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Why I am an atheist – Carol Thomas

My first response would have been “I was born that way,” except that might inspire singing and dancing to a tune that includes far too much religion. So I won’t go there.

(Although it’s true: my parents separately figured out the flaws in religion in their early teens and it was absent from the household I grew up in. I first heard the word “god” in kindergarten and had to go home and ask what it meant.

And yes, I know just how lucky I am to have been spared all that trauma. My parents are amazing.)

But I like to think I’d have been an atheist anyway, just because anything else would clash with my moral code. It’s impossible to value the achievements of our extraordinary species if you believe we were built from some imaginary dude’s blueprint. I can’t feel grateful for the universe I live in if it was slapped together for the sole purpose of giving humans somewhere to stand.

I don’t think I could revel in the crazy-huge range of people we humans include if I thought that some kinds of people were more valuable than others. And I couldn’t be awed by our incredible ability to use science and rationality to explore our existence if a corner of my mind rejected the need for evidence.

Most importantly, I don’t believe I could keep trying to do the right thing, to make the best choices — even when they’re hard ones — if I simply followed a list of proscriptions written by someone else. Ethics are too important to leave to religion.

Therefore, atheism. Anything else would be immoral.

Carol Thomas
Canada

Comments

  1. says

    I don’t think I could revel in the crazy-huge range of people we humans include if I thought that some kinds of people were more valuable than others.

    QFFT. One of the biggest points of contention I have with religion is the ability to find groups of people and create an artificial prejudice against them. Everyone’s imaginary gods have been quite adept at creating hatred while the swallowers pretend at being all about love. The hypocrisy of the religious is sometimes overwhelming.

  2. Dick the Damned says

    Carol, you made several very good points in a refreshing kind of way. Thank you.

  3. fireweaver says

    #2 – davidgentile: Do you have a link to these papers? Preferably to something that is not behind a pay wall. These would be very useful to me in an argument I’m having with a religious bigot right not. Not that he will be swayed, but the audience.

  4. says

    “Most importantly, I don’t believe I could keep trying to do the right thing, to make the best choices — even when they’re hard ones — if I simply followed a list of proscriptions written by someone else. Ethics are too important to leave to religion.”

    Even though I’ve been an atheist for several years now, it still grabs my attention when I see an example of out and out immorality in the church. I was so convinced that Christianity had a monopoly on good morality that, even after I rejected God, I clung to the morality for a long time. It’s a constant, consciousness-raising journey for me every time I see an instance of rationalism having the moral high ground over religion. I really should be used to it by now.

  5. ednaz says

    Excellent post, Carol. Especially this part:

    “Most importantly, I don’t believe I could keep trying to do the right thing, to make the best choices — even when they’re hard ones — if I simply followed a list of proscriptions written by someone else. Ethics are too important to leave to religion.

    Therefore, atheism. Anything else would be immoral.”

    Can I quote you? :)

  6. unalienablebytes says

    ‘Ethics are too important to leave to religion.

    Therefore, atheism. Anything else would be immoral.”

    I’m not asking permission, I am using this (with proper credit given, of course). Some truths must be spread with or without permission. This is one of them.

    Than you.

  7. pooder says

    “Atheism. Anything else would be immoral.”

    THERE’S a catchy (and true) slogan!

    Thanx, Carol . . . .