Monday, October 8, 2007

Ask me why

The fact that I hate the character of the Christian God is not why I am an atheist.

The fact that I don't like being tested without being able to reciprocate or find out the reasons for the testing is not why I am an atheist.

The fact that I think most bible stories are absurd is not why I am an atheist.

Hypocrisy in the church, hypocrisy in humanity, evil in the world; none of these are reason why I am an atheist.

Cultivating attention, being different, shock value; again, not why I am an atheist.

I am an atheist for the same reason Christians are Christian; someone said it, and I believe it. It's what makes sense to me. The best time of existence has been defined, and I choose to live for that time.

I have always been different. I have always been uncomfortable when lumped in with a group of people. I have never felt a strong allegiance to any group, idea, or cause. I've tried, but never felt it. I don't have a favorite sports team that can ruin my mood by losing. I don't have a favorite place to go that would change my life by being destroyed. I don't have a favorite store or restaurant. I don't have a favorite material possession that I couldn't live without. My allegiance gene is retarded. I know this, and I accept it.

What I do have is a sincere and deep love for humanity. I do have a few people in my life that I don't know how I would live without after having known them. Humans are my clique. Humans are my motivation. Humans teach, learn, and love.

My view of life does not require a god. If you are are like me in not needing or believing in a god, chances are that your reasons are entirely different than mine. That is the beauty of humanity; having a mind that can override your heart to tell you what you need and why you need it (or don't need it).

Why do I spend time discussing atheism and religion? Because it's not enough to just be neutral in this life. Because I need you to know that I am not blind. Because you will ask questions, and I enjoy giving answers from my perspective. Because I hear ideas that spark my own, and ideas make the world work, progress, and evolve. Because in a world of pretending, I want you to know that I am real. Because if you want to judge me, I want you to have your facts straight so you can make a fair judgement.

I talk so you know that I respect myself. I listen so you know that I respect you.


Tia Lynn said...

I am a Christian (fear not, I did not come to judge), and I actually can relate with your process of evaluating life and ideas...I obviously did not arrive at the same conclusion, but I understand the process.

My only challenge for you would be to test your own faith, which is atheism, as many have done, both believers and nonbelievers. Ask God to reveal Himself to you and make yourself open to the possibility of His existence. If nothing happens, then you've lost nothing. But if there is even the slightest chance of there being a God who loves you and wants to know you, wouldn't you want to be a part of that? You don't have to buy into some of the nonsense that floats around the church today. You can be the individual God made you. He gave you your brain, He wants you to use it.

I, too, have a deep love for humanity. I believe there is inherent value in every diverse life. Christ Himself admonished His people to love their neighbors as theirselves and their enemies too. God, or atleast the one I believe in, shares your love and concern for humanity.

May I suggest the book "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. He was a devout atheist that studied at Oxford for most of his life until he was intellectually convinced there was indeed a God.

Thank you for being honest about your point of view and the reasons for it. No matter what conclusions you come to, this Christian respects you and wishes the best for you.

Stacy said...

Hi Tia, thanks for coming by.

I have a question/comment, and I'm not trying to be tricky (and hoping you weren't either)...

If my faith is atheism (which, to me means I have faith in something that is not god/God, most notably - people), then there is no god/God to invoke and test my faith. I test my faith in humanity every day when I drive my car on a busy road, or when I eat a sandwich at Subway that someone else has made for me.

I was once a Christian, and I don't expect you to know that because you don't know me (like some people who read here do). I have not read Mere Christianity in full because I find it hard to follow Lewis' writing styles, although I have read other works by ex-atheists.

By glancing at your blog, I can see that you and I agree on some specific cultural and moral issues. Isn't it great that we don't have to have the same motivation for doing so?

I know that you believe that Christ, and ultimately God have a deep concern for humanity, but I do not. Many times things happen (keep reading the recent posts and you'll find one or 2) that I cannot get past with the idea of a loving and concerned God in mind.

I feel that to attribute all good to God and all bad to people/the devil/sin/freewill/whatever is to lose the meaning of love and caring for people. God does evil. God created evil. He created every evil person in this world, and depending on what you believe, he may have known what they were going to do to cause the evil and pain and hurt in the world. That is why I say that I hate the character of the Christian God (Judeo-Christian-Muslim God), and that is a VERY huge reason that I can live without god/God. I didn't learn to love from god/God, and I don't want my view of love to be distorted by god/God. Does that make sense?

Jared said...

Thanks for the ideas, Tia.

Stacy and I differ somewhat on the reasons why we do not believe...As do many anti-theists. You reference faith in relation to atheism and it's a common topic.

In the world of religion(s), claims are made based on a book as well as oral traditions passed down through generation after generation. The reader is asked to make a decision based upon the evidence in said book/tradition.

If the evidentiary burden has not been met in the reader's mind, under what responsibility is the 'non-believer' expected to back up his or her disbelief in the claim.

We could get into a discussion over semantics such as strong or weak atheism/agnosticism but the fact remains, it's not my claim.

I like to think of it this way. (cuz dragons are cool) ***credit goes to Carl Sagan for this analogy, maybe he invented dragons too, i'm not sure*** I'm pretty sure that you don't believe in the dragon in my garage, but you probably don't feel the need to be able to prove it to me. Is there faith involved in this disbelief? Is this the faith you speak of?

Even if I could rationalize a faith like's still, in my mind, moot... when compared to the lack of reasonable/tangible/scientific evidence that points to existence.

I, for one, don't need faith in atheism/agnosticism/whatever. (Cue George Michael). I believe I'm intellectually honest enough with myself to say, 'not my claim, and not enough proof.' Not to say others are dishonest, this is just the way I process the evidence.

You say:

Ask God to reveal Himself to you and make yourself open to the possibility of His existence.

How has/does he show Himself to you? I'm asking honestly. I've never understood this thought process.

(By the way, I hope you didn't miss the CS Lewis reference to the blog title. I read that book like it was going out of style years ago. Too bad he's not alive to reap the monetary reward. He'd be living like the Osteens.)

Intergalactic Hussy said...

Great post! I agree. My atheism is a mere piece that makes me me. And it just makes sense to me. I did not "choose" to not believe. I just don't. And no amount of persuasion can ever *make* me believe.

As far as tia lynn's point: After I've seen enough people ask favors like that of their god, I never saw it happen for them so I never bothered for myself. Even before I realized I was an atheist, it always just seemed silly to me.

How come Tia is only referencing Christianity? Is that the only religion that believes in a god(s)? :) I was raised Jewish, so needless to say, discussions of Christ are not the same as god. And never have been. Even if I were to "find god", what's Jesus have to do with it?

Atheism is not a faith...its quite the opposite.

Tia Lynn said...

Hey Everyone. I just want you to know I really respect all your concerns, questions, and stances and I am so happy that people with opposing views can have a civil conversation with out stooping to accusations and name callings.

Stacey, as far as your question, all I meant is perhaps you might consider appealing to a higher power to see if the God actually exists and if He'll somehow reach into your life. Since you already have ascribed to the Christian faith, you conclusions are your own and I will respect them. And by the way, it is great that we can share the same heart for humanity and meeting the needs of others. I just hope you see that a belief in God and a belief in humanity don't have to be mutually exclusive-you can have both, if you want it.

Personally, I was raised without religion, although I never saw myself as an atheist. To me, the vastness and intricacies of our world screamed out that their was a Creator and that we were not the result of random chance. God has had a personal impact on my life. No, I don't hear voices and all that stuff. But He has been an undeniable presence in my life.

Again, glad we can converse about such things! Peace <><