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Atheists Are Nice (2 of 2)

08 Oct

(This is the second of two parts. The first part is here.)

Personally, I don’t have a choice.  It’s that simple.  I can’t manufacture the faith that so many Christians seem to enjoy – I think it would be disrespectful to do so. 

I see religion, every single day, twisted by man into something destructive, something that breeds war, something that breeds abuse, something that breeds oppression, something that attracts and empowers predators.

Sure, I see the good things religion does as well, and in general I am not impressed.  Corporations donate to charity – it doesn’t make them good.  They get a tax write-off for it.

Churches don’t even pay taxes – they damn well better be doing some serious charity.

Now on a personal level is where I tend to see the most good.  A good person gets quite a bit out of religion – peace and security and the strength to keep right on doing good.  I think that if you’re going to get rid of your religion, you’d better hang onto the concept of goodness, and keep striving to emulate it.

But I have a hard time understanding why the divinity is so obvious, when evil runs amok within the church.  Some trapped miners spot a white butterfly that shouldn’t be there and everyone starts gaping about how it was an angel sent to protect them.  But the last time this happened, here in our country, the miners died.

Who decides when the miners get an Angel Butterfly?  Who decides when they get screwed?

Some kind of Prayer Bucket system?  Fill up the Prayer Bucket, get an Angel Butterfly?

God gets all kinds of credit when He appears to answer prayers, and then He gets a Mysterious Ways Pass every time He appears to ignore them.  I can’t get past it – I really can’t.

Not even trying to be disrespectful here, I just truly don’t understand.  But here’s the thing:  I am positive that some things which I don’t understand turn out to be true.  Sometimes I get older and wiser and the incomprehensible comes into focus, and makes perfect sense. 

That’s why I’m an agnostic – because I know I could be wrong. I’d be a real rube if I thought that I took Philosophy 101 and that’s it, got everything figured out.  I’ll tell you one thing I’ve got rock solid faith in – I am positive that I do NOT have everything figured out.

So once you’ve forced the Agnostic to decide he’s an Atheist, then you’ve really got him, because Atheism is hard to defend.  Logically, it’s hard to deny the existence of anything, if it could be anywhere in the universe and it’s invisible. 

That’s the purpose of the Flying Spaghetti Monster – you can use any argument supporting the existence of God to support the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  In other words, you can’t disprove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster either, so that’s how philosophically valuable that train of thought is.

So, no, I’m not an Atheist.  I just don’t happen to believe in God, because I personally don’t have in my experiences any reason to.  Some Christians tell me that’s part of my journey, that God won’t take me until I’ve seen the light.  And okay, they’re trying to be nice – I appreciate it.

But before you get angry at the Atheist for appearing to tell everyone in the world that they are wrong, understand that if you are a Christian, you are telling billions of people they are wrong as well.

I mean, sure, 95% of the world has a religion, maybe a little more than that.  But that doesn’t mean it’s all of them versus the Atheists.  Because if the Christians are right, the Hindus are wrong and so are the Buddhists and the Scientologists and the ancient Greeks.  And they’ve got some pretty stark and obvious disagreements with the Muslims and Jews, you may have noticed.

Sure, I know you can tell me that maybe all religions are paths to the same Truth – but that’s not what the religions tell you.  They don’t say, “The gist of this is true, and as long as you sort of dig the gist of it, you’re going to be cool, dude.”

No.  Christianity for example says, “Thou shalt take no other Gods before me.”  Right there in the Commandments, baby.  You have to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, or you’re going to Hell.  All you billions of religious non-Christians – the Bible says you’re wrong, oh yes it surely does.

If you’re a Christian you believe the Hindus are wrong just as surely as an Atheist believes you are.  Many of those Hindus are older than you, have believed longer than you.  So why is it you think the Atheist is a jerk and you’re a Christian Solider?

In fact, when you are religious, you are saying something slightly more rude and outrageous than the Atheist is.  All the Atheist is saying is, I don’t accept things on faith and I don’t believe things I don’t have strong reasons for believing. 

What a religious guy is saying is, my religion which I can’t prove and which I accept on faith, is right, but your religion which you can’t prove and which you accept on faith, is wrong.

There are no such things as invisible dinosaurs, except for my invisible dinosaur right here.  His name is Pete.

Standing there in a room full of people with invisible dinosaurs, acting like I’m some kind of a jerk for saying listen, maybe none of you all have dinosaurs.  I mean, wouldn’t we be able to smell their farts? 

Actually, I don’t even say that.  I just say, “No, I don’t have an invisible dinosaur, I’m not really into them.”   Sometimes someone throws a tomato at me for that.  Sometimes they throw them at my kids.

Yes, Atheists are nice, all right.  They’re just as nice as anybody else is.

But sure, I think every single one of us – religious or otherwise – could stand to be a little nicer.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 8, 2010 in Unpopular Viewpoints

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Atheists Are Nice (2 of 2)

  1. robertgbobo

    October 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    You know how much I respect you…maybe a dueling blog debate as I have many thoughts/opinions? I can be Fox News (fair and balanced) with you as CNN! ha! You opened up Pandora’s little square thing she keeps stuff in…you know the first rule in writing is never mention religion. I, like you, don’t care though. Poke the hornet’s nest…just another fun topic of discussion!

     
  2. jelzmar

    November 15, 2010 at 1:11 am

    http://stephaniejoloots.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/literacy-and-religion/

    A couple of the things you mentioned reminded me of my last blog. You might find it interesting.

    Anyway, I like your logic, even though I am a Christian. Authority really does use religion to keep people in line. People always use their religion to try to control others. It drives me insane. I also agree that Atheists are nice. Though I haven’t had much experience with Atheists that try to convert people to Atheism. They mostly don’t care what others believe from my experience. Though I don’t talk about religion with too many people in person. I don’t agree with anyone on it so it always turns into a fight. Especially those who claim to practice the same religion as me. Christians and I do not agree on very much and I have to restrain myself from having conversation with people in my church.

    I thought it was horrible that anyone wouldn’t let your kids be friends with their children because of religion. When I was ten to fourteen one of my best friend’s mother would never allow me to hang out with her outside of school, because I didn’t go to their church. They were a non denominational Christian church and I went to a Baptist and then (thank goodness) a Lutheran church. Somehow I wasn’t good enough. Actually I think it had more to do with my dad being homosexual (even though he lived thirteen hours away) and either she or her mother didn’t want to come out and say it.

    I was a very well behaved child, but for some reason at every point in my life I had one friend who was so innocent and sheltered. I was the friend that ‘corrupted’ their minds with new ideas. Many of my friends’ mothers feared that I was with their daughter in more than a platonic way. We always had a laugh about it when they told me of the awkward conversation they had with them about it.

    That’s what I immediately thought of when you said those parents thought of you as ‘heathens’. I’ve been a ‘heathen’ since I was ten, because I could produce thoughts for myself.

     
    • thomaschalfant

      November 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      You know, I’m certainly not any kind of outspoken Atheist or anything, just a guy with no particular religion, like I said. But I’ll tell you something else I notice – on Twitter right after I posted this with an atheism hash tag, dozens of people unfollowed me – without even reading it!

      A big part of the problem when the kids were young was we moved out into the country, where we were really blindsided by the religious fervor. I guess we kind of expected a bunch of free thinking Northern Exposure characters, and that’s not what we got.

      These days, a big part of the discussion with my kids is A) – they’re free to explore whatever religions they want. It turned out that they were sort of conflicted when it came to going to church with their friends for instance, thinking that I had some kind of problem with church. Not the case at all, I had to really make sure I was watching what message I was sending to them, because I don’t want to install my doubts in their brains anymore than I want other people to install beliefs. and B) They need to respect other people’s religions, and not just pretend to respect them, but genuinely be certain that they aren’t being rude or offensive, and to keep an open mind.

      I haven’t gotten over to your blog yet, but I will very shortly – thank you for commenting Stephanie!

       

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