Monday, April 30, 2012

Why I'm an Atheist

Sorry about the dead time since last Tuesday.  Blogger has made some behind the scenses changes that have caused me to lose the three posts that were supposed to go up Wednesday through Friday.  Just some stuff about the Disney trip.  If I find them I'll post them.

You may have noticed my self descriptions on the page.  As a semi regular post I'm going to go into what those things mean to me and why I say they describe me.  I'll start with the least understood.

I'll start by being clear.  I'm not an agnostic.  I don't think there might be a god or gods out there.  I'm not just waiting for proof.  I'm sure there's no deity.  There's never been any evidence of it and there's no logical reason why there should be.

We're all born atheists.  Infants know nothing of gods.  It's only through constant inculcation that most of us are made to believe that there are beings out there with great powers, far beyond our own abilities.  I had the good fortune of parents who were atheists, so I never had that put upon me. 

But don't think I'm ignorant of religion.  I've read the Bible, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, the Compassionate Budha, and a myriad of other writings on various lesser known faiths, with quite a bit of various Native American myths in particular being of great interest to me.  See, I'm a fan of comic books, and these are the original super hero books.  They could do with a good Jack Kirby or Darwyn Cooke to punch them up and provide some quality illustration, but they really are the same kind of entertainment.

But as much as I like comic books, I don't believe super heroes are real.  Similarly, I don't believe in gods.

And why should I?  What comes with believing in a god?  Because as much as pantheist faiths contain direct similarities to super hero books, right down to Thor and Hercules (who's a demigod, but whatever) appearing in a lot of comics over the years, the omnipotent, omnicsient, and omnipresent gods of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the more troubling, intellectually.

If you believe in a single all powerful god, then you're locked into a lot of contradictory beliefs.  And I don't even mean the simple conundrum of  the stone too heavy to lift. 

Let's look at the doctrine of Free Will.  This is a big element of Protestant theology in particular, and I really don't know that Judaism or Islam contain anything similar, but my primary experience is with Protestant theology, so here we go.  Free Will is an attempt to get around the problem of predestination.  In a world in which the god is all powerful, the individual beings should have no choices.  The god knows all and controls all.  There's no decision to be made.  But that contradicts Adam and Eve disobeying the god, not to mention the idea that all of us are to be sent to Heaven or Hell depending on how we lead our lives.  If the bad actors are doing so under the control of the god, why should they be punished with Hell?

So, along comes the idea that the god lets us decide how we're going to lead our lives.  Damned if I recall why this being would do such a thing, but that's the idea.  Not very comforting, if you ask me.  Instead of being incapable of making decisions and suffering at the whim of a god, now we're tasked with figuring out how to please that god, with no instruction book.  And don't think the Bible or the Quran are any final word on the instructions.  What kind of super power deity puts out dozens of books that have different instructions?  On top of that there are various interpretations of each of the books, as evinced by the schisms within the big three of monotheistic faiths.  None of them have one, consistent belief.  And that's because all these books were written by people, not a god.  No god has ever come forth with any instructions for people.  People just take a flyer at it.

Which means we're all lab rats in the god's maze that is Earth.  Hell, we're worse than lab rats.  At least the maze has a path that leads to the desired end.  There's no guarantee of that in our god's maze.  The only end we're guaranteed is death.  No idea what happens after that, other than decay of the body.  I think that's all there is, but I'll go into that in some future post.

No, I'll not be anything but an atheist.  Deities just don't make sense.  And wait 'til I get to the idea of personal responsibility.  You'll wonder why all adherents to representative government aren't atheists.

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