even if they did exist, it makes no sense. A common reason given is if God was a good and caring being, wouldn’t he would judge them for their value as human beings, not for their belief in him.
However, these aren’t unenlightened thoughts made by uneducated people. Albert Einstein summed up Buddhism with these quotes. “If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.” He further speculated “Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God; avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spiritual; and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. “
There is a misunderstanding by most theists to classify all atheists under one umbrella. There are different kinds of atheists. Here are four most commonly classified groups:
Adolf Hitler and Stalin could be considered Iconoclasts. They see certain religions detrimental to society and therefore go about shattering their icons, symbols and houses of worship. Sometimes they tend to establish a different kind of ideology in their place.
Pragmatists rationalize most things in life can be explained without involving God or his divine intervention. They see no need for God to be in charge. Their stance is usually “Show me the proof.”
Deists are complete nonbelievers of a religious God and contend there are better scientific answers to explain supposed supernatural events.
- Absolute Atheists
They are nonbelievers of any kind of God including a supernatural force. They too are of a scientific bent and tend to inherit traits of Deism.
Others disagree with these views. To find out what most atheists believe a list of questions were given to a small sampling. Here are some of the questions asked and answers:
- How can you ignore all the good God does?
“I find it offensive an invisible God gets credit for everything good and evil is blamed on humanity. There is much evil in the world not the fault of human beings…ignorance, disease and droughts for instance. I find most good things are the product of human love, effort or genius, such as friendship and vaccines.”
“Not all people are evil. All possess some potential for good. Yet, if there was a God, couldn’t he do so much more in the world that isn’t being done? Couldn’t innocent children be warned when danger was eminent? Surely a loving God would do these things and more, just as any compassionate human being would if they were able.”
“When a doctor saves a life, we are thankful for their ability. I find it insulting when God is thanked for something he could have done himself but didn't. If a loving god really existed, we wouldn’t need doctors in the first place.”
If there is no god, then where do you think the universe came from?
“No one really knows. I don’t know if the universe even had a beginning, much less what may have created it. Inventing a God who did still leaves the question of where He came from.”
- What do you think happens when you die?
“I believe my brain is what gives me existence. I depend on it to think and survive. When my brain dies, I cease to exist, I don’t want to die, but I don’t fear it…there is no reason to fear the end of fear itself.”
- What about all the people who believe in God, are they all wrong?
“There are many religions the world. Buddhist’s believe in Buddha. There are also many who remember a past life, or walk with the spirits of their ancestors. There are so many different experiences, how can any one of them be considered truer than another? Buddhists are mostly in Asia, Hindus mostly in India, Muslims mostly in the Middle East, and Christians mostly in the West. That Americans are mostly Christian is more likely the result of Christianity being taught there, and not the result of that religion actually being true or superior to any other.”
- Haven't Christian values done much good in the world?
“Honesty and compassion are good values anywhere. They aren’t unique to Christianity.”
- So what do you believe in?
“I believe in the potential of humanity, the power of reason, the comfort of love and the value of truth. I believe faith can be misleading and reason and doubt are necessary safeguards against our capacity for error. Human beings must have freedom of choice to live their lives in mutual peace and goodwill, having respect for different opinions, beliefs and lifestyles.” It’s better to preach the gospel of "be good to your fellow man,” than "believe in our religion or be damned." There are lots of questions concerning atheists regarding their beliefs. Many theists seem to think atheists don't believe in anything at all. Here is another question:
- How can someone believe in nothing?
There is a common misconception atheists are people simply looking for a way to rebel. Perhaps they are rebelling against constraints in a religious family, church or even an entire society they find overly restrictive. And it’s entirely possible a young atheist might simply be going through a series of life phases and most do exploring various ideas and philosophies.
On the other side of the aisle atheists are wondering:
- If there’s only one true religion, how is it possible to ascertain Christianity is the true one?
There is only one way. The claims of all must be impartially examined.
Many believe Christians, as a whole, don't deem it necessary to study other religions or beliefs. A common misunderstanding is Christians don't study the Koran, but are perfectly satisfied to condemn it as the work of an impostor? Or Presbyterians think it’s not worth the time to examine India’s religious systems, but know without a doubt the Brahmins are wrong? And Methodists aren’t particularly interested in learning about Buddha and Baptists won’t waste time studying about Confucius. Christians take it for granted theirs is the only true religion. Of course, that's not the case. Many are interested in knowing these things.
“Good men have had bad creeds, and bad men have had good ones. Some of the noblest of the human race have fought and died for the wrong. The brain of man has been the trusting-place of contradictions. Passion often masters reason and the state of man, like to a little kingdom, suffers then the nature of an insurrection." Taken from Why I am an Agnostic ~Robert Green Ingersoll~ circa 1890
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