This (for want of a better word) essay is about something that I have believed for a long time, but which recently has taken over a large portion of my private time. I don't mean to say that this is a bad thing, because, in an odd way, it gives me comfort and clarity in life.
Other times the stuff I read makes me unimaginably angry.
The point of this blog is that I am a hardline atheist. A lot of people seem to think that atheism is foolish, because there is no way to know whether there is a god, and therefore, its just as bad to be atheist as to be religious, in the thinking about stuff terms.
Now, I readily admit that there is no way to know whether there is or is not a god. But I'm not agnostic about religion for the same reason that I am not agnostic to gravity.
Let me explain. There is a popular philosophical thought experiment that says that there is a chance that gravity has only worked the way that it has by coincidence. Maybe gravity sometimes pushes objects away. But by pure chance, we have never observed it happening.
Think about it, there is a chance that gravity doesn't always pull things towards it, but the chance is so small, and the concept is so ridiculous, that its not worth thinking about.
In my mind, it;s the same with religion. There is a chance that there may be a god, but to me the chance is so small, and the notion so ridiculous, that its not worth thinking about.
This is why I am an atheist rather than an agnostic.
I spend a lot of time researching religion and atheism, because I know that there are a lot of questions in the world that I cant answer, but dammit, I'd like to be able to answer them. So Im throwing myself into this more than I have ever thrown myself into anything else in my life ever.
The worst part about it is that, I still sometimes feel ashamed that I am atheist. Maybe its the fact that I was brought up in Christian schools, with Christian teachers and friends. Maybe its the society I live in. I don't know. But I often don't want to admit my atheism too much, at least not to people who don't already know.
To people I know, I seem to be seen as some sort of militant atheist. I'm not sure whether I'm proud or ashamed by that. I mean, do I come across as sure of myself, or arrogant? rational, or intolerant?
I'm not in any position to say.
I'm not sure how to vocalise why I believe what I do, but I'll give it a go.
When you boil it all down, and ignore all arguments about evolution, or the Big Bang yadda yadda yadda, in my mind it comes down to this:
Where is god?
God must be conscious, yes? But where is this consciousness? Is it in the sky? Is it in another dimension? Is it everywhere?
People used to believe that heaven was in the sky. But now we know whats in the sky, and I sure as hell don't see any heaven up there. Other dimensions? Please. Getting into that is too much like a science fiction novel. Everywhere? We know what everything is made of, right down to electrons and neutrons.
Where the hell could god be hiding? Surely he must be somewhere. How can you have a mind without anything physical? It just doesn't make any sense. At all.
I don't understand why people persist in believing this crap. And I HATE that I don't understand this. Its like an itch in the back of my mind that makes me want to stand up and scream at people "How could you possibly think this is true?"
I'd like to think that people only say they believe it for convenience or something, but I know that isn't true.
People don't kill others over an idea thats just convenient.
I turned atheist when I was about 14. This was around the time that I realised I only said I was Christian, because I didn't know of any alternative.
Well, I did know there were alternatives, but they all seemed scary. I didn't know anything about them. Christianity I knew, I could deal with that, but I was scared to take that first step into the unknown.
Then I was told that Noah's Ark actually happened.
So, yeah, after that I was atheist, without really knowing what it meant. Thats when I discovered that before then, I was really the only Christian member of my family. And that made me feel pretty stupid.
Wow, I started this blog intending to talk about everything I'm thinking at the moment, and its turning into an essay. I'm not sure theres enough time to touch on EVERYTHING in my head right now, but I'll do my best. Congratulations on getting this far.
Until recently I would muddle through life, not really caring what people believed, but now I find it hard not to judge people on their beliefs. Not everyone, theres some Christians who I know who really are good people, and do follow the rules they set themselves, and don't try to change me.
I guess thats what my feelings about other peoples beliefs really depend on; whether they try to convert me, or push their beliefs on me in any way.
When this does happen, it makes me very angry, and I'm never really sure why im angry. When I heard that my dad was in a coma, shortly before he died, I was preparing to go and visit him in hospital. I was having a cigarette outside, just before leaving, and I was obviously in some distress. Then a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses walked up to me and started trying to tell me about Jesus.
I think even Christians could understand why this pissed me off. I was visibly upset, what I needed was a friend to talk to, or to be left alone, and these guys thought that this was a good time to try and convert me? How fucking selfish. Selfish, because they were trying to get a win, and finally convert someone. The worst part is that they probably think that they were trying to help! They probably dont even realise how selfish they were being.
A while ago I was going through a tough time, and I was talking to a Christian friend about it. All she could come up with to say to me was "I'll pray for you"
I can honestly say, I would have preferred she just spat at me and told me to get over myself.
I had no idea why I felt so angry about this, until I read something in a book, which dealt with this situation. Its that it was so fucking patronising. She knows how I feel about religion, and yet she said this, thinking it would comfort me? I know she probably didn't mean it like this, but it felt to me that she was exploiting my time of need, to try and convert me. I felt used and insulted. What good is praying for me going to do? Even if god does exist, I've turned my back on him, and hes not gonna make my life any better, because unless he showed up on my door step, I wouldn't believe it was him that did it.
Thats another thing. Even if there was proof god exists, I wouldn't worship him. He created an entire universe, so that the only sapient beings on it could spend their lives worshiping him? Why bother? Does he really need validation so much, that he would create a plane of existence, just to have things to worship him?
God is kind, and loves everyone, and thats why if you don't believe in him you will BE TORTURED FOR ETERNITY. Makes sense.
He gave us free will, so that he can punish us if we ever even think about using it.
I refuse to worship such an ego-maniacal, masochistic deitard.
And yes, I do copyright the term 'deitard'.
People argue intelligent design.
Has anyone actually looked at the things he supposedly designed?
The earths crust is broken up, and floats around, crashing into other pieces, causing earthquakes, volcanoes and tidal waves. Human spines are designed for creatures walking on all fours. They have been adapted for an upright stance by simply bending it. The bending at the base of the spine is the reason most people develop back problems in later life. Creationists go on and on about how the human eye is so complex, it must have been designed. The eye is designed upside down and back to front! Light has to pass through blood vessels, fluid, and various other things that get in the way before reaching the light sensitive cones and rods, and the signal can be sent to the back of the brain. Why does the left side of the brain control the right side of the body? Why do we have an appendix? What the FUCK is up with teeth?
Look up 'incompetent design' for more info.
I believe that there is no afterlife. And I am happy believing that. I want to believe that when I die, there is nothing.
People have asked me "How can you go through life believing that? How can you not just curl into a ball and cry, knowing that theres no afterlife?". Well, it comes down to the nature of forever. The afterlife must be an eternal thing. Otherwise its just another life. I sure as hell dont want to be conscious and thinking forever. I can barely deal with being conscious and thinking for one life, thank you very much. Eternity it a fuck of a long time to be thinking.
Think about it. Really think about it. Do you really want to be conscious for eternity? Forever is a scary thing when you think about it. If you go to heaven, how can perfection last forever? It just doesn't make sense.
While I'm on the subject of heaven, I'd like to share with you something that puzzles me.
What is heaven?
By definition, it must be perfect, otherwise whats the point?
But definitions of perfect differ from person to person. Is heaven the same for everyone, or different? If its the same for everyone, well, it cant really be perfect, can it? Cos there will always be someone who isn't happy with it. But it cant work being different either. Say you loved me, but I hated you. Your idea of perfection would include me, but mine wouldn't include you. Would I be in your heaven or not? Either way, someone isnt happy. So you see, the concept of the afterlife is a paradox in itself.
How could you still think without a physical brain?
Why would god make us go through the rigmarole of earth, when, being that he is omniscient, he already knows whether we are going to heaven or hell?
How can god be omniscient and omnipotent at the same time? If he knows the future, he knows what he is going to do. Can he decide to do differently? If so, he's not omniscient, and if not, hes not omnipotent.
There are too many questions. Too many paradoxes. And too many ridiculous notions.
IT. DOESN'T. MAKE. SENSE.
Well, Ive been writing this for an hour and a half. Its now 4.30am. I'm finished.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)