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Why I am an atheist – Matthew Smedberg

I grew up Catholic, and had argued myself to the “correct” conclusion, that the Church’s teachings and morality were soundly defensible via logic. During college, however, my views on morality, especially but not limited to sexual morality, changed, forcing me to re-evaluate the logical connections I had previously accepted. (I remember vividly one time, while riding a horse into Damascus, reading a speech of Douglas Adams where he forcefully argues that calling masturbation wrong on the grounds that it does harm is not only false but unconscionably cruel.) I became convinced that humans have the power and the right to decide on what is just and moral together — that no god worthy of the name would give moral edicts at all, and certainly not ones merely reinforcing old, old prejudices.

I am an atheist because I became convinced that god was a story we invented. But I call myself an atheist because I do believe in something: I believe that we can do better.

Matthew Smedberg
United States

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the Adams quote; I hadn’t seen that. I think every teenage boy who wrestles with bouts of horrifying guilt between between intimate encounters with the Kleenex would agree.

  2. llewelly says

    I am relieved that you did not explain how you got horse riding, masturbation, and Damascus together in the same sentence.

  3. baal says

    I found the part about riding a horse to Damascus intriguing and wonder why (how?!) you read a book while riding.

  4. robertnewbery says

    If masturbation is a sin then you can give me the snake 100% of the time. Don’t subscribe to a culture which excludes sexual pleasure whatever you do! Getting it on is something you can do whether you’re on a horse, on your own, or in an adult mutually consenting crowd! Religion does not own sexuality. Just ask anyone who already shares it outside of what is religiously approved of. The boundary exists well before you intrude on an individual’s comfort zone or outright consent. Otherwise it’s all woodstock!

  5. Lars says

    I am an atheist because I became convinced that god was a story we invented. But I call myself an atheist because I do believe in something: I believe that we can do better.

    An excellent distinction. Not only do we exist, and not only do we have the right to say that we exist …

  6. pough says

    …while riding a horse into Damascus…

    Is that a euphemism for masturbation?

  7. Aaron says

    This seems like a new meme in the making, “One time, while riding a horse into Damascus…”

  8. joey says

    Getting it on is something you can do whether you’re on a horse, on your own, or in an adult mutually consenting crowd! Religion does not own sexuality. Just ask anyone who already shares it outside of what is religiously approved of. The boundary exists well before you intrude on an individual’s comfort zone or outright consent. Otherwise it’s all woodstock!

    There is nothing objective/absolute about mutual consent. That just so happens to be the generally accepted “boundary” at the present time.

  9. DonDueed says

    Ing said,

    “Some of the stories have Jesus riding both a horse AND a donkey…at the same time!”

    I’ve seen that done under the big top, IIRC. Probably the Big Messiah Circus. Or maybe Pilobolus.

  10. adamsmedberg says

    woot. another atheist smedberg. i do get excited whenever i see any smedberg in the u.s. though…