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Because I am an atheist: mouthyb

Today’s contribution was submitted by reader mouthyb via e-mail.

Because I am an atheist…

…I am not married to a Christian man who mistreats me, forced to have no more ambition in life than to have his babies and try to be obedient to his whims, because he is male and doctrinally superior to me. This is what I was trained to do, growing up: to say nothing, to think nothing, to do nothing which could be construed as competition for authority with the men around me. Being an atheist allowed me to start routing that bullshit from my brain.

Because I am an atheist, I know that my actions have consequences, and that if I do a bad thing, it is because I chose to do it, not because I was possessed by satan or because an imaginary god was ‘working through me.’ The action was mine, the consequences are mine as well, and the reward is mine. I am freed of the weight of being a pawn in a war between good and evil, free of the fear that an angry god is always watching me, even when I use the restroom. I am free to learn to behave more ethically, not bound to a predestined plan.

Because I am an atheist, I am free to study science. My family gave me dolls and makeup for Christmas when I was a child, trying to train me to be properly womanly at the expense of my curiosity. It took me three years of begging to get a microscope, and I promptly made slides of every plant in the yard, even cutting myself to see blood under focus. They took it away because it was unseemly for me to be interested in science and because I loved that microscope; taking it away was a great way to punish me. It took me 30 years to get back to science, but being an atheist has meant that I don’t have to shun the subjects I am passionate about.

Because I am an atheist, I am better able to embrace my orientation and personality. No longer do I have to live with painful guilt for something which is a part of me, something which has always been true and will always be true. No matter who I date and where I am, I’m free to be myself, free to love as I love, free to compete if I wish to, free to argue and to speak with the authority of experience and education, unfettered by the guilt of being female and ‘deviant.’ I am free to fuck someone if I want to, to make friends with someone if I want to, to talk to people and be open about who I am.

Because I am an atheist, I am better able to communicate with people who are different than I am. I must justify, to myself and my own sense of ethics, the way that I treat others. No sky daddy to dictate who I must treat as subhuman, or community of believers to insist that those who are different deserve to be cheated or treated badly. I am able to listen without feeling compelled to agree by the fear of hell or shunning. And I am free to decide for myself what I believe about the merits of their ideas.

Because I am an atheist, I am everyday reminded of the rewards and consequences of my freedom. When I wake in the morning, I wake into a world bounded more by exterior forces (like gender, geographic location, economics) than fear and shame. I may live in a world which is unfriendly to me, but I live unfettered, able to see that I am not at fault for everything unpleasant which happens to me, able to see ways to negotiate the barriers which face me instead of cowering behind them, held back by the fear that I, because of my gender, will be punished by god. I wake into, if not joy, contentment. I live able to embrace myself, to love the ambition I which has been so demonized in me.

I am incredibly grateful to be an atheist.

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Comments

  1. Aaron Ross says

    Crommunist, I just thought it would feel good to come over to your blog and shit all over it like you did John Loftus’ blog.

    You are an arrogant hack.

  2. Aaron Ross says

    Oh, Moderating I see. Loftus allows people to say whatever over at his blog, but you are an abysmal coward.

  3. says

    Wow chill, turbo. Every new commenter gets moderated to cut down on spam, and nobody gets censored. You’re allowed to insult me all you want. Just give me a chance to check my goddamn e-mail first.

  4. says

    Did it feel good? I’d hate for you to expose yourself as a gaping asshole for no gain at all.

    And yeah, I have no doubt that I’m a hack. I’m a blogger – it’s part of the job description. Calling me “arrogant” means nothing to me unless you can also show me where I’m wrong. Otherwise you’re just telling me that I have appropriate amounts of self-awareness.

  5. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Don’t you have anything better to do than spam all the FTBs, bigot?

  6. says

    Kiiiinda seems like that question answers itself :P

    Let’s not get sidetracked. mouthyb has submitted a really moving and personal account of the difference her atheism has made in her life. Aaron Ross is just trying to defend his friend. Let’s remember what’s important here.

  7. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Apologies – you’re right. I like and respect Mouthyb; shouldn’t be wasting time on trolls.

    To that end: the paragraph on the microscope brought a few misty tears to my eyes. Reminded of a very similar story of my own involving my dad and other things girls can’t/shouldn’t do because they’re girls.

    But, I think that merely amplifies now how much freer it is to have left that all behind. I wish he could too. But then, he’s always told me that he didn’t want me to grow up to be like him. That’s a level of self-awareness I haven’t seen in other religious bigots (which, as much as I love him, is exactly what he is).

    Mouthy’s speaking to my “soul” here.

  8. Marcelo says

    Great text.

    I figure it’s the same mouthyb that comments on skepchick, do you have your own blog by any chance?

  9. ibelieveindog says

    The first four paragraphs are beautiful. I can’t get any further without crying, for you, for myself, for everyone who couldn’t or can’t be who they are, if we can even figure out what that is, because of this stupid xtian society we live in.

  10. Julia says

    mouthyb, of all of the “because I am an atheist” posts Crommunist has put up here, yours is the one that touches me the most and most reflects my personal experience as well. Thank you for putting into words a lot of what I feel about where I’ve gotten in my life.

  11. says

    You wrote : “I am free to learn to behave more ethically, not bound to a predestined plan.”

    I say:

    Because you are an atheist you are not bound to behave ethically. You are not held liable or responsible for your actions. Right and wrong don’t exist in your chosen world. Because you are an atheist the consequences of your actions are a mere product of your imagination. Consequences denotes moral responsibility to such action and therefore believing in the idea of consequences defeats the very essence of being an atheist. Your existence in this world is non-consequential and therefore every actions whether you consider it bad or good is irrelevant to your existence, lest to the way you live your life. Because you are an atheist.

  12. says

    You assume that only supernatural consequences matter, which is exceedingly silly. There are real, measurable consequences to our behaviour in our everyday lives. Furthermore, there are consequences to the world that outlast our own lives. To say “right and wrong don’t exist” is a fun thing to assert, but it’s patently false. Secular morality exists, and most people (even non-atheists) adhere to codes of ‘right and wrong’ that have nothing to do with everlasting reward or everlasting torment.

    Also, you’re not in any position to tell mouthyb or ANYONE what is or isn’t important in their lives. The fact that you clearly don’t believe hir is an entirely separate issue from whether or not it’s true.

  13. says

    Where in my post you can read that I assume only supernatural consequences matter? Your assumption is silly. I am not here to talk about what matters to me, I am here to talk about what matters to you people since you blab about it to the whole world.

    Now, going back to your response to my comment, what exactly are those “consequences to the world that are greater” than your lives as atheists? An inconsequential existence doesn’t need morality of any kind. It is irrelevant to your existence. If, we (human) are a mere product of chance, our existence is inconsequential to everything around us. It is scientifically true because the universe and everything that is in it can exist without our own existence. And therefore our action towards our kind can also be inconsequential. We should act according to our own desire without reservations of any kind. If we are a mere product of random acts of nature, our random acts are, by then, justifiable regardless of its nature (whether it is right or wrong).

    My argument still stands.

  14. says

    Your argument didn’t stand the first time you wrote it. And yes, it’s the ATHEISTS who are the blabby ones. What with our giant atheist megachurches and radio/television stations and street proselytizing.

    Human beings do not measure anything on a cosmic timescale. If one sincerely believed in heaven, that person would be rushing into burning buildings to save orphans in the hope that they would die and be rewarded with eternal bliss. They would take every opportunity to die accidentally, because life is COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS in the face of eternity. Nobody does that. Instead, we look at the immediate impact (and proximate impact) of our actions on the world around us and the things we care about. Yes, ultimately, if you try to think of your life in terms of THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, what we do isn’t meaningful. That’s no different from the theist notion that a finite test has infinite repercussions.

    But there are consequences, and we do see them, and they do matter. And for the same reason that Christians don’t all join the army and try to get blown up with a psalm on their lips, atheists don’t live like sociopaths. Maybe you think your life is inconsequential. I see the value of my existence every time I interact with my friends and loved ones.

  15. says

    Why you always compare your thoughts and belief to Christians or Christianity? Can you not make a stand without identifying or making comparison to Christianity? Your belief shouldn’t be grounded on the basis of other belief system. But your posts and your thoughts are clearly dependent on what Christians has to say to something, which I think is silly.

    You wrote: “I see the value of my existence every time I interact with my friends and loved ones.”

    I say:

    What value? Value is a thing in the mind and only exists in the mind. You want to justify your good deeds by attaching value to your existence and those around you. I tell you neither you nor your friends and that you call value matters when you all die. Because that value you are talking about don’t exist according to the world you atheists created. Your ideas about life and morality are flawed.

    Again what are those consequences that you see in your existence?

  16. says

    I draw comparisons to Christianity because it’s the tradition I’m most familiar with. If you want to wrangle over meaninglessness when it comes to Buddhism or Islam or Scientology, we can do that too. Doesn’t matter to me – they’re all equally devoid of value.

    I tell you neither you nor your friends and that you call value matters when you all die

    Sure. But I’m not dead yet. And while I am still alive, there are things that I like and things that I dislike. I like joy, I like contentment, I like challenge, I like fulfilment. I dislike suffering, I dislike despair, I dislike injustice. To that end, when my actions cause the world to be a place that is more full of the things that I enjoy (or less full of the things I condemn), it has a measurable and meaningful result. No, there is no final arbiter who looks at my actions and imparts external meaning and value to them – that doesn’t bother me at all. Similarly, I won’t be reincarnated as something icky if I do bad things, nor will I be flung into a furnace or a volcano to suffer torment. But I can make the world I live in a more pleasant place for me, and for those I care about. And assuming the entire species doesn’t go extinct at the same time, some of my actions will outlast my life, even though I won’t get to see those things actually happen.

    If that’s a “flawed” idea about life and morality then I guess I’ll just have to live with your disappointment, random blog commenter.

  17. says

    If you want to wrangle over meaninglessness when it comes to Buddhism or Islam or Scientology, we can do that too.

    Nah, let’s just talk about atheism here. Don’t bother about other beliefs, that’s not what I came here for. I am more interested in your so-called meaningful life in the light of atheistic philosophy and belief system. I hope to get enlightened about your version of ‘reality’ through reason and logical approach on the claims made by you or members of your kind.

    Doesn’t matter to me – they’re all equally devoid of value.

    Great! Everything else is devoid of value except atheism. How convenient is that claim for you?

    And while I am still alive, there are things that I like and things that I dislike. I like joy, I like contentment, I like challenge, I like fulfilment. I dislike suffering, I dislike despair, I dislike injustice. To that end, when my actions cause the world to be a place that is more full of the things that I enjoy (or less full of the things I condemn), it has a measurable and meaningful result.

    There are three things I want to say here.

    1. Man as a social and sentient being has the ability or capability to frame his thoughts, identifies and decides the things that give him pleasure, satisfaction, joy, contentment or fulfillment or to dislike suffering, despair and injustice. But such characteristics of matter (if I may say)or specie is designed naturally for survival. I mean, if we want to believe the theory of evolution, these features were developed overtime and are necessary to man’s survival. And therefore such characteristics do not necessarily denotes meaning to life, lest it defines the way man live his life as it is part of its inconsequential existence.

    2. And because of these natural characteristics to seek joy, pleasure, contentment or fulfillment, and dislike suffering, etc.,etc., we learn to value these things and give superficial meaning to these social phenomena and to people around us. But looking at the very nature of these things, it doesn’t exist in the physical world of neutrons and electrons. These characteristics that you said to be the silver lining of your meaningful life is nothing than illusory propaganda to advance this so-called secular morality.

    3. If what defines or gives your life a meaningful existence is founded or based in metaphysical realm, what difference will it bring to someone who believe in God?

    If that’s a “flawed” idea about life and morality then I guess I’ll just have to live with your disappointment, random blog commenter.

    You are no different from the rest of your pack when your belief system is attacked and questioned by someone belonging from the other side of the fence. Just like most of your kind, You resorted to ad hominem. Pity.

  18. says

    Man as a social and sentient being has the ability or capability to frame his thoughts, identifies and decides the things that give him pleasure, satisfaction, joy, contentment or fulfillment or to dislike suffering, despair and injustice.

    Um… no. I could no more decide to start enjoying murdering people tomorrow than I could decide to fly into the air. The things we like and dislike are the product of a long process of socialization, exposure, biology, and a number of other factors. Morality is similarly a product of evolution and experience. Tell a person dying of cancer to decide to enjoy the sensation. See how successful you are.

    But looking at the very nature of these things, it doesn’t exist in the physical world of neutrons and electrons

    I hate protons too. Smug fuckers…

    Are you suggesting that pleasure and pain don’t have physical dimensions? Because if that’s your argument, you should immediately run to every neurology department in the world and tell them all they’re wasting their time.

    If what defines or gives your life a meaningful existence is founded or based in metaphysical realm, what difference will it bring to someone who believe in God?

    I have no idea what this question means. Are you asking me why my approach to life makes a difference to someone who isn’t me? I’d imagine it wouldn’t, just as the contents of your head have no relevance whatsoever to my life. Also, the premise of the question is flawed. The things that bring value to my life, as I’ve said repeatedly, are directly observable in my day-to-day life. The fact that you reject the possibility of human experiences as valid data in a cosmic sense is both baffling and inconsequential to me. That’s the reason why when I say that I don’t care if you approve, it isn’t an ad hominem – it’s merely a statement of fact.

    Pro tip: I would recommend avoiding using SAT words until you get a firmer grasp on subject-verb agreement. I am guessing that English isn’t your first language, and your word choice makes it very hard to understand the point of your comments. I’m trying, but I’m sure I’m misunderstanding at least half of what you’re saying.

  19. says

    Um… no. I could no more decide to start enjoying murdering people tomorrow than I could decide to fly into the air. The things we like and dislike are the product of a long process of socialization, exposure, biology, and a number of other factors. Morality is similarly a product of evolution and experience. Tell a person dying of cancer to decide to enjoy the sensation. See how successful you are.

    I am not sure if we are in the same page here. When I asked you about those consequences in life that you claimed gave meaning to your existence, you replied and I quote:

    And while I am still alive, there are things that I like and things that I dislike. I like joy, I like contentment, I like challenge, I like fulfilment. I dislike suffering, I dislike despair, I dislike injustice. To that end, when my actions cause the world to be a place that is more full of the things that I enjoy (or less full of the things I condemn), it has a measurable and meaningful result
    .

    Non-sequitur. These things you’ve mentioned are nothing of value that can give meaning to your existence as these are mere natural characteristics innate to man – developed over a period of time (evolution).

    Atheistic claim is that, man evolved from random acts of nature; if it is true, it would follow that every bit and pieces of development that have occurred to man will be no different from the time of his earliest formation – inconsequential. My point is that morality neither has philosophical nor logical basis, if taken from atheistic perspective. What is moral to one atheist may not be moral to another atheist. Andif he thinks that raping an 8 year old boy is what gives him pleasure, no atheist can tell him that he is wrong, if he is only acting according to what his natural desire dictates. Neither any of other atheists is oblige to embrace nor reject his preference of satisfying his desire.
    So, yes, you can start to enjoy murdering people tomorrow if that will give you pleasure.

    I hate protons too.

    I love physics and QM.

    Are you suggesting that pleasure and pain don’t have physical dimensions? Because if that’s your argument, you should immediately run to every neurology department in the world and tell them all they’re wasting their time.

    No. What I mean is that, these things (joy, pleasure, contentment, etc.) you considered consequential to your existence do not add anything of value that would define whether your action is moral or not. And therefore, secular morality is based on subjective preferences of a person or the collective individuals. The essence of morality doesn’t make any sense in atheistic world.

    I have no idea what this question means. Are you asking me why my approach to life makes a difference to someone who isn’t me?

    Let me rewrite the question for clarity coz I myself is having a hard time understanding what I have written..

    If the meaning of life is defined by things that only exist in the metaphysical realm, what makes it different from believing in the existence of a God?

    The things that bring value to my life, as I’ve said repeatedly, are directly observable in my day-to-day life. The fact that you reject the possibility of human experiences as valid data in a cosmic sense is both baffling and inconsequential to me.

    Human experiences are not data. Data are measurable, quantifiable. Personal experiences are non-quantifiable. Simply because it cannot be expressed mathematically. Isn’t it the reason why personal testimonies for the existence of a God is defunct by your kind? You cannot and will not consider personal experiences as basis or evidence for God’s existence? And now you want to cling to your personal experiences to support your claim? Hhmm…

    See, my question is getting interesting. What difference does atheism has to offer to someone who believe in God?

    That’s the reason why when I say that I don’t care if you approve, it isn’t an ad hominem – it’s merely a statement of fact.

    What you exactly said is this, and I quote

    If that’s a “flawed” idea about life and morality then I guess I’ll just have to live with your disappointment, random blog commenter.

    P. S.
    Thanks for the unsolicited advice. English is not my first language and I apologize should this caused you some trouble understanding what I am trying to get across. I am trying. Trying to have a discussion with you in the language that you can understand me. Should you have at least a working knowledge of my mother tongue, I’d be obliged if you could continue the discussion.

    And why are you responding for mouthyb? It doesn’t matter anyway, I’m just asking.

  20. says

    Oh joy, someone has showed up to ignore the discussion of the real life effects of ethics systems, like the bit about being free to respect others, instead of being told to disrespect them by religion.

    Yo, asshole, my ethics are much better now that I’m an atheist, but then I’ve read the Bible instead of taking someone else’s word for it.

  21. says

    Oh joy, someone has showed up to ignore the discussion of the real life effects of ethics systems, like the bit about being free to respect others, instead of being told to disrespect them by religion.

    Non-sense. Your act to disrespect others is your choice and your decision. Whether you are told or influenced by someone or something, is out of the question. The effects of ethics is not proof that atheism is true, and all other forms of religion is false. Your argument is poor and baseless. It doesn’t makes sense. I was hoping to hear some solid arguments based on logic and reason from people like you who cling so much to science for proof, but you people fail me. Your testimonies here sound like those fundamentalist Christians I know. You are no different from them. Pathetic.

    Yo, asshole, my ethics are much better now that I’m an atheist, but then I’ve read the Bible instead of taking someone else’s word for it.

    Great. Your ethics are really showing in our discussion. Ad hominem.

    I am not talking about the Bible or any form of religion here. I am asking about the logical and philosophical foundations of atheistic morality.

  22. says

    An ad hominem is not calling someone a name. An ad hominem is when you refuse to address the other person’s argument in favor of calling them a name. I noted your argument and responded to it.

    And if you have read the Bible, you would know what I’m referring to in terms of treating Gentiles and non-Jews/Christians poorly. Feel free to read your own book.

  23. says

    An ad hominem is not calling someone a name. An ad hominem is when you refuse to address the other person’s argument in favor of calling them a name. I noted your argument and responded to it.

    Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic

    Argumentum Ad Hominem

    Abstract: The argument concerning the attack of a person’s character or circumstances  is characterized and shown to be sometimes persuasive but normally fallacious.

     

               FALLACY NAVIGATOR                

     

    Argumentum ad Hominem (abusive and circumstantial): the fallacy of attacking the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of trying to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument. Often the argument is characterized simply as a personal attack.

    So, mouthyb, where exactly is that part that you said you addressed the issue I am putting forward? Where is the part that you disprove what I have said? Calling me an asshole, is not the best way to address the issue whether atheistic atheism has a logical or philosophical bases. Yes, calling a person an asshole, instead of addressing the argument presented is a personal attack. A form of logical fallacies.

  24. says

    Well, I’m glad you know how to copy paste from the dictionary, but I’d like to call your attention to the part where I pointed out that you were ignoring the part of my testimony where I talked about ethics systems. You’re ignoring the part where I talk about ethics systems which exist outside religion and nebulously asserting that ethics are not possible outside religion, without providing evidence or anything resembling a coherent argument.

    Hence the comment about you ignoring that portion of the testimony, following the word ‘asshole’.

    And, FYI, I taught argumentation at the local state college for four years. When I say that an ad hominem is not the use of the word asshole, I know what I’m about with it.

  25. vladimir says

    Well, I’m glad you know how to copy paste from the dictionary,

    Indeed it was copied and pasted from an online source that’s why it was in a quoted format or blockquoted form. And your point? You think you score a point in this discussion by pointing out to your readers that someone from the other side of the fence uses an online source to make his point? Funny. It’s amazing to see how the children play.

    but I’d like to call your attention to the part where I pointed out that you were ignoring the part of my testimony where I talked about ethics systems.

    Your testimony is as good as those hardcore fundamentalist Christians I know. What makes you think that your personal testimony supports the claim on having logical or philosophical proof or basis for atheistic ethics system?

    Your personal testimony doesn’t prove anything about your claim on the existence of atheistic morality. You failed to prove the logical or philosophical foundations of its existence in atheistic worldview.

    Just in case you missed what I was trying to point out here, here is the argument I was trying to put forward since my first comment and with my exchanges with crommunist:

    1. If man’s existence was the result of the random acts of nature,
    2. Then his existence is inconsequential to anything that exists,
    3. And therefore everything about him and in him is also a product of natural inconsequential events;
    4. And if these inconsequential events are natural by form and substance, then there is nothing in man’s action that is not natural to him,
    5. And therefore every action is permissible in the natural order of his existence;
    6. Thus, morality could not possibly exist within the context of atheistic view of man’s existence. Because it doesn’t makes sense. Unless morality comes from not natural, only then it makes sense.

    Now, if you were teaching argumentation, (which hardly reflects in your responses) you should be able to form your own informal logic presentation of your belief on secular or atheistic morality which is missing in your testimony. Your testimony alone doesn’t make sense. Is this the reason why atheism rejects the testimonies of Christians on the existence of a God? What makes you think that your testimonies is superior to those who profess the faith in God?

    You’re ignoring the part where I talk about ethics systems which exist outside religion and nebulously asserting that ethics are not possible outside religion, without providing evidence or anything resembling a coherent argument.

    You were talking? Yeah right, You think talking about your personal experiences support the claim that morality exists in atheism? You’re kidding, right? Tell me you’re kidding coz that would be the most stupid thing I would ever heard from people who claimed to know more about argumentation. You made me chuckle. A lot.

  26. says

    Ugh. This conversation has not got any less stupid.

    1 – you’re falsely equivocating personal statements about subjective experience with ones of objective experience. “I like chocolate mint ice cream” – that is a subjective evaluation based on my personal interaction with a confection. “Chocolate mint ice cream exists” – that is an empirical claim. The two are totally not the same thing. So, if someone says “The reaction I get from others is what informs my choices”, that is a subjective claim about that person’s own experience. When another person says “Jesus tells me to be good to others”, that is an objective claim about a supernatural causative agent for which there is no evidence.

    Put another way, nobody here has made the claim that all atheists are good because of a causative agent. You’re arguing against subjective valuation, which is a waste of your time and everyone else’s.

    2 – your second claim about human existence being “inconsequential” is false, and no matter how many times you repeat it, it will remain false. Consequences are, again, subjectively valued by minds. They are not objective events – you would use the term ‘effects’ (as in ’cause/effect’) to denote the actual, empirical outcome. For example, it is an objective fact that you are typing words and sentences in your comments and that people are reading them. However, with respect to changing anyone’s mind, your actions are inconsequential because nobody cares what you’re saying.

    Also, please stick to a single account. Not only is it easier to understand who’s talking, but also sockpuppets are rude and misleading.

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