- Religion and Philosophy»
- Atheism & Agnosticism
Misconceptions about Atheism.
Why I express my views.
Religion is one of the most fascinating topics of discussion known to man. What makes it fascinating is the diversity of opinion about our origins, about our purpose in life and about where we go in the hereafter. Consider for one moment how many religions there are, world-wide. Probably too many to name. Each believing that their version of events is the correct one. Some religions might count their flock in thousands, while others have millions of followers, but the only thing that one can deduce from this is that mankind NEEDS RELIGION.
Some scientists believe that Science will eventually answer many of the questions that Religion fails to answer, but I happen to disagree. We will never know for certain how it all began, just as we will never know for certain how it will all end, until it does all end, and frankly, by that time, it won't really matter.
My choice of belief is in a MYSTERY. I feel as ill-equipped as a cow or a rabbit to make a judgement on the TRUTH about our existence. Despite our superior powers of thought, speech, communication, perception, etc, etc, we are no closer to understanding the MYSTERY than we were thousands of years ago. People will report that they have died and come back to life, and that they now understand what life is all about, but such claims are never supported by irrefutable evidence. People report that an angel appeared to them and showed them how to live their lives correctly, but again, a lack of evidence renders such claims as flights of fancy, from my perspective anyway.
All we DO have evidence of is the world in which we live. Our natural environment. Mother Nature, with all her wonders, with her awesome power, and her indiscriminate regard, or disregard, for any species or life form. And when it comes to our position within Nature's order, I would have to claim that we are, by far, the most destructive animal on the planet. We assume to have superior intelligence, a position of self-elevation that is not borne out by the way in which we manage our planet. We have wiped out other species of animal, we have disrupted the natural resources of the planet, changed landscapes to suit our own purposes, turned areas of natural beauty into concrete jungles, invented a million and one ways to destroy not only our environment, but even human life. And we call this intelligence?
A spider is more creative and industrious in the creation of a web than the greatest of our architects, yet not one spider has a masters degree in engineering. A bird has the ability to fly, a fish to breath underwater, an ant to carry ten times it's body weight, a chameleon to change colour to camoflage it's presence. Every creature on earth has some gift, some specific attribute that makes it unique, and yet we still insist that our gift is superior to all others. And Religion, in my humble opinion, is what gives us that feeling of superiority.
We have a NEED to believe that there is more to our existence than the sorry lot of every other creature in the world. So we have created a divine purpose for ourselves. Whether it is God or Baal or Buddha or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, we have appointed ourselves as the chosen servants of some super-natural deity whose path for us is to manage and supervise this planet until our dying day, at which point we will be rewarded for our efforts with the promise of eternal life! We pray to invisible Gods, we aspire to reach eternal destinations, of which there is no evidence of them even existing. And because we have created these beliefs, we can conveniently dismiss all the unanswerable questions with the claim of 'Divine intervention', the old "God moves in a mysterious way" argument. Ask a Christian why an eight year old dies of cancer, and the response will be "Ours is not to reason why. God has a plan for all of us!" The truth is that natural can be as ugly as she is beautiful, and as with every other species, we can not defy nature.
The folly of religion is to assign to God/Gods, all that is good, (a child who mysteriously recovers from an illness.) but to dismiss as misfortune or the work of the devil, all that is not so pleasant. But in a world that has a supposed God/Gods as a guardian, why do so many innocents suffer? If God is a loving, compassionate God, why doesn't he intervene. Why would a loving God create a world and fill it with so much misery? The fall of mankind from grace doesn't explain why cancer exists, or Multiple sclerosis, or gout or autism. What rational argument is there for so much sorrow? And if the sorrow is all the work of the devil, are we to then assume that God is less powerful than Satan?
My atheism stems from research, from reading and knowing the Bible, and from finding it irrational, illogical, unreasonable and contradictory. The main thrust of my disbelief is that God himself created evil, and for anyone to deny that, they are denying the premise that God is the creator of everything. As the designer of all things, what flaw did he make that allowed Lucifer to display jealousy of God's power? If all was created to perfection, how did Lucifer slip through the net? And when he DID slip through the net, why was he then permitted to co-exist with God and become the tempter of mankind? Why did God plant a tree of knowledge in the middle of Paradise, laced with forbidden fruit? Would a responsible parent set a gram of heroine on a table and tell a child "Don't touch that. It's bad for you?" Why? Why would someone who loved his children unconditionally, deliberately put temptation at their fingertips?
The tired old argument will be that God gave man free will. To choose between good and evil! But why? I have already written a hub about giving a choice where both outcomes are good. But God forced mankind to choose between good and evil, even in his all-knowing wisdom that many would make the wrong choice. Which brings us to the REASON why the religious stories HAVE to include evil, and Satan.
Without a need for Salvation, religion has no credibility, no purpose. Without their being a sacrifice, mankind is incapable of accepting the premise that there might be eternal life. To give our existence a purpose, there has to be a challenge, a goal to achieve, and that goal is obedience. Part and parcel of that obedience is FAITH or BELIEF, for as long as we have a belief that everything CAN work out to our advantage, then we don't NEED to answer the unanswerable questions.
Don't shoot me.... these are just my opinions, and each of you is entitled to agree or disagree with them. What are NOT allowed to do, or SHOULD not be allowed to do, is to dismiss them.
Am I really a Satanist?
Am I evil?
No. Of course I am not. There's not an evil bone in my body. I have a deep love of humanity, nature, the world I live in, my family, my friends, and even, on occasions, a respect for my enemies. I have love for Biblical stories, and much of the morality that they promote. Despite not believing in a Biblical God, the vast majority of Biblical messages are based entirely on humanitarian principals, and Jesus, as a story-teller, was above all, a humanitarian.
Neither do I have a disregard for Christians. While I totally understand their desire for their beliefs to be accurate, I don't understand how they can logically accept the premise of their beliefs. But why on earth would I hate anyone for wanting to believe in God and Salvation, and Heaven? Other religions have remarkably admirable qualities, involving Karma, piece of mind, being at one with the Universe. If it works for them, so be it, and I'm very happy to acknowledge their right to their beliefs.
What I ask in return is the right to hold MY beliefs, without being labelled EVIL, SATANIC, ANTI-CHRISTIAN..... and even worse, IGNORANT.
On other websites, I have been a frequent debater with Baptists and Born-again Christians, and what disturbs and insults me is the notion, as expressed by them, that I am an atheist because I am ignorant of the truth. That I should actually read the Bible. That I obviously haven't studied the Bible. That I haven't really TRIED to find God. Not quite as hurtful, but equally annoying is the supposition that I'm obviously under the influence of Satan himself.
This is what I mean about misconceptions about Atheists. There is an arrogance about people who accept BELIEF as TRUTH. There is an assumption that anyone who doesn't share their TRUTH is in some way unintelligent, unlearned, ignorant or just plain stubborn. I HAVE read the Bible, moreover, I have STUDIED it. I have also read the Quran/Koran, and have dipped my toe into several other religious orders in a quest to find a better understanding of the great unknowns. I rarely quote Chapter and verse, as I believe it to be a futile exercise. Two thousand years of having to defend the indefensible has given the God-squad the ability to be very selective in what they quote, and in how it suits their purposes. For anyone to suggest that I am unintelligent because I differ with their viewpoint is not only insulting, but also dangerously antagonistic. The inability to accept diversity of opinion is the cause of most of the major conflicts of the modern world. And when a Faith becomes so steadyfast in their own righteousness, the foundations of Holy War have been laid.
I believe in "Live and let live", a world where we can all co-exist through a respect for the other persons point of view, but when any individual group insists that their way is the only way, and those who disagree should be dealt with, then the balance is disrupted, and chaos pervades.
If you believe in God, or Allah, or Buddha, or Astro-cat, it's fine by me, and I fully respect your right to do so. I do not think you are stupid or unintelligent, I simply assume that you have weighed up the arguments, and have come to a different conclusion to mine. That's fine. God/Allah/Buddha/Astro-cat Bless you, and I hope you'll be very happy.
Now please allow me the same courtesy!