Sunday, July 10, 2011

Atheism: Denying the American Standard

I can't remember a time when I truly believed the existence of God.  I was born into a Catholic family, and while my mother attended Catholic school, and my father talked big about faith, we never really followed the ritual of Sunday church.  My father was a postal worker and an alcoholic, so Sundays were holy for another reason.  We also lived in the mountains, and it could be a hassle to get into town for church.  I also think that that my mother wanted me to have some intellectual freedom when it came to faith.  This is probably because she had experienced institutionalized religion for so many years.  In whatever case, I am grateful. 

I am not going to try to "disprove" religion in any way.  The creationism/reality argument is often sidetracked by the faithful in this way.  They demand evidence to disprove their faith while evading any requests to produce likewise any evidence supporting their side.  Where I'm from, the one making the ridiculous claims has the burden of proof.  But that being said, my position is very simple, and anyone can understand it.  The existence of a God is so improbable that I can't bring myself to entertain it as fact, and organized religion serves such a great purpose in social cohesion that it is most likely designed for that purpose by those that stood to gain the most from it: the leaders. 

There are many that would call atheism a religion of it's own, and call the denial of a creator as a leap of faith similar to that of the religious position.   To that I say that if atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.  Another misunderstanding is that atheists are immoral because they do not follow the ten commandments, the five pillars, or any of that other bullshit.  The really smart believers might even quote the names of some famous communist dictators that killed a lot of people.  But in retrospect it might be a poor idea to bring up the analogy, because the faithful is then required to confront the body count of religious leaders.  The totals pale in comparison in both quantity and brutality.  Not to mention that if you need the threat of hell to prevent you from robbing, cheating, stealing, raping, or murdering then you are already a fucking terrible person.  Someone who avoids these things not out of fear of punishment, but out of a basic empathy for the human condition is a far more moral person. 
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.- Stephen Roberts

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