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May 04 2013

Why Am I An Atheist?

The million dollar question! I really get peeved when asked this question especially when it comes with that disbelieving look and exclamation. “You mean you really don’t believe there is a God?” This is sometimes followed by the incredulous “You insane or something? And not forgetting that very annoying question “What happened to make you lose faith in God?”

Why do believers assume something terrible must have happened for one to lose “faith” or not have faith at all? 

 Well, the terrible thing that happened was I actually read the bible, and the good news is, reading the bible and other ‘holy’ books turned me into an Atheist!

 There was no big bang that left me gasping for faith. As a teenager growing up in a very religious society, in an act of faith and sincere eagerness to save the world with the love of Christ (and yeah, to win more bible quizzes), I reached out to the bible so as to be able to bring the word of this loving God to many, but instead, found inside those holy book pages, a God whose vindictiveness and callousness hit me like a big bang. The mere thought of being made in His image made me wanna puke. The collision with such brutality was so huge that it activated my brain.

 With my evolved brain finally working to capacity, it did not take me long to figure out that there is no “God” designing our planets, dishing out destinies, taking care of our needs, waiting for us to go on our knees and ask so S/He/It shall give, busy keeping scores on our good and bad deeds, while stoking an eternal fire for those who didn’t stroke his ego while on earth to burn in hell for eternity.

FROM ABOVE! I am an atheist because there is no evidence of an omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent being watching our every action from high above. And why not from down below anyway? I guess we don’t like the idea of stepping on, walking and shitting all over God. Well, “high above” made sense when heaven or space looked so impenetrable, but with space shuttles penetrating the skies and rovers curiously taking pictures from “high above” and none yet of a white bearded old man glaring down at us, there is nothing so scary about “high above” anymore.

From all evidence available, man not only created God, but did so in his own image. There are as many Gods as there are people, communities and religions. People tend to create God(s) that appeal to them and their particular situation consciously or unconsciously. There is no big deal about exercising our imagination but it becomes a big deal when you judge others base on your own particular God beliefs or tried forcing your imagination down the throat of others.

DSC_0961It is unfortunate that many believers influence state policies based on personal religious beliefs, this should be a big No No.  It is indeed a great injustice to those who do not share these religious beliefs either because they believe in another ‘God’ and have different set of doctrines or simply because they have no ‘God’ delusion. 

Many unfortunately tie our fortunes, misfortunes and mood to the workings of a God. While it might be flattering that the ‘creator’ of this universe is concerned about my mood swings and watches my every action,  it actually makes this creator looks like a pervert. I do not need a religion to feel high, low, solemn, guilty, moral, immoral, good, bad, favoured or blessed, it would be delusional to think so. 

I do not believe in the existence of any God. I do not have a soul crying to be saved. I just wish everyone would appreciate that this is really no big deal!

Actually what is a big deal is when someone who does not care whether or not I have food on my table, shelter over my head or if my sexual needs are satisfied, suddenly gives a fuck about me burning in hell for eternity. And when they do pretend to care, like IMF loans, it comes with conditionality. For the believers, it is that i must accept their God as my personal saviour in exchange for their kind heart, while earning themselves some nectar paradise points. You don’t care about the hellish life I am already living but you care about the hell I might be condemned to and this somehow makes you a good person?

And let’s get this straight, in order for you to save me from this imaginary hell of yours, you are happy to make my life on earth a living real hell by denying me the right to my sexual orientation, right to marry my same-sex partner, right to eat pork, right to an active public life without being escorted by a man, right to show my face uncovered in public or the right to work on the Sabbath day. That does not look or sound like a good bargain.

 As an atheist, I am happy to dismiss your idea that there is a God for lack of proof; it’s no skin off my nose. But as a human rights activist, I find the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God in the midst of all these disasters and sufferings appalling! epicurus

I am so disgusted when believers try to make excuses for their bigoted, vindictive, tantrum throwing God. Why would I want to worship someone who does not measure up to my moral code?

The idea of having a role model is to have someone who inspires and whom one even aspires to be like, but who in their right mind aspire to be like a serial killer, not to mention a genocidal, vindictive, egoist being? 

What continues to perplex me is how conscious human rights activists who campaign against tyranny could actually have respect for a tyrannical God, be it real or imagined.

I guess the fear of the unknown do make many humans afraid to use their common sense. If believers read their bible beyond chanting “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” we might actually end up with more atheists than believers. And that would be a right step towards curing the cancer called religion.

(Enjoy the video at the top of this post, forgive the not so good sound editing, it was made when I first started posing before my laptop cam, I have since got better at both the posing and the editing :) )

23 comments

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  1. 1
    ragingapathy

    I always wondered many of the same things… The mythology never made sense. The OT God was vindictive, insecure and meddling; the NT God much more loving but the mythology was….hard to swallow.

    I like the ethic of Jesus but I never, even as a child, believed the mythology. And the stuff of Paul and Revelation never did anything but push me away. Indeed, the whole anthropomorphic thing is just evidence of what you and Wendell Berry said: Man created God in his image.

    I have a conception of an underlying energy (or, spirit, if one is inclined that way), that is involved in consciousness and creation and the ‘oneness’ of Eastern mysticism. And to me, that’s about the closest thing to “God” we’ve got. It’s both physics and metaphysics. I certainly don’t worship it but I think we have only the tiniest idea of its power. I think most of us don’t partake in it directly, with our minds. But I think we can — our minds and bodies are obviously connected to it.

  2. 2
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Great point about how many fundamentalists care so much about an unprovable future and so little about obvious injustice right here, right now.

    ragingapathy:

    But I think we can — our minds and bodies are obviously connected to it.

    Wow, that’s an extraordinary assertion, care to provide your evidence that such a thing exists?

  3. 3
    didgen

    I was just thinking that I’ve heard question one, and question three very often when I actually talk about my appalling lack of belief, but couldn’t remember ever hearing question two. Then I realized I hear that one all the time, just in reference to nearly everything else I say.

  4. 4
    ragingapathy

    Well, in particle physics experiments with photons, traveling apart at the speed of light, when one of them is measured for its “spin” property, and then the other, the 2nd one always and ever matches the first one, when there is no reason for it do so given physical laws as currently understood. It appears that matter can, to use an English word that might not capture the concept ideally -- Communicate instantly over distance. Physicists call this quality “non-locality”. We also know that matter, in the form of particle/waves, appears and disappears constantly at sub-atomic scales, dissolving into and emerging from energy.

    It is because of these things, and other readings that I maintain a belief in underlying energy from which all matter comes, and through which it is possible for all matter to be connected, over distance. Thus, as matter and energy beings, we partake in that.

    Most physicists shy away from such metaphysical ideas but I’m not a physicist :-). Anyway, this is my “evidence”, or at least the source of this belief. I expect a lot of skepticism and “woo” from the FTB folks in return, but that’s OK.

  5. 5
    Ophelia Benson

    “and none yet of a white bearded old man glaring down at us”

    Hahaha I love that.

  6. 6
    Yemisi Ilesanmi

    Yeah Humans have been creating Gods in their own image from time immemorial. You wrote “I have a conception of an underlying energy (or, spirit, if one is inclined that way), that is involved in consciousness and creation and the ‘oneness’ of Eastern mysticism”, It seems you have also created a God that fits in with your conception of what a God should be

    As I said in my post, I don’t have a problem when people exercise their imagination, but the problem comes when they pass it off as fact or try to force it down others throats.

    And NO, our minds and bodies are NOT obviously connected to a higher being, and nope, I definitely don’t have a soul or mind waiting to be connected to a God, be it the oneness of an Eastern mysticism or the diversity of African mythology.

  7. 7
    Yemisi Ilesanmi

    You wrote “Most physicists shy away from such metaphysical ideas but I’m not a physicist” -- Actually, Scientists and that include Physicists do not shy away from the unknown, if anything, they delve into the unknown to bring us breakthroughs. If Physicists discard metaphysical ideas, it is because such ideas are apparently Hokum,

  8. 8
    Yemisi Ilesanmi

    Question two is the story of my life. :)

  9. 9
    Yemisi Ilesanmi

    I can imagine God would be glaring while Rovers curiously takes picture with its fancy camera. And that would be the award of Awards picture!

  10. 10
    ragingapathy

    I never said they shy away from the unknown, just from the kind of metaphysic I posted about. Most physicists are uncomfortable with deriving this kind of metaphysic, at least publicly. There are notable exceptions of course (Capra, Bohm), and yes, most believe such things to be hokum, or just speculation that can’t be satisfactorily subjected to actual scientific methods.

  11. 11
    ragingapathy

    Shoot — reply fail! I meant that for the below response…

  12. 12
    Dr.Cheeselove

    The christian god looks like Plato. Coincidence?

  13. 13
    Yemisi Ilesanmi

    Plato needed a haircut, so does the Christian God. And one wonders, who came first, Plato or the Christian God?

  14. 14
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    I’m well aware of quantum entanglement, or “Spooky action at a distance.” as I believe Einstein called it. I’m also aware that there has been no demonstration that this phenomenon has any effect on the world at the scale in which we live. You got it a bit wrong by the way. If one half of a quantum entangled pair has an up spin the other will have a down spin, not the same spin.

    Anyway, the details are moot. What you haven’t provide here is evidence of any kind of connection between minds. You haven’t even provided evidence that quantum entanglement is universal. The experiments that show entanglement have to create entangled pairs. As far as I know there’s no evidence that entangled pairs are common, let alone universal. And even is such were to be demonstrated you’d then have to provide credible evidence that that had any meaningful effect on humans.

    What we have in your claim is a bog standard argument from ignorance. Because there’s something we don’t understand* fully you leap to a conclusion that is unsupported by the available evidence. Congratulations, you’ve just demonstrated how every religion in the world came to be.

    *You got that wrong too. You say there’s no reason for entanglement using the physical laws as we understand them. That’s not exactly true. There’s no reason from classical mechanics, but quantum entanglement was predicted by quantum theory before it was demonstrated experimentally. It is a physical law of our universe, one we discovered by figuring it out. Just because we don’t yet understand the mechanism of it does not mean that we can jump to unsupported conclusion such as yours.

  15. 15
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Been thinking about this some more. Contemplating just why this “we’re all metaphysically connected” bullshit bothers me so.

    We are all connect.

    We’re all made out the same star stuff, elements created in the nuclear fires of long dead suns.

    We are all connected.

    Millions of years of mutation and selection have shaped our star stuff into a wondrously complex vehicle for thoughts and actions. Each one of us, no exceptions, is heir to that process, that mind-boggling expression of deep time.

    We are all connected.

    We live our lives on this rock hurtling through space. And except for a lucky few, we live and die never having left the thin skin of an atmosphere above us, always surrounded by all the other products of the selection of eons.

    We are all connected.

    We need food, shelter, love and fulfillment, to name but a few things. Sure, the details of such needs differ, but the drive behind them is the same for us all. And our compassion, our empathy, expressed fully, without reservations as to who we apply it to, should remind us constantly that the differences between us are trivial when balanced against the similarities.

    We are all connected.

    To play bullshit games with half-understood physics to justify some purported metaphysical connection is unnecessary. It’s a just-so story that cheapens and distracts from how we are all human, how we’re all in this together. And because it’s based on nothing, on no credible evidence, it runs the risk of being twisted into harmful beliefs the way all such stories have throughout human history.

    We are all demonstratively connected in reality. The beauty of that is enough, more than enough for me.

  16. 16
    Nick Gotts

    when one of them is measured for its “spin” property, and then the other, the 2nd one always and ever matches the first one, when there is no reason for it do so given physical laws as currently understood.

    On the contrary, the correlation is a prediction of quantum mechanics.

  17. 17
    Yemisi Ilesanmi

    The ““we’re all metaphysically connected” bullshit bothers me because while it is great to be feel i am connected to the mighty oceans, great mountains, aged trees, beautiful big cats , playful dolphins i feel, very queasy at the thought of being connected to a mosquito or cockroach, especially considering i have a Cockroach-phobia. However, i understand that we are all connected as we are all offspring of stardust, and that in itself is beautiful.

    FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist), you put it so well “We are all demonstratively connected in reality’”, nothing metaphysical about that.

  18. 18
    ragingapathy

    I have to thank FossilFishy and Nick Gotts for correcting my memory on the spin experiments -- apologies on getting that wrong and half-understanding it. Been 20 years or so since reading about that. Indeed my not keeping up on this stuff for 20+ years seems to have allowed it to morph into a flawed idea of universality.

    Given the technical corrections, I certainly would need to back off a bit. Unless it can be shown that all matter and energy are somehow connected at the most fundamental level, my comment about “minds being connected to it” was not well-founded, and I can see now how the implication that there’s a macro-influence came about.

    However, I don’t hold that this is impossible. I tend to think of it as a wonderful possibility, even if remote. I find the possibility as beautiful as the types of connectedness that FossilFishy listed above. All the same, this idea does not cure my agnosticism, nor bend my sympathies away from atheist thought toward religious belief.

    Now, you can call my thinking quasi-religious and potentially dangerous if you like. On the first, I can see why you’d do that, and, well, I’m OK with it. On the 2nd, I’m not starting any movements, just wondering about the nature of the world. I used to have more time for that. You can see how rusty it’s gotten in the interim.

  19. 19
    smrnda

    I think lots of religious people want to discount atheism as ‘you just had a bad experience with something religious’ or some crisis (though they’re happy to use a crisis to get someone to believe) just since they don’t want to acknowledge that people might just reject religious because it isn’t true and doesn’t make sense.

    On the whole mysticism + physics deal, i don’t get it myself; it seems like otherwise normal writing about life where you slap adjectives like “quantum” and “cosmic” on everything. Regrettably some people’s writing careers have been built on that trick alone.

  20. 20
    A Hermit

    When I was 14 or 15 I bought a Jethro Tull LP which had these words on the back cover…

    1. In the beginning Man created god:
    and in the image of Man created he him…

    That’s what started me thinking…

  21. 21
    sleepingwytch(inactive)

    Also, on the subject of crossdressing men, for some reason, when I think of crossdressing men in our American culture, I usually associate it with this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdNn5TZu6R8

    Having been in an elite infantry unit with Infantry as my MOS (11bravo) in the Active Army (3rd US INF TOG “The Old Guard”) I generally find that the way crossdressing men play out in our society is through extreme hyper masculinity to the point where no one will mess with them, dress or not. Why? Because I knew more than a few when I was in that unit who were definitely the crossdressing types, and they were definitely bad motherfuckers. Granted not transwomen (they were definitely men), and they typically only crossdressed while doing fetish things with their GF, but they were totally crossdresser types. These CD males were my best friends while I was in that unit…I never went through a phase where I considered myself to be a CD male, because my gender identity and sex/body dysphoria issues started from the age of three or so (basically as early as I could remember) but I felt WAY safer around the CD type in our culture. Unlike Transsexual Separatists, I have a good appreciation for Crossdresser men and very much so see them as important allies in the Transgender Cause and fight. In fact, when it was found out in the Military Ward that I was transsexual, after spending 4 months on the mental wards, in severe and extremegender dysphoria, being told I was delusional by the psychiatrists, it was these same crossdresser men that protected me, subtly, when I got back to our Infantry unit…

    I can see that there is a much more elegant crossdressing that occurs in these african societies you have mentioned here Yemmy, it’s quite interesting.

  22. 22
    John Morales

    That’s easy; Plato predates Jesus, and Jesus is God, so Plato came first.

  23. 23
    Yemisi Ilesanmi

    Actually John Morales, Yahweh, the God, predates Plato by almost two thousand years if not more than. As the myth goes, Yahweh the God already existed before coming as Jesus. Also, there are two very different images of Jesus and Yahweh. Jesus is often depicted as a blue eyed, blonde Jew, while Yahweh is often well, as hairy and heavily bearded as Plato.

    So the question remains, who copied the other., Plato or God? I guess that can only be settled once we confirm if there was a picture of a bearded Yahweh floating around before the picture of a bearded Plato showed up. If so, then Yahweh wins, if not, well God stole Plato’s look.

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