Reposted here from my tumblr as a first contribution.
So I’m thinking about this today. Don’t know why but here it goes.
So someone said to me the other day that because I’m an atheist, I’ve got no humility. I must think I’m all powerful and have no morals because I’m not humbled by any power greater than myself. Because I believe in evolution and not creation then I must believe the world must have no intelligence to its design. I must see no meaning in life and I must not see the good in the world. Ha, how wrong could you be?
I want to start with this common misconception. Now I can’t speak for all atheists but I certainly do believe in a power greater than myself. I believe in many powers greater than myself. Anyone who is a believer in science must believe in higher powers. A supernova? Definitely more powerful than me. A black hole? Far more powerful than me. Maybe closer to home, the best example is the sun. I can’t control the sun, but it certainly controls me. It controls all of us. If it ceased to exist we’d all die. I am a speck on this planet, and this planet is a speck in the universe. I’d be foolish to think I am the greatest power there is. But I don’t need to believe in God to know that is true.
Whether or not there is intelligence in the design of our world is a redundant question. The universe is a series of systems. It works because it does, because if it didn’t work there’d be nothing. Why it is the way it is is irrelevant as well, because if the rules of the universe weren’t what they were then they’d be different, but there would still be rules because rules are why things work. To everything there is a rule of how and why it is, otherwise there would be utter chaos. That’s how it goes. I see evolution as proof of this. It makes sense that beings who adapt would outlast those that don’t. It works with the rules. To say that someone just made everything the way it is and that it works by default is, amongst things, a cop-out. It ignores the cyclical nature of the world, that things change over time. If all was the way God wanted it to be, then nothing would ever change.
In fact, faith and religion are, and always have been, tools. Tools to explain things without having to do the work. Faith tells us what makes the world turn and what happens when we die, religion permits control. The truth is, as we have proven, it is not God who turns the world but gravity and momentum. We invent God for ourselves because we as people doubt ourselves, because we know we are weak in the grander scheme and so we create someone who shares our motives yet has all the power of the cosmos. This isn’t inherently bad, just generally ignorant on our behalf. Besides, faith bothers me the least because it’s personal. One’s faith is internal. God was created to assuage our own fears, but like many tools of great power it has been exploited and abused, because it was integrated into religion. Religion is the real enemy.
You see religion is not what you believe. It’s how you believe it. It’s how you make others believe it, the “I believe this and so you will do this” kind of mentality. It’s how you get a congregation under one roof and get them to chant and sing and kneel and pray, yes, but it’s also how you fill their heads with nonsense like “Jesus said this and God hates that and therefore you will do this and that and drop a dollar in the tray on your way out.” No, my issue is not with faith per se. It’s the organized religions that empower those who pay up. It’s organized religions that demean the rights of women, the LGBT community, those who don’t believe etc. It is they who cover up things like child abuse and murder, who discourage the use of contraceptives in AIDS-ridden countries, and most despicable of all, try to govern the use of the human body. For the record, I am not just attacking Christianity here. I include all of them. Judaism, Islam, Hinduism etc.
God has become a scare tactic. A reason to instill the fear of hell and damnation so that people could be controlled and made to serve not the interests of God, but the interests of so-called “Men of God.” The Christian church often uses the metaphor of the shepherd and his sheep, and this is truly a perfect analogy. Does a shepherd not ask his sheep to round themselves up? Or does he scare them into formation by subjecting them to a loud beast with teeth? It’s very much the same with religion, with any religion. Do what we say or burn for eternity. Well shit, if I’d had that ground into my psyche as a child I’d certainly bend over backwards for them. People don’t lash out at others because of faith. They do it because of religion, because of fear, and because the men at the top don’t want to lose their cash cows. Galileo wasn’t imprisoned because he was offending the faithful, he was imprisoned because he was a threat to the power of the church. It’s all about force, all about submission. Funny that the word “islam” means exactly that: submission.
So why is it that I, the one who believes in what has been proven, in what has been learned, must be subject to ridicule? I cannot run for office in six U.S. states because I am an atheist. And yet, we put our full trust in that which has undoubtedly been simply made up. That’s right, I said it was simply made up. You see if you compare the various stories of western religion, you’ll find them to be mostly similar with differing characters (as compared to the vastly different classic religions, which also were quite similar amongst themselves). Many say it’s just because different people came to the same God in different ways, therefore no matter what his name he must be real. Yet it’s more likely just cultural diffusion. The proof is in far-eastern religion. It all evolved in a world untouched by the west until about 300-400 years ago. If everyone came to the same God in different ways, you’d think they’d be similar to those of the west, but they are not. They are vastly different. I’m not going to go into what this proves, it’s self-explanatory. Besides, it wouldn’t make any difference, because you can’t get the “true believers” to understand. They’ve been fed too many ways to renounce their reason which they just regurgitate in denial every time they’re faced with the truth.
The worst part of it all is that I must be “wrong.” If we’re all entitled to our beliefs, why must I be “wrong.” Why am I the one who is portrayed as a threat? I am not the one knocking on your door to bother you with my beliefs. I am not the one coming to your campus to incite a riot. Why is it that I who believe in science and knowledge and facts must be wrong and they who believe in mysticism and supernatural power and divine intervention be right? Where is the logic here? Because I am an atheist I am called immoral and doubtful. I do believe in a difference between right and wrong. I believe that we must do right by each other because it is the only way for us a species to progress. I am doubtful of the things I have deemed worth doubting, and for everything I doubt there are many things I don’t. For example, I do not doubt that the Earth revolves around the sun. I do not doubt that gravity keeps me on the ground. I do not doubt my mortality. To be labeled these things is absolutely insulting, and what’s worse is that if I were to say this about the faithful, I’d be vilified. Again, I beg to know where the logic is. Where is the reason?
Or have we renounced it?
Jenkins, chap with wings there, five rounds rapid!